Travis Freeman is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and President of Four Seasons Financial Education. Travis is also the author of the book, Make Your Money Work, a member of the Board of Directors of the FPA of Greater St. Louis, and a regular guest on Fox 2 news.
Four Seasons Financial Education specializes in helping companies focus on profitability by addressing the #1 cause of stress in the workplace – personal finance. Between retirement planning, increasing healthcare costs, college planning, budgeting, coordinating benefits, and more, personal financial planning is a never-ending, and often overwhelming, job for employees. The team at Four Seasons have the systems, tools, and experience necessary to help curb this profitability issue for your company, just as they have done for over 200 other organizations across the country.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you explain the meaning behind the term “financial wellness?” How does it differ from having financial security or wealth in general?
Travis: Financial wellness can be construed in many ways, but to us it means financial balance in life. Someone may have wealth, but it doesn’t mean they are financially balanced. We’ve been brought into law firms to help implement financial wellness programs. You would assume that an attorney who makes six figures is financially balanced, but that is not always the case. In fact, they are often is more disarray that the average employee. We’ve even met estate attorneys with no personal estate documents. They are simply busy and haven’t made it a priority, just like anyone else. Financial wellness requires priority, education, and accountability.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you tell us a bit about the systems, tools, and experience you have to help curb specific profitability issues that many companies face?
Travis: If a company has employees, those employees have stressors. This is the case regardless of size, profitability or geographic location. These stressors lead to greater accidents, lost productivity, absenteeism, presenteeism, greater healthcare costs and more. It’s no surprised that most American families stress about finances more than any other area, so we curb the most common area of stress. That rapid changes in law and the slow-growing economy have only made things worse for employees.
We have established a three-pronged system to help employees and employers curb financial stress and increase profitability. Our system includes live education from a licensed, board-certified professional, one-on-one personal guidance, and ongoing accountability check-ups from our team. We have found this to be the best way to address financial wellness in the workplace. It makes financial topics a priority, it provides unique advice to each employee and their spouses or partners, and keeps them accountable to their own goals over time. It’s worked this way for over 200 different employers.
BusinessInterviews.com: Congratulations on becoming a 100% paperless company! Can you talk about the transition process and the biggest challenges you faced (if any?) What recommendations would to give to a company contemplating going paperless?
Travis: It was easier than we thought it would be. The largest challenge is being asked for marketing brochures and information. We simply email our materials to anyone that actually wants to read it. The greatest challenge is being at a meeting or conference, but we rely on our iPads for any and all info. Thanks to today’s technology, it’s easy to lean on PDFs and email for just about everything. I recommend embracing technology. Don’t be afraid to spend a little extra money. It’s worth it.
BusinessInterviews.com: What inspired your decision for a rebrand?
Travis: We’re actually a spin-off from our sister company – Four Seasons Wealth Management. The wealth management firm is very successful and one of the largest independent firms in the US, so we didn’t want to completely distance ourselves from that good name. However, many of our new client companies thought we were in the wealth management business, which we are not. We are strictly fee-for-service financial education. This rebranding effort not only created further distinction from our successful sister company, it allowed us to go back to the drawing board on why we are unique and why companies do business with us. It’s healthy to refocus once in a while.
BusinessInterviews.com: What do you think is the most common misconception that people or organizations have when it comes to the concept of financial planning?
Travis: Few people really know what financial planning means. For example, when someone sees the letters “CFP” behind our names, they assume we sell insurance, we’re stock brokers, we are the next Bernie Madoff, or we’re going to tell them what they’re doing wrong with their money. Financial planning is a science. There’s a reason you must become board-certified to be a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). Financial planning is first coming up with a unique plan on how to protect your family and achieve your goals. Second, you begin to implement the plan over time. Lastly, you revisit and monitor the plan as it changes year after year. It’s no different than building a blueprint for a new home. Without a planned blueprint, you are just guessing where the concrete, wiring and plumbing must go. I don’t know how anyone can achieve their goals without a financial plan.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you tell us a bit about your recent expansion into new markets and what this means for the vision and direction of the company?
Travis: The financial wellness industry is finally becoming recognized as an industry. Just as regular wellness become popular among employers over the last two decades, financial wellness emerged through the last two recessions. Employers have begun to understand the direct link between the financial health of employees and their profitability. This increased awareness and demand has allowed us to reach new markets across the US. Being a technology-driven company has also helped since we fully operate out of our headquarter location. We expect to add more personnel, as well as more CFP professionals, to keep up with this greater demand. Our systems have allowed us to easily expand in the past and should prove valuable during our expected expansion in the months and years ahead. Although we’re seeing new competitors emerge with this greater demand, we’re happy to see the industry growing as a whole. Whether it’s with us or another firm, financial wellness programs truly make a difference in people’s lives.
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