Just a Minute wtih with Jeff Kowal, President, Kowal Investment Group LLC/AIG Financial Advisors Inc.

Company address: N16 W24132 Prairie Court, Suite 200, Waukesha, WI  53188

Company Web site: www.kowalinvestmentgroup.com

Industry: Retirement specialists

Number of employees: 14

Education:  B.A., Cornell College; professional designations include Chartered Financial Consultant and Chartered Life Underwriter through The American College, Bryn Mawr, Pa.

Family: Wife, Jane; son, Aaron, a financial advisor with the company; and son, Adam, a mechanical engineer with Honeywell in Phoenix.

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“We added experienced, knowledgeable financial advisors and additional staff. These new team members understand the importance of developing individual plans to meet and, we hope, exceed our clients’ goals, concentrating on financial well-being for life after work.”

What’s new at your company?

“Our location. We moved from Elm Grove to our new Pewaukee location last summer. The new offices allow us to reorganize and update our facilities, increase our efficiency, and are easier to access from the freeway for our clients’ convenience.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“We plan to add additional staff, along with possibly buying other advisors’ practices and adding a financial advisor in the coming year. Our goal is to be able to extend our services to more people in the area and adding new, experienced staff members will help us to do so. We also are investing in a new, state-of-the-art electronic file storage system this year with efficiency being a major goal as well.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“In our industry, it’s important that we keep up with the changes required by the various regulatory bodies that govern people’s retirement plans and other financial investments that will impact our clients. We have a dedicated compliance officer who keeps on top of changes in regulations from outside bodies as well as our affiliate,  AIG Financial Advisors. She makes sure all of us keep apprised of changes in tax laws, plus mandates from FINRA, SIPC and the SEC. Equally challenging in the coming years will be the onset of the baby boomer retirements. People are living longer, and that huge group of children born after World War II is getting older. We’re in better overall physical shape than any previous generation reaching retirement, and we’re expected to live longer. So, it’s important for us, as retirement specialists, to guide people in a direction that will make their resources last throughout their retirement years and help them to live that long life in a style they desire, plus leave something for their offspring. We’re also working to expand our operation into the Phoenix, Ariz., market, where our son, Adam, lives.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“Many people believe they don’t need the help of a professional to plan for retirement. Everyone needs guidance from time to time, and it’s important to find an experienced professional you trust to help you reach your goals. All financial advisors are not retirement planning specialists and may not look at the situation the same way. We worry about those ‘wannabes,’ both advisors and individuals.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“We’re known as THE retirement specialists, and we give free retirement clinics, both on the radio and several times a year in person at locations around the Milwaukee and Phoenix areas. Retirement planning is our main business, and we’ve been doing just that for over 30 years.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“I was fortunate to know and learn from a Brookfield man named John Woodin. Today, he’s over 80 years old and still goes to the office almost every day. He’s also one of the most caring gentlemen I’ve ever known.”

What was the best advice you ever received?

“Someone once passed on an anonymous quote to me: ‘A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important to a child.'”

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