We asked Mascoma Wealth Management’s newest Portfolio Manager to answer a few questions about her investment philosophy and why it’s a good time to be in Burlington, VT.
Welcome to the Mascoma Wealth Management team. What are you most excited in this new role?
There’s a big opportunity in the Burlington area to work with younger clients. A lot of people think “wealth management” means you have to already be rich. But we work with younger people to answer their questions about all their financial needs, from opening their first IRA or rolling over an old 401(k) to investing for the long-term. It’s very rewarding to help people get their financial lives under control so that they can focus on their work, families, and community.
ESG investing seems to be something that a lot of people are talking about. What is it and who is it for?
Environmental, Social, and Governance investing is for everyone who wants to align their values with their investment choices. It used to be a niche, an investment strategy where one would need to sacrifice returns. Happily, that is no longer the case. Last year, some ESG portfolios outperformed traditional portfolios. We have a variety of funds we can offer to our clients in the ESG space that include broad funds that have been screened to exclude companies that are active in certain industries like tobacco and weapons, and more targeted funds that focus on investing in specific sectors, such as clean water or renewable energy. Investing in a more sustainable manner is not a trend; it’s a very legitimate strategy because more and more companies are focused on their ESG policies and procedures, which makes them more resilient because they have fewer risks in some areas. A clean energy company doesn’t need to worry about oil spills, for example.
Why Mascoma Wealth Management in Burlington?
We are the exception in that we are not commissioned financial advisors. All of the Mascoma Wealth Management team are salaried employees, which allows us certain freedoms that commission-based advisors do not have. Sometimes, we say “it’s not the right moment for you to work with us,” which is very unusual in the field! In a word, it allows us to be honest. We have no minimum balance requirements and no minimum fees, so you can open up your very first IRA account with a few thousand dollars and begin a long-term relationship that will allow your finances to grow strategically based on your life philosophy and choices. It’s very liberating for both the professional advisor and the client to know that we can work together without that artificial commission pressure.
You worked on the retail side of Mascoma Bank before joining MWM. What are the advantages of that experience?
I can look at the full picture of all the accounts the client has and be able to advise on when and where they should be directing their funds. We are proud to be a one-stop shop for everything because we can connect clients with the right products and services for their needs, which most clients find to be a huge relief.