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A Discussion with Joseph Abbondante On How the “Tough Decision” Is Almost Always the Right One

Joseph Abbondante is an experienced and knowledgeable financial services representative. He has a degree in electrical engineering and a degree in finance from St. John’s University. Joe’s areas of expertise include retirement income strategies, annuities, life insurance, asset protection, and tax minimization strategies. Joe is not a money manager. He is a retirement planning specialist […]

Joseph Abbondante
Joseph Abbondante

Joseph Abbondante is an experienced and knowledgeable financial services representative. He has a degree in electrical engineering and a degree in finance from St. John’s University. Joe’s areas of expertise include retirement income strategies, annuities, life insurance, asset protection, and tax minimization strategies. Joe is not a money manager. He is a retirement planning specialist (Money managers try to grow your money at all costs and risks.) Joe helps his clients preserve their savings and enjoy the use of their money when they need it most. 

After a successful career on Wall St., Joe made the decision to start his own financial services company, Toscana Consulting Services. Over the past 30 years, he has worked with more than 1000 clients to help them safely achieve their financial goals. As a financial services representative, Joe ‘s main goal is to help you make well-informed decisions on what types of financial and tax strategies are right for you. He also emphasizes the need to adjust your current plans as your goals and needs change.

1. What is your current position and what does your typical day look like?

My current position is President and Founder of Toscana Consulting Services. My typical day consists of marketing efforts and meetings with clients.  At Toscana Consulting Services our day consists of taking care of clients, setting up appointments, and implementing the plans we suggest in order to meet their financial goals.

2.What aspect of your career do you like the most, and why?

After doing this for 32 years I have realized that much of the work I have done has played a major and meaningful role in my clients’ financial life. I have retired countless individuals with the help of the work I have done in setting up a plan for them, I find this very gratifying and my client’s find this invaluable.

3. What led to the decision to found Toscana Consulting Services?

The reason I opened Toscana Consulting Services is because in the financial industry it is very common for people who don’t work for a Corporation to decide to venture out on their own to create their own business through their own name and corporation. 

4. How did you know it was the right time to start Toscana Consulting Services?

I left the Wall Street world in 2001 just before 9/11 and the dotcom bubble crash was happening. I did this because I realized that my focus had changed from financial planning to a more corporate focus. The problem with Wall Street was that I was forced to adhere to what the big firms thought was right for our clients. I left this world after working there for 8 years and decided my efforts needed to be pointed towards financial planning and strategic retirement planning for late stage planning, and to mitigate risk for my clients.

5. What trend in your industry are you most excited about?

In the last 32 years I have made this shift to pre and post-retirement planning. The difference to when our parents used to work they had one maybe two different jobs at the most, nowadays individuals are switching positions much more frequently. Due to this, a lot of times people are forfeiting the most important benefits they accumulated, the pension. Now we have these subsidized pensions that no longer exist in corporate America, along with social security and retirement accounts such as 401k and 403b plans. These plans now are what most retirees depend on as a source of income during their retirement. It is my job to fill the gap that has occurred with the disappearance of pensions by creating the other leg of the three-legged stool to provide for another source of income. This is by far the largest change I have seen in the last three decades.

6. How do you form such meaningful relationships with your clients?

This has always been a very difficult question to answer. Due to the fact that I am self-employed, I do not have the name recognition I did when I was on Wall Street; however, to differentiate myself I need to offer one on one service where clients know I can be there whenever needed. My job is to provide an invaluable service that my clients typically are unable to get with the larger firms. I make sure that my clients understand I am in their corner, and that their interests always come before my own.

7. What strategies do you use to grow your business?

In the past I have worked independently for other companies where I would provide financial planning solutions for their clients. A few of those companies went out of business and therefore these clients became my clients.  As these clients become older and are no longer requiring your services, you need to find new ways to attract clients. I’ve been using direct mail and digital media, but more frequently I conduct workshops at universities, public libraries, and dinner seminars to introduce new topics as a way to attract new clients.

8. What is one piece of advice that has stuck with you throughout your career?

Always do the right thing. I forget who told me this motto, but when I first started out, I was told that there is never a wrong time to do the right thing and there is never the right time to do a wrong thing. I have always kept this in my mind when I create strategies for clients. I provide my clients  with a service where they know that I can be counted on to execute strategies that benefit them and not myself.

9. What is your greatest professional achievement and how did you manage to achieve it?

My greatest professional achievement has been the courage to leave the Wall Street world and give up a successful position with a very well respected company and start out on my own with no name recognition. To be able to build this business up to the point where over the last 18 years to be successful and manage to continue the success has been my greatest pride.

10. In your 30 years of financial services experience, what has been the biggest change and how did it affect you and your business?

I have to break this down into two parts. When I first started out, the biggest challenge was getting people to believe in me when they knew I was young and inexperienced and to try and develop trust. In the corporate world the challenges were a lot less extreme because clients knew my abilities were backed by a large corporation and that the company had faith in me. When I left this corporate world, the biggest challenge was when I was by myself, how do I compete with advisors and brokers from large corporations that are well known, and what do I need to do to prove my abilities and differentiate myself without name recognition.

11. What advice would you give to a 16-year-old Joseph Abbondante?

I would tell a 16-year old Joseph Abbondante that an inevitable part of life is making mistakes and they will teach you more than success will. How you handle your challenges in life will determine your character. Always honor your word, your commitment, and your family. 

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