Waterhouse Changing the Game in Financial Planning
Mike Waterhouse - IPG Independence Planning Group
Financial Advisor - series 7 and 66.
Health life and disablitly
Describe your business
I first help people and businesses to understand the foundation to every financial decision; Cash flow. Without a proper understanding of what is coming in, where it is going and what is left over, we will never be able to achieve our optimal financial situation.
What has surprised you most while working here?
What has surprised me the most, and why I choose to be a cash flow expert, is that many people do not have a solid grasp on their finances. Often times, we uncover a large sum of unaccounted for dollars; often times more than five to ten thousand dollars. I have heard the following phrase countless times; "I have no idea where that money goes". That is what I am here for. I help to analyze where money is currently going, and redirect those into areas that will satisfy short and long term goals.
Why did you decide to work here?
Through my prior experiences personally and professionally, I have developed a passion to lead individuals, families, and business owners down the path of financial success. I worked for five years at an investment management firm down in the Tampa Bay Region of Florida. I was in a compliance role, working with and visiting thousands of advisers throughout the nation. During my time with them, I had the opportunity to ask many questions and gain valuable advice about their career path, not to mention I was able to see firsthand the great work that many of these advisers did for their clients.
When I moved back up north to the Lehigh Valley, I was going to join a local office of the firm I worked for down in Florida until I was introduced Independence Planning Group(IPG) by an old friend. I realized quickly that what we do at IPG is very different from a traditional investment firm, and far more complete planning, as I like to call it. We do not just look at investments and retirement accounts; we dig deep into protection of assets, proper structure of debt instruments, unique allocations of savings and investments, and of course, cash flow. Once I learned about our philosophy, I never looked back.
What was it like when you first started?
Anytime you are building your own business, there are challenges. No different for me when I first started. There were many long days and late nights, which involved driving to and from six, seven, eight networking events per week, numerous charitable organizations, taking over as President of my local alumni chapter, and volunteering for the Pennsylvania Golf Association. I was determined to get involved and give back to the community, be at every networking event, and share what I am doing to help people as often as I possibly could. At first, the expenses were going out significantly faster than revenue was coming in, however I had a long term, lifetime vision of success. I knew everything I was doing would pay off, and I was right.
On a side note, I actually put a paid advertisement in the Lehigh Valley Easy Pages despite that I was fairly certain I would never receive a call from the book. However, the purpose for taking out this ad was very strategic: I would take a picture of the ad in the book once it was published, and post the picture on my social media pages to gain awareness. I wanted to let my network know that I am not going anywhere and I am very passionate about what I do. The cost for the ad was not cheap, however the two hundred likes on Facebook and fifty comments showed that people acknowledged and supported what I do. It was well worth the cost!
What would your customers say they love most about your business?
The time that we spend together educating, organizing, and understanding their complete financial picture. They love the depth that we go into rather than just focusing on product sales.
What is the most memorable experience you’ve had working there?
Every time a client says "thank you so much for helping us", or "I appreciate all that you do". That, to me, never will get old. I have been involved with some pretty memorable experiences so far, from some very interesting client stories, to some unforgettable homes and unique events I have been at. I even was nominated as a candidate for the Lehigh Valley Man of the Year by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! We raised $30,000 for a wonderful cause, and have built some amazing relationships along the way.
Probably the most memorable experience was driving back from a meeting two and a half hours away on the night of the NCAA basketball championship in 2016. My colleagues car broke down about ten minutes after we left the clients home, and it was well past 5:00pm. All of the shops were closed, so we would have had to tow the car to a closed mechanic, get a hotel, and wait until the morning to see if they could even fix it right away. Instead, we decided to get the truck towed all the way back to Allentown, and ride in the tow truck all the way back; the three of us piled in the front seat! On top of that, the driver has one of the most interesting life stories I have ever heard!
Why do you think it's important for people to shop local?
The number one reason is the personal relationship. When someone buys from a large retailer, or online, the salesperson or the business website know absolutely nothing about the buyer. How does the buyer know they are purchasing the right product, or they are paying a fair price? Same goes for me and my industry. There are a lot of companies out there where one can buy financial products or invest at their fingertips. I have actually seen people lose money because they do not remember where it is, or death benefits of life insurance policies not paid out because their family did not know who to contact to make the claim. When you shop local, you build that relationship, and you know you are being taken care of.
What do you love most about the neighborhood?
The people of Emmaus are the best around. For example, our neighbor has lived on the same road all of his life, and he is 85 years old. He is like the mayor! He has told us much history of Emmaus, and shared some great hidden treasures of the area. We love walking the dogs down Chestnut and Main St., stopping in the local shops, and going to the Emmaus Farmers Market. We also walk the Emmaus Community Park and the beautiful trail a few days a week, as it is only two blocks from our home.
Where are your favorite places to go in the neighborhood?
The community park, the farmers market, House and Barn, the Trapp Door, Yergeys Brewery and Triple Suns Spirits. We still have much to try, such as 187 Rue Principale, the local bakery and seafood shop, and the Emmaus Theater.