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Alex Austin, CFP® | Remaking Financial Planning


Alex Austin, CFP®, stands as a symbol of integrity and expertise in the realm of financial planning and investment management. Transitioning from investment banking and corporate finance, Alex redirected his career towards a more personally fulfilling path – one centered around empowering individuals and families to achieve financial security and prosperity.

Alex brings years of comprehensive financial expertise to his role as a financial planner and lead advisor for Insight Wealth Strategies, expertly managing client relationships and meticulously identifying and addressing their unique needs. His unwavering dedication knows no bounds, reaching beyond local geographical confines to encompass both national and international spheres.

Education is the cornerstone of Alex's expertise, initially laid by his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. However, it was his successful completion of the rigorous CFP® exam that significantly enhanced his credentials, marking a pivotal moment in his career trajectory. This combination of academic achievement and practical experience affords Alex with a unique blend of analytical prowess and interpersonal finesse that is rare in his field.

At the heart of Insight Wealth Strategies lies a commitment to providing unbiased, client-centric financial guidance. With a focus on comprehensive financial planning and investment management, the firm distinguishes itself by eschewing product sales and conflicts of interest. Founded in 2002, Insight Wealth Strategies has grown into a $900 million fee-only planning powerhouse, with a presence in California, Texas, and Michigan. The firm's overarching goal is to deliver objective, strategic, and prudent advice aimed at helping clients not only accumulate wealth, but also retain and transfer it effectively. With a suite of specialties ranging from retirement and investment planning to estate and business succession planning, Insight Wealth Strategies offers a holistic approach to financial well-being. Through meticulous attention to detail and a steadfast commitment to client satisfaction, the firm has cemented its reputation as a trusted ally in navigating the complexities of wealth management.

We spoke with Alex to learn more about his decision to move from investment banking and corporate finance to financial planning, and his unique approach to helping people reach their retirement goals.

Alex, what inspired you to move into personal financial planning and investment management halfway through your career?

About a decade ago, I found myself assisting my parents in navigating their retirement planning. Unfortunately, the financial advisor they were using wasn't a fiduciary or a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), resulting in advice that didn't align with their needs or risk tolerance. Witnessing this misalignment prompted me to intervene, ensuring they were directed towards a CFP® for more suitable guidance. This personal experience ignited my passion for becoming a CFP® and fueled my desire to assist others, particularly families and individuals facing similar challenges – whether they're nearing retirement or still years away. My philosophy centers on the belief that preparation today equips us with greater flexibility and options as retirement approaches.

I work with clients at various stages of the retirement planning spectrum, recognizing the unique challenges and dynamics each phase presents. By guiding them through the intricacies of financial planning, I aim to ensure efficiency and effectiveness throughout their investment lifecycle. Contrary to popular belief, financial planning doesn't have to be complex or daunting; I pride myself on my down-to-earth approach. I strive to demystify financial concepts, explaining them in relatable terms that resonate with my clients.

What makes your approach unique?

Our approach stands out for several key reasons. Firstly, as a fee-only financial planning firm, we are solely compensated by our clients. This means we do not sell insurance or rely on commission-based products, ensuring that our advice remains entirely objective. Unlike many other firms, we are not driven by the prospect of commissions, eliminating any inherent conflicts of interest. Secondly, we prioritize comprehensive planning, aiming to connect all facets of our clients' financial lives. While some may focus solely on investment strategies, we recognize that financial well-being encompasses much more. Our role resembles that of a GPS in our clients' financial journey, empowering them to take the driver's seat as we guide them toward their destination – whether it's achieving greater financial flexibility or retirement goals. Throughout the planning process, we meticulously examine every aspect of their lives, goals, and concerns from various angles. This includes evaluating their insurance coverage, asset protection measures, and wealth distribution strategies. Furthermore, we address retirement income planning, determining whether monthly income or lump-sum distributions align better with their objectives. Additionally, we proactively seek opportunities to minimize future tax burdens through prudent financial decisions made today. By considering a multitude of factors and perspectives, we empower our clients to navigate their financial futures with confidence and peace of mind.

While you’re helping people reach their retirement goals, you’re also helping other financial professionals achieve their goals of obtaining a CFP. Tell us about this.

I find immense fulfillment in my work, knowing that I'm guiding people towards retirement with confidence and peace of mind. I am deeply passionate about advancing the Certified Financial Planner profession. As a testament to this commitment, I co-founded a company dedicated to assisting candidates in preparing for and successfully passing the rigorous CFP® exam. The CFP® designation is widely regarded as the gold standard in our industry, representing a significant achievement due to the exam's challenging nature. In fact, only about 30% of advisors obtain this certification, making it an extraordinary accomplishment. Having personally experienced the journey to becoming a CFP® professional , I am dedicated to supporting other financial professionals in achieving the same milestone.

Alex Austin CFP®
Financial Planner and Lead Advisor
Insight Wealth Strategies

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