Dunston Financial Group Welcomes Stephanie McElheny, CFP®, ChSNC®, EA to the Team

Stephanie McElheny, CFP®, ChSNC®, EA  Director of Financial Planning Dunston Financial Group would like to welcome Stephanie McElheny to the team! A Certified Financial Planner™ professional with more than seven years of industry experience, Stephanie is passionate about identifying opportunities and implementing comprehensive financial planning solutions for both individuals and businesses. As a Chartered Special Needs Consultant™ and an Enrolled Agent, Stephanie’s specific expertise includes special needs planning as well as individual and business taxation. Prior to joining Dunston Financial Group, Stephanie was the Manager of Financial Planning, and an Assistant Vice President, at PNC Investments. She led a team of 13 professionals who provided financial planning services and solutions to more than 750 advisors across the country. Previously, Stephanie acted as both the Assistant Director of Financial Planning and a Registered Investment Advisor for Hefren-Tillotson, a mid-size wealth management firm. During her tenure with Hefren, Stephanie was responsible for reviewing and auditing financial plans for accuracy and completeness as well as acting as a lead content creator for the blog, newsletter, and radio spots. A Pittsburgh native, Stephanie served as President and Symposium Chair of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), among other roles. She also spent time on the pro-bono committee, offering financial literacy education to seniors, veterans, and underprivileged families. Outside of work, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband, Steve, and their dog, Myron. She is an outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking, camping, cycling, and snowboarding. Stephanie also takes great pride in cheering on her hometown sports teams and alma mater – the Pittsburgh Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates and the Penn State...
Announcing the Newest Member of the Dunston Financial Group Team

Announcing the Newest Member of the Dunston Financial Group Team

  Dunston Financial Group is excited to announce the addition of our newest team member, Meera Meyer. Meera is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional with over five years of experience working with independent fee-only advisory firms in both California and Colorado. She brings to Dunston Financial Group a variety of financial planning experience, including college and retirement planning, financial security analysis, real estate and rental property analysis, and estate planning. She began her career in the non-profit sector where she worked with, and currently sits on the board for, Project Education South Sudan, an organization that educates and empowers girls in South Sudan. She also sits on the advisory board for the Women’s Partnership Market, a B Corp that partners with grassroots organizations and female artisans to empower women...
Client Success Story: Senior Executive Gets Peace of Mind

Client Success Story: Senior Executive Gets Peace of Mind

One of our clients is a C-level executive for a large international company. He came to our firm with a complex set of needs ranging from restricted stock planning, real estate investment needs, concerns about his investment portfolio, and worries about his overall risk management plan. His primary goals were to build wealth and to protect it. After analyzing his financial situation in great detail, we were able to help him devise a risk management plan that gave him significantly better insurance coverage for his real estate portfolio, and we also rescued him from some very poor whole life insurance products. We also helped him devise a much more robust life insurance, property & casualty insurance, and disability income insurance strategy. When we first sat down, his group disability income insurance was no where near sufficient to protect his family in the event of a long-term disability. After working with his HR department, we were able to build an executive-level supplemental disability insurance strategy that augmented his disability coverage from about 60% of his pay to around 80% of his pay. For someone at his income level, this was a critical risk that needed to be ameliorated. He also completed the financial planning process with an investment strategy, a clear retirement plan, and some advice on what to do with his restricted stock. Most importantly, our client had peace of mind that his family would be taken care of financially in the event something were to happen to him. Every client has different goals, but this was a clear example of a client who was able to greatly benefit from...
Study Finds that Most Investor Portfolios Have Significant Shortcomings

Study Finds that Most Investor Portfolios Have Significant Shortcomings

Dunston Financial Group recently attended the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) annual conference in Seattle. As expected, we were not disappointed by the quality or substance of content. We are honored to be a part of such a collegial and intellectually stimulating community of fee-only financial planners. Several things stood out at the conference. One of which was a set of findings put forth by BNY Mellon. In an attempt to ascertain the health of investor portfolios, BNY Mellon studied a large sample size of portfolios and found that most portfolios had significant shortcomings: 89% of investor portfolios were missing asset classes 89% were lacking an overall portfolio plan 86% followed or fled a trend too late 83% of portfolios were subject to sector bets that the investor did not know were taking place 78% of portfolios didn’t have enough or held too many holdings 78% of investor portfolios had unnecessary or unknown portfolio risk 75% had little to no tax management 68% of portfolios were subject to hidden costs We weren’t surprised when we heard this given that we regularly encounter such findings when analyzing portfolios on behalf of our own clients. Such shortcomings can have serious consequences for investors’ goals, including goals related to retirement and long-term wealth accumulation. When was the last time you had a portfolio checkup? It’s always better to catch such issues sooner rather than...
Client Success Story: How Financial Planning Made a 30-Year Dream a Reality

Client Success Story: How Financial Planning Made a 30-Year Dream a Reality

(Drone Video of Alpen Way Chalet Mountain Lodge) Every day we talk with clients about our financial planning process. Step two in the process is where we spend a lot of time defining client objectives. Several months ago, we were approached by some clients who had a very clear objective: For thirty years, their goal was to own their own bed and breakfast in Colorado. After four months and, after assembling a team of more than ten professional advisors, we’re happy to announce that our clients are now the proud owners of Alpen Way Chalet Mountain Lodge in Evergreen, CO. Not only were we able to make our clients’ long-time dream a reality, but we did so in the context of a comprehensive financial planning process that also examined where owning a business fit within their broader retirement, tax, estate, risk, and investment planning objectives. This was a clear example of how financial planning can be beneficial, and also how it’s always centered on a client’s...
How the Rich Build Wealth

How the Rich Build Wealth

Perhaps you didn’t grow up in a family that talked about money or investing. If so, you’re not alone. Alonzo Peters, writing from his perspective as an African American, explains that this was the predicament he was in and how he later came to realize the close connection between investing in the stock market and building wealth: Growing up, my family never talked about the stock market. We didn’t discuss ticker symbols over the kitchen table. Perhaps it was because my parents were too busy just trying to make ends meet. To us stocks were risky. They were the playground of the rich. You either had to have money or immense intelligence to wade into the world of stocks.   Fast forward a few decades and I realize many of my friends and colleagues were brought up the same way. To this day many of them still believe that the stock market is a fool’s bet.   But here’s the simple truth. Over time, the stock market has become one of the greatest wealth multipliers of our time. Over the past 70 years the S&P 500 has averaged a 7% yearly return on investments. Understand that in some years you would make much more more than a 7% return, in some years you could earn less than a 7% return and in other years, as in 2008, you could even lose money.   But invested over a long period of time, on average, you’ll make a nice return on your investment. Combine this with the power of compounding interest and you’ll quickly understand how stocks multiply your wealth over...