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Financial Planners that Treat Clients Like Family

Local Firm Thrives on Doing Things Differently

Does your wealth advisor know your name? Listen to you? Initiate the difficult discussions?

Ascent Financial Group believes these things are crucial to successful relationships. Clients typically meet with their advisors face-to-face at least four times a year. And if they have questions in between meetings, they can expect quick answers.

“We pride ourselves in getting to know our clients, staying in touch and being proactive,” said co-owner & founder Doug Barton, who started the company in 2005. “We treat everybody like family.”

Feels Like Home

From the first step in the door, it’s clear that Ascent Financial is different.

This is no high rise with floor-to-ceiling windows, minimalistic glass conference tables and marble floors. Instead, you’ll pull into a quiet, tree-lined parking lot, climb a few steps and be greeted by plush carpet, shelves of family photos and just three people—each of whom knows you by name.  

To the right rests a comfortable conference room furnished with solid wood to go over paperwork. To the left? A cozy sofa nook affectionately nicknamed the “living room,” featuring multiple marathon medals, awards and other memorabilia.

Executive assistant Hilary Dobrich instantly felt at home a decade ago when she started at Ascent. “I knew right away we would have a lasting partnership. Ten years and still a very happy employee!”

More than a Number

How many times have you called a business and found yourself winding through a dizzying phone menu labyrinth only to be put on a lengthy hold or sent to voicemail?

Not here. It’s the personal, professional service that sets Ascent apart. That’s why about 90 percent of their new business comes from word-of-mouth, Doug said.

There’s no pressure. In fact, the owners of Ascent often encourage potential clients to take time to digest what they discussed and even get a second opinion, rather than signing paperwork immediately.

“We always want people to go home and think about it,” said co-owner Josh Griffin.

In other words, they aren’t seeking quick deals. Ascent is all about educating clients and building long-term relationships. As independent advisors, they are not tied to any particular family of funds or product, and as accredited investment fiduciaries, they recommend only what is in the best interest of their clients.

Early in Doug’s career, he broke away from a large firm, whose focus was pushing their proprietary products first. This gave him the opportunity to offer his clients products based on their needs. In 2005, he bought an office building and established his own business.

“I promised myself that I would never be in a captive environment,” he said. “Our clients deserve access to the full array of financial products available in the marketplace.”

Comprehensive Planning

The initial step at Ascent is to look at your big picture—health insurance, life insurance, estate and legacy planning, risk management and asset protection, business succession plans and more.

Doug and Josh make a point of discussing uncomfortable topics such as death, disability, and nursing homes. If those pieces of your financial picture aren’t in order, investments may not matter much, they said.

Another important topic is long-term care insurance—a sector that has changed dramatically in recent years to offer a wider variety of products. While the traditional “use it or lose it” long term plans still exist, so do single-pay and hybrid life insurance options.

Once you have discussed the various issues that could quickly deplete your investments, it’s finally time to assess how much risk you’re comfortable with and decide what investments align with that risk level.

And if you want to set aside a little slice of “fun money” to manage yourself?

Perfectly fine.

“Stocks, bonds, funds, etc.—they’re just commodities at this point,” Josh said. "Anybody can buy investments online, but few people achieve the diversification and balance that we strive for with our plans.”

When it comes to managing your “serious money?” Doug and Josh have made it their life’s work to help clients plan for tomorrow, next year and the decades ahead.