Adam Goldberg of Beacon Trust: “No single advisor is an expert in all areas of personal finance”

No single advisor is an expert in all areas of personal finance. I for example am an expert in holistic financial planning but I am not an expert in portfolio management. I could tell a client what type of asset allocation would help them achieve their goals but I am not the one picking the […]

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No single advisor is an expert in all areas of personal finance. I for example am an expert in holistic financial planning but I am not an expert in portfolio management. I could tell a client what type of asset allocation would help them achieve their goals but I am not the one picking the securities. So you want to know what the advisor is an expert in and what areas they lean on teammates. The best situation is a team approach to allow multiple areas of expertise.


As part of our series about what one should look for when hiring a financial planner or adviser, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adam Goldberg.

Adam is a Relationship Manager at Beacon Trust and a member of the firm-wide team providing comprehensive financial planning advice. Adam oversees clients’ planning related needs including retirement, education planning, and trust & estate planning services. Adam obtained his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification in 2014 and CPWA® designation in 2018. Prior to working at Beacon Trust Adam held financial planning positions at Merrill Lynch & a Guardian Life Agency. Adam attended Lehigh University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Finance. He continued his education at New York University obtaining his Masters in Sports Business Management.

Adam is an avid runner and has run multiple NYC marathons supporting The Memorial Sloane Kettering Foundation. He lives on Long Island with his wife Blake and their three daughters, Avery, Bella, & Payton.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

As mentioned in my BIO I majored in finance at Lehigh. During that time I had a couple different internships. In 2003 when I graduated, NYU had just started the Masters in sports business program. I decided that it could be a great opportunity for me to merge my passion for sports with my undergraduate background in finance. The Masters program led me to a job with the Arena Football League and Majestic Athletic. I then decided to start my own fantasy sports business. After attempting to build this business for a few years starting in 2008 we decided we were going to have to shut it down. I was then at a crossroads go back into sports or go back to focusing on my undergraduate degree. After much deliberation I decided to take an opportunity working for a Guardian Life insurance agency. During this time I partnered with a senior advisor and found my passion for financial planning.

Can you share a story about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting in the industry? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?

I was in a meeting with a colleague and a client, the client is worth over 15MM dollars. My colleague mixed up the difference between Medicare & Medicaid and started talking to the client about applying for Medicaid. I had to interrupt my colleague and tell him that I believe he is mistaken as our clients will not be applying for Medicaid however they will need to apply for Medicare soon. Very similar sounding names both revolving around health insurance for retirees but are for people in very different financial positions.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I just helped a client establish a Charitable Remainder Trust. The client had a significant amount of stock with a very low cost basis. The client expressed to me that they would like to sell to reduce their exposure to that one stock but did not want to pay significant taxes. I knew the client was charitable and they built in a donation to charity as part of their will. So I explained to them that the CRUT would allow them to shelter the tax due from selling the stock, they would get a deduction upfront, and they would receive income for their lifetime.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?

When I started working with the senior advisor at Guardian and he saw my ability to help clients with planning. He started utilizing me to help with advanced planning for all clients. When I first started working with him I focused just on the clients that he did not have the time for any longer.

What three pieces of advice would you give to your colleagues in the finance field to thrive and avoid burnout? Can you give a story or example?

Stay up with current events as everything has an effect on markets and plans.

Keep abreast of the constantly changing tax code, retirement vehicles, and investment ideas.

Work/life balance — — take some time for yourself, such as running..

Ok. Thank you for all of that. Let’s now move to the core focus of our interview. As an “finance insider”, you know much more about the finance industry than most consumers. If your loved one wanted to hire a financial advisor (not you :-)), which 5 things would you advise them to find out about before committing? Can you give an example or story for each?

  1. What type of company does the advisor work for? As I have worked at an insurance agency, a “wire house”, and now an RIA, I understand how different advisors get paid. You want to find an advisor who is agnostic and will recommend solutions and portfolios that are in the best interest of the client — — not what is going to provide the advisor with the biggest commission or bonus.
  2. No single advisor is an expert in all areas of personal finance. I for example am an expert in holistic financial planning but I am not an expert in portfolio management. I could tell a client what type of asset allocation would help them achieve their goals but I am not the one picking the securities. So you want to know what the advisor is an expert in and what areas they lean on teammates. The best situation is a team approach to allow multiple areas of expertise.
  3. What type of portfolios or products does the advisor typically recommend? You want to understand typical recommendations for someone in a similar position as yourself and what are the approximate costs associated with those recommendations. Many advisors that work for insurance companies are going to recommend life insurance with cash value and annuities first and that is not to say that those products are not the right fit for that particular situation but there is no one size fits all, and you want to make sure that the whole picture is taken into consideration before a product is recommended. You want to find someone who does not only sell products but offers traditional investment portfolios as well.

I think most people think that financial advisors are for very wealthy people. This is likely not actually true. Can you explain who would most benefit from hiring a financial advisor and why? Can you give an example?

Anyone looking for help in making important financial decisions would benefit from hiring a financial advisor. This can include saving for a first home, retirement, or education planning.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My father, he worked in finance on Wall Street while I was growing up. He has since started his own fund and is a finance professor. Anytime I have a question or situation that I need to think through he is always there to provide some prospective. He is also why I was able to succeed as a financial planner, before I started my career in this business I already had a good background on basic financial planning from his upbringing.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Maybe encourage people to save more, recognizing that it is impossible to forsee what the future will bring.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

linkedin.com/in/adam-goldberg-cfp®-cpwa®-14a8518

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