Of all the investments Greg Galecki has made on behalf of his clients, one stands far above all others: the investment he has made in people. Since founding Galecki Financial Management in 1990, Galecki has unwaveringly kept the focus of his firm on the people it serves as well as the people who serve them.
“When we’re talking about the financial welfare of the client, it comes down to finding an advisor you can trust,” says Galecki. Both sides of the equation are equally important, which is why, he explains, “We don’t have customers; we have clients. We build relationships.”
Galecki Financial Management is a Fee-Only financial planning firm serving clients in Fort Wayne and the surrounding area. Seventeen employees serve 350 clients and manage more than $600 million in assets. They guide their clients using data-driven analyses that uses modeling, historical perspective and empirical evidence. Their service areas include broad-based financial planning, tax planning, portfolio management, divorce/life transition planning, retirement planning and estate planning.
Because the company earns revenue only from client fees rather than commissions, Galecki advisors deliver unbiased advice and recommendations. There is no incentive to sell a financial product. Galecki serves as a fiduciary to its clients, ensuring the client’s needs always come first.
“Others use financial planning as a means to sell products,” says Galecki. “What we sell is time and knowledge. Our focus is on our clients’ financial well-being and peace of mind.”
A true focus on people also means the people inside the company deserve as much attention as the clients they support. Building a diverse, passionate team able to understand and address a wide range of clients and goals has been an essential piece of the Galecki strategy.
“While we have seven advisors providing a similar service,” says Melanie Colwell, owner/principal, “we have seven distinct personalities and backgrounds.”
Galecki adds, “The chemistry is important. We’ve built our team carefully with a variety of life experiences, gender, and age so that you’ll find someone you can talk to.”
The formula, according to Galecki, starts with recognizing talent to bring to the company. From there, it is important to invest in mentoring while giving employees the constant training, tools, and autonomy they need to be successful. Everyone has to be client-centric, dedicated to objectivity rather than making a sales pitch.
“We’ve built a team that shares a passion,” he continues. “Every advisor who is here is someone I’ve known for years and was impressed with. We all operate on the principle of ‘the more you give, the more you receive.’”
All of Galecki Financial Management’s advisors carry the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) credentials and each is committed to the openness and transparency necessary to build lasting relationships. Galecki is particularly proud that all seven advisors, some of whom joined the company in entry level positions, are also shareholders in the company.
“You can hire an employee,” says Galecki, “but you can’t hire a shareholder.”
This means more to Galecki than it ever has; earlier this year, he announced he will retire at the end of 2021. He is confident he is leaving the company in a position to thrive for many years to come. More importantly, however, he knows that his clients will not see any interruption in the service they deserve.
“Often people will work with an advisor, and then when that advisor leaves the business the client is left looking for a new advisor,” explains Galecki. “It was very important to me to build a firm that would outlive me. Our clients will be served for years to come. We have two shareholders who just turned 50, two just over 40, and two in their 30s. We’ve got a lot of longevity.”
A.T. Kohout, owner/principal shares that confidence.
“This transition has been underway for more than five years,” says Kohout. “Greg will be a phone call away, but he has it set-up that we won’t need to make that call.”
“If you do the right thing, you’re going to grow,” explains Kohout. “Focus on people inside and out. Build an infrastructure of staff and software so you can support clients and focus on them.”
Colwell agrees. “We’re going to continue to build on the foundation Greg has put in place,” she says. “This team is visionary. They embrace change and are ready to move forward.”
Although Galecki will miss the daily activity of his firm, he is proud to have managed this transition for his company with the same foresight and care he has always offered his clients. Above all, he will miss his people: both clients and staff.
“To be trusted to be my clients’ advisor has been the ultimate privilege,” says Galecki.
Owner(s): Greg Galecki, CFP®; Albert (A.T.) Kohout, CFP®, MBA; Brady McArdle, CFP®; Melanie Colwell, CFP®; Chloe Blythe, CFP®; Andrew (Andy) Young, CPA/PFS, CFP®; Kevin Chandler, CFP®
Address: 7743 W. Jefferson Blvd. Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804
Phone: (260) 436-8525
Years in Business: 31
Number of Employees: 17
Products & Services: Galecki’s experienced team specializes in comprehensive financial planning, cash flow analysis, IRA rollovers, financial services, portfolio management, estate planning, retirement planning and advising to help clients reach their financial goals. They provide services on a Fee-Only basis, rather than earning commissions