Don founded NEWA over 30 years ago and remains its owner, operator, and branch manager. You can read his story and perspective in the interview below, “Get To Know Don In 5 Questions.”
As your CFP® professional and financial advisor, Don will:
Qualifications:Don earned his Degree in Business Management from Franklin Pierce College. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and a Registered Investment Advisor representative.
He holds the Series 7 General Securities Representative license, the Series 6 Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative license, and the Series 24 Registered Principle license. He passed the NASAA Series 63 Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination. He also holds Life Insurance licenses in various states.
He is a member of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the Institute of Certified Financial Planners, and the Institute of Business and Finance.
Q: How did you get started in the industry?
A: I came to financial planning in an unusual way. While working at a bank, I repossessed cars, which brought me into contact with people whose lives had been devastated by financial illiteracy and mismanagement. I became convinced that there was value in helping people understand how to create and manage wealth, since those activities support many other aspects of “the good life.” With that goal in mind, I enrolled in the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation program and garnered Securities and Insurance licenses.
When I graduated, I started my own business rather than joining an established practice. I sensed the value of developing perspectives and processes that were truly my own, and which I could fully believe in. It was unorthodox, challenging, and definitely worth it.
30 years later, it’s been heartening to see the results. The NEWA team has helped countless clients navigate toward their goals through diverse economic, political, and personal realities.
Q: Thirty years is a long time to be in business! Other than your credentials and experience, what do you attribute your success to?
A: Part of me wants to say that we succeed because we genuinely care. But more specifically, I think it comes down to a few key things. First and foremost, Our Philosophy and Our Process. And perhaps as an aspect of this, our focus on education, since clients who understand how their plans work for them are more likely to stay the course.
Second, working with clients as a team of specialists. We believe that when the same person is responsible for everything from big-picture planning, strategy, and management to administrative details, the quality and efficiency of service decreases. This is why every client of ours has an ongoing relationship with both me and a Personal Service Representative who can handle their non-advisory questions, concerns, and requests.
Third, our investment in state of the art technology. You can have the soundest principles in the world, but if you apply them poorly or use weak data, you’re at a disadvantage. This is why we equip ourselves with some of the best tools available for acquiring, evaluating, and leveraging the information our clients’ financial futures depend on.
See also Our Difference.
Q: What do you love most about the NEWA team?
A: I cannot stress enough the importance of my experienced, competent, and hard-working staff.
The paperwork, processes, and procedures required to implement plans and fulfill clients’ day-to-day requests are more complex and sometimes onerous than you can imagine. I’m not talking about checking boxes and filling in blanks by rote, although there’s plenty of that. Their work requires extensive knowledge of all the products and services we provide, all the ways of administering them, and all the rules and regulations governing them.
Then there’s the level of attention to detail required. One tiny error can have serious consequences. To maintain meticulousness, my team has to care. They have to keep every client’s context in mind, recognizing that financial stakes are always high stakes. And on top of this, they must support clients in taking the steps necessary to bring their transactions to completion.
I won’t say my team are unsung heroes, since clients often sing their praises, but I will say it’s hard to overestimate their value.
Q: You’re well-known for serving on Boards of Directors, making charitable contributions, and teaching Adult Education classes. What motivates you to do this work?
A: I’m a firm believer in making the world better through voluntary action, by lending your time and talents to causes you care about. Most of the work I do is a reflection of three values of mine:
Q: Lastly, you clearly love your work. What’s one thing you enjoy doing outside of the office?
A: Competing. Right now, that takes the form of golf. I compete against myself—whether its by lowering my handicap, upping my consistency, or mastering new techniques—and in amateur tournaments of all kinds. If I’m not getting better at something, I’m getting bored. And believe me, golf gives me plenty of opportunities to improve!
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.