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Since the middle of last year, we have been refining The Asset Advisory Group’s (TAAG) mission and vision and creating a strategic plan for the future.  We want to ensure we continue to add value to the lives of our clients with the same level of service and care we’ve given them for the past 24 years.  This has made me even more aware of the treatment I receive as a client, as I mentioned in my last blog “Do You Want Fries With That?” 

Last weekend, I was reminded once again of how not to treat our clients.  My dog, Kenyon, tore his acl and meniscus while chasing a squirrel at the park.  Our vet let us know he could perform the surgery to repair Kenyon’s leg – in three weeks!  As I started to research canine acl surgery, I discovered there are a few distinctly different types of surgery.  Not knowing what was best for Kenyon, and feeling like our vet’s main concern was cost savings, I called a client who is an associate professor of small animal surgery at Purdue University. 
Fortunately, she told me the questions I should ask, recommended I look for someone certified by American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (there are only seven in Cincinnati!) and explained which surgery is most appropriate for Kenyon’s breed and injury.  In short, much more information than the family vet was able to provide. 
As she explained, my vet is more of a generalist, but because of the difficulty involved in this particular surgery, he should have referred us to a specialist who is continually learning the most innovative techniques.   
This is similar to the way we are set up at TAAG.  Each advisor is a Certified Financial Planner® who has taken coursework in Investing, Insurance, Estate, Tax and Retirement Planning.  Our goal is to create a relationship with our clients where we know as much about them as they are comfortable sharing, so that we can help make the best financial decisions for their circumstances. 
This does not mean we will have the answers to all of their questions or be able to provide all services they will need in-house.  For that, we rely on a community of experts such as attorneys, CPAs and independent insurance agents who are knowledgeable about the latest laws and regulations that affect their field.    As CFP®s, our focus is on creating a plan that will produce a sustainable income during our client’s retirement and continually educating ourselves about the best way to do this.  And we must always put our client’s interests ahead of our own – even if that means sending them to another professional. 
The biggest frustration I had with our vet was his implication that his services were all Kenyon needed and we were simply overpaying by going to a specialist.   I’m happy to report that Kenyon is a week out of surgery and already on the mend – two weeks before my vet would have even performed his operation!
Christine L. Carleton, CFP®
clcarleton@taaginc.com
http://www.taaginc.com/