Financial Advisor, Managing Director

Collaborative financial planning and business guidance for Richmond area entrepreneurs and executives.


March 25, 2024
Mark Newfield

Why It “Takes a Village” to Optimize Your Financial Life

When it comes to managing your financial well-being, most people assume their financial advisor does it all. While it’s true Journey Strategic Wealth provides a full-service partnership and I have an accounting degree, we often coordinate with attorneys, accountants, and insurance agents to provide our clients with the most comprehensive advice.

Let’s dive into the power of collaboration and how it benefits you. 

Real Advice is Rigorous

We follow a rigorous code of ethics. This includes a fiduciary obligation to act in your best interest. To live up to those ethical and legal standards, we do not need to, and cannot possibly promote, knowing it all. We must recognize when outside expertise is required to address your specific concerns or complex goals. 

Your financial life is vast, unique, and constantly changing. Far more knowledge is required to address your planning needs than any one individual or team can know on their own. Consider the different areas of expertise required to keep up with changing U.S. tax codes, estate or business law, or navigating non-U.S. tax systems as an expat, for example. These are all substantially different specialties and knowledge bases. On any given day, you might need us to become engaged in one of these areas.

Providing a client with the right advice often means bringing in other professionals to help us navigate the specific nuances of your financial circumstances. Sure, we could learn on the fly and perhaps arrive at the right solution.  Would we get the best outcome? Maybe. We think it is far more likely that engaging an expert in the particular area and combining their knowledge of the specific issue with our understanding of you will get you the right advice. This is how we uphold our commitment as your fiduciary. 

Examples of Collaboration in Action

Executive Equity Compensation

I’m familiar with 10b5-1 plans. I recognize that it’s not my area of deep expertise. For reference, Rule 10b5-1 allows insiders of publicly traded companies to establish systematic sales of their company stock without violating insider trading rules.

Recently, a client came to us where this scenario could be an option for them. Rather than attempt to navigate the complexities of insider trading laws on my own, I contacted one of our other advisors who has extensive experience in this area and spoke with the client’s corporate counsel. Together, we’ll make sure that their 10b5-1 plan makes sense for the client and will pass any potential scrutiny from the SEC.

Death of an Expatriate’s Spouse

We have an expatriate client. Their spouse passed away outside of the U.S.  We had previously worked with the client’s prior estate planning attorney and established the proper estate plan, which included the proper change in ownership of the taxable investment account.  The investment custodian froze, improperly in our (and the attorney’s!)opinion, the client’s taxable brokerage account. This was impacting the client’s ability to move back to the U.S.

We escalated this concern through several levels of the custodian’s management team, with no success. We then brought in an estate planning attorney with experience working with expats. They reviewed the relevant law (The Patriot Act), determined that the custodian was applying it incorrectly, and wrote a letter to the custodian.

As a result, the account was unfrozen and our client was able to move back to the U.S. and purchase a home. This is something we never would have been able to accomplish on our own, as it required a distinct knowledge set and years of experience that this attorney could bring to the table.

Who’s on Your Financial Team

As we demonstrated above, a collaborative team of specialized professionals is often required for more complex financial circumstances, regardless of your net worth.

Who, exactly, should you consider including on your financial team? Let’s take a look at the most common professionals our clients engage with and how they fit into your financial life. Note that the more wealth you have, typically there are more complex scenarios, which means more knowledge needed, which means a larger team.

Does everyone need a team?  No.  Do you?  That’s a question of your facts and circumstances.

Financial Advisor: 

Your financial advisor will likely be at the helm of your financial planning initiatives and decision-making.  While they don’t necessarily have to be the leader of the team, it often makes sense that they take a leadership role in coordinating and communicating with other professionals.  As advisors, we see our main priority as identifying, creating, and executing solutions that help you achieve your desired outcomes. This includes understanding when additional professionals will add value to your planning.


A Certified Public Accountant or other tax professional offers tax-related services and expertise, including

  • Tax planning (both immediate and long-term planning)
  • Auditing
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Bookkeeping and payroll
  • Tax return preparation and filing

Insurance Specialists: 

An insurance specialist will, just as it sounds, provide you (and your advisor) with specific information regarding your existing insurance coverage and policy options.  From car, home, and business to life, disability, and long-term care, there’s a wide range of options available—which a specialist can help you navigate based on your specific concerns. It’s important to note, however, that an insurance specialist is typically not a fiduciary. 


Attorneys come in many shapes and forms, but we most often engage with attorneys who specialize in estate planning, taxes, business agreements, and employment letters and contracts. Attorneys will navigate your financial well-being from a legal angle and may (hopefully never necessary!) litigate on your behalf.

Are You in the Process of Building Your Financial Team

While you may not need a full-fledged family office, there are going to be instances in your financial life where coordination and communication among professionals are necessary. At Journey, we enjoy helping you navigate all aspects of your wealth, whether it’s something we can address internally or with the help of others. Being a great advisor is less about what we know than what we know we don’t know and therefore when to supplement the team with the needed expertise.

We always strive to operate with humility and stewardship. That often means taking a collaborative, multi-discipline approach to optimizing your financial life. If you’d like to learn more about our services and approach to financial planning, book a call with our team today.



Financial Advisor, Managing Director

Mark’s role is primarily as lead advisor and client strategist of his division at JSW. Mark’s passion is ensuring that his team is completely focused on properly caring for you, that you enjoy working with us, and that you receive value from everything the team does for clients.


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