Investing in the Ones We Love Most

The importance of having trustworthy, passionate and empathetic coaches on your team who go above and beyond to insure you and your loved ones’ success.

When it comes to planning for your financial future – whether your own or for those you love – there’s a 3-word mantra that fits best: Peace of Mind. It’s a mantra perfectly reflected by the experiences of Broomfielders Sara and Sam Taylor and a Denver Metro area woman who prefers to just be called Susan who both turned to the Summit Financial Solutions team for that planning support.

The Taylors’ Broomfield story began when they met and settled here in the 1980s. Over the years Sam worked for several companies, ran one of his own, and served for eight years on the Broomfield City Council. Ultimately, he was hired as the CEO of the Broomfield Chamber of Commerce, where he was working when he suffered a massive heart attack in 2022. En route to the hospital, he said he remembers thinking, “So this is what dying feels like.”Given only a seven percent chance of survival, he beat the odds, and by December of 2022, he had moved on to a new job as Director of Colorado Loans to Improve Mainstreet Business Economic Recovery (CLIMBER), created by the Colorado Legislature to assist small businesses.

Sara’s career looked a little different than she expected, happily becoming the primary caregiver for their son Benjamin, who had infantile spasms as a baby, leaving him nonverbal and unable to walk, and requiring 24/7 care for the rest of his life. Sara has coordinated Benjamin’s elaborate support system by recruiting help and managing the care he needs. In recent years the Taylors started planning for both their own and Benjamin’s long-term future – a major piece of that being a life insurance plan put in place for them by Aaron Rask at Summit Financial.

“Benjamin will need a place to live for the rest of his life,” Sam said. “Our house has been retrofitted and is wheelchair accessible, but we started wondering what would happen when we would no longer be there.” When the house directly behind theirs came up for sale, their daughter Bethany and her husband bought it, giving them a new possibility. The Taylors obtained permission to build Broomfield’s first Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), a “tiny house,” in their backyard, directly between theirs and their daughter’s home. Designed by Sara, the freestanding structure eventually will become their residence. And Benjamin will be cared for in their current home, fitted out for all of his needs. The insurance policy, along with their other investments, will help them preserve the living environment that he has had for most of his life. 

The Taylors said as they thought about their plans Aaron’s coaching advice to them was “Be unstoppable.” Be able to say, “Yes, I can do that. You can do that for your family. Go for your dreams and keep going.” Aaron and his colleague Dave Manley at Summit stress the importance of having “coaches” on your team as you set yourself up for long-term financial stability. “That’s critical,” Sam said. “People often don’t understand financial risk, and you need someone like Aaron to walk you through it. What are your goals? What might work best for you? What are the downsides? Aaron is really, really good at coaching that, “It’s not how much money you have, but what you do with it that matters most.” 

As for Susan’s situation, she was struggling to juggle being the sole caregiver and provider for both her disabled parents and neighbor and serving in ministry, while dealing with an investment situation that was collapsing. During this, her longtime CPA suddenly died. At that point she not only lost her accountant but a trusted financial advisor. She frantically tried to find assurance in someone else just as reliable only to be dismissed by several financial advisers she was referred to, leaving her desperate to figure out how to care for her parents and neighbor and also for herself in the long term. 

“I received a postcard in the mail and went to a workshop about long-term investing. That was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made.” The product she signed up for essentially was going to leave her in an even more dire financial situation and she wasn’t sure where to turn. Meanwhile, her dad passed, her mom needed to be moved to a facility and her parents had no investments to cover the large expenses left for Susan to deal with. And that's when she was finally referred to Dave Manley at Summit Financial Solutions, who not only helped dig her out of the hole into which she had fallen but also helped her set up a good financial plan for her mother before she passed. “We were able to make some adjustments to that bad plan because he helped me set up a phone call with the other company and helped me ask the right questions about what I had and what I could do next.” All of which was a huge relief. 

It was a complicated procedure but ultimately led her into a new program that will do what it is supposed to do when the time comes. With that peace of mind, she said she’s been able to get back to focusing on the work she loves and hobbies like photography and art inspired by both her parents. “Dad was a photographer; Mom was an artist,” Susan said. “I love nature and photography, and my Dad taught me how to use his Single Lens Reflex camera to follow in that passion. I was really quite good at it, but after I spent so many years caregiving, sadly I lost much of that knowledge. Now I’m able to renew my interest in photography using a variety of cameras.” 

A missionary for more than 30 years, Susan works for a national organization that assists International University students “in about every way imaginable” as they come to study in the U.S. She personally helps with their arrivals and arranges volunteers to assist them until they are settled. She helps with everything from the basics like opening bank accounts, finding apartments, shopping for furniture and learning how to navigate grocery stores with unfamiliar food. In a more intentional and meaningful way, she pairs each student up with an American family, counsels them during difficult situations and walks alongside them praying with them through their faith journey. Though many may not have a faith background,“ I am able to help them in their spiritual growth.” 

An enjoyable spinoff from her mission work has been the opportunity to travel to visit students in their home countries after they graduate. “I get to meet their families and see where they live.” Among her favorite visits have been to Japan, China, New Zealand and Portugal. “Whether it's in the U.S. or abroad, I take photos wherever I go.”

In addition to renewing her photography skills, she’s also learning to paint. “My mom did oils and acrylics, and we had a dream to learn watercolor painting together.” Since life’s circumstances did not make room for that, “I’m now taking painting lessons, primarily watercolor and oils.”  

Meanwhile, she’s feeling much more reassured about what lies ahead thanks to Dave’s assistance with planning for her financial needs as she starts to approach her retirement years. “It’s good to know that I have things in place financially, and Dave has really helped me get prepared for that.”

Both Susan and the Taylors agree that Aaron and Dave are more than financial advisors. They look out for their clients almost as if they are family. “When Sam had his heart attack and was in the ER, he was convinced he was going to die,” Sara Taylor said. “If he had died, I would have been totally confident in saying to Aaron: ‘What do we do?’ He’s just trustworthy that way.” She said she would have been completely confident in Aaron’s advice. “He instills the confidence in you that he will be there for you every step of the way.”

“I didn’t have a good support system to help me,” Susan said. “It was because I didn’t have that that it’s taken me so long to recover. Staying on top of the heavy load of responsibilities, there wasn't time to take care of myself, and consequently, I lost track of my own financial situation. With Dave’s support, wisdom and advice, I was able to regain control. He coached me through the trenches and always with a smile. He is trustworthy, brought stability back into my life and built my confidence in having my financial plan back in order.”  With his guidance, she said she's regained her peace of mind.

“People often don’t understand financial risk and you need someone like Aaron to walk you through it."

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