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Mapping Your Financial Future

An interview with certified plan fiduciary advisor, Melissa Spragg

Article by Kami Egan Savage

Photography by Courtesy of Soltis Investment Advisors; Kami Egan Savage

Originally published in St George City Lifestyle

For Melissa Spragg, a certified plan fiduciary advisor with Soltis Investment Advisors, financial planning is like “going on a trip and plugging your destination’s address into your GPS.” She explains her analogy this way: The GPS system maps the best route, but if you encounter construction or a roadblock, the GPS will reroute to find another path to your destination. Similarly, a financial advisor discovers an individual’s current situation and future goals, then maps out a plan to meet those goals. Melissa shows us some of the highlights and hazards we may encounter on our journeys along the financial highway.   

Q. Why is financial planning important?
A. One benefit of creating a financial plan is that it can provide peace of mind. It may be tempting to disregard planning because we know from experience that life rarely turns out like we initially plan. But we believe there is value in intentional, disciplined planning while being flexible to make changes along the way. 

Q. When should one seek the services of a financial advisor?
A. Life changes often—sometimes dramatically—for people. You should modify your investments and financial plan to fit your current situation as often as needed. An advisor should be able to help you decide how much of a shift is needed during different cycles of your life and depending on what is currently happening in the world economy.  

Q. What are the essential components of a financial plan?
A. Keep in mind that your financial plan is only as good as the information you give it. Some individuals may be tempted to withhold information due to feelings of embarrassment because of debts or past investment decisions. It is important to give complete and accurate information to your advisor. This would include your current income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Other components to take into consideration are taxes, medical expenses, long-term care, charitable giving, Social Security and other government aid programs, education, upcoming large expenses, etc.  Be prepared to take a deep look and be fully transparent with your financial advisor. 

Q. What should one expect when meeting with a financial advisor? 
A. When meeting for the first time, it is important to know that they are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. In my practice, it is important to me that my clients and I are a “good fit” from the start. Don’t be afraid to make a list of things you want from an advisor. Some questions you should be asking would be regarding fees and how they are paid, communication expectations, specific services they offer and who their team is.

Q. What are some areas of your client’s financial lives that they often overlook?
A. An area that is often overlooked is legacy planning. A portfolio and financial plan will look very different if a client has a goal to leave assets to heirs vs. spending down their assets over time. To us, legacy planning goes beyond the dollar. We have worked with clients to help teach principles that will prepare their posterity to inherit and manage that wealth. 

Q. When it comes to holding investments, what is your recommendation in terms of diversification?
A. We believe there is power in a diversified portfolio when crafted with purpose. There are many ways a portfolio could be diversified through traditional stocks and bonds as well as private alternatives and hedging strategies. Each investment recommendation in a portfolio will look different based on the specific needs and goals of each client. 

Q. With the current market in mind, what is some general advice for would-be savers or investors?

A. One thing the last year has taught us is that investing can be very emotional. A good financial advisor might prove their value by acting as an emotional buffer and protecting you from making decisions based on pure emotion. And remember the basics—spend less than you earn, pay yourself and save for rainy days. Be wise and surround yourself with people who care and can help you make good decisions. 

Melissa Spragg is a Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor with Soltis Investment Advisors. Her background in real estate and small business ownership has helped her clients meet their financial goals through strategic planning and investing. Melissa lives in St. George with her husband, Curtis, and their two teenagers. 

Contact Soltis Investment Advisors at 20 N. Main, Suite 400, St. George, 435-674-1600, or online at

... investing can be very emotional. A good financial advisor might prove their value by acting as an emotional buffer and protecting you from making decisions based on pure emotion.

  • Melissa Spragg
  • Melissa Spragg in action