“Williamsburg Financial Group is an independent wealth management firm, serving premier clientele with $1 million plus in financial assets,” says Steve Kennedy, investment strategist. “I have been with Williamsburg Financial Group for three months, but have 37 years in the industry, having worked in Buffalo, to the Army, to a Wall Street internship program.”
With just three people in the Newport News office of Williamsburg Financial Group, a tight-knit work environment is essential. In addition to Kennedy, there is Elizabeth (Liz) Ware, who is a licensed credentialed wealth advisor with Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) designations, as well as Patti Cusano, administrative assistant. Williamsburg Financial Group has been operating for 15 years and opened a Newport News branch to expand its reach.
“We specialize in innovative investment strategies with local decision-making, as well as long-term care and life insurance planning,” Kennedy says. “There is a major paradigm shift of experienced financial advisors migrating away from large Wall Street firms and banks to become independent. Our experience is that relationships still matter, clients want to see their wealth advisors with whom they’ve had long-term personal relationships.”
Williamsburg Financial Group team prides themselves on its family legacy-planning work with clients. This planning revolves around helping families figure out what will be done with a loved one’s assets and allows families to plan and be prepared. Kennedy and his team also find pride in being able to meet face-to-face with clients and help best address their needs. “We manage clients’ capital right from this office. Our Behavioral Finance work is second to none,” Kennedy says. “All the new ground-breaking work in our industry is about investor psychology and ‘what or how is money important to you.’ I’ve been a self-proclaimed part-time psychologist for decades.”
Asked about his favorite part of his job, Kennedy reflected on the knowledge that many people believe in stereotypes which are not true, and seeing people break the mold is fascinating and inspiring. “Learning about how ‘intuitively successful’ people have thrived and created their wealth is my favorite part about the job. Most impressions and stereotypes are ill-conceived and inaccurate,” Kennedy says.
And when it comes to tips for folks who may not know where to start when it comes to saving or financial planning, Kennedy had several ideas. “Start young, automate savings and hang around self-made multimillionaires.”
Williamsburg Financial Group also makes sure to go out of its way to be involved with the community. “We need to update trite phrases like ‘giving back’ to one’s community, because ‘giving back’ implies that you took something first. We’ve observed over the decades that intuitively successful people often have ‘giving’ as an innate part of their family and business life, especially before they earned their wealth or became successful,” Kennedy says.
“A small sample of charitable causes we supported just this past year with our time, talent and treasure are the Conserve York County Foundation, the Maasai American Organization, the Boys & Girls Club of the Virginia Peninsula, THRIVE-Peninsula where Liz teaches one-on-one, PORT, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School and its annual auction, Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia, CHKD, Army War College Foundation, Army Emergency Relief, Wounded Warrior Project, Folds of Honor, Alzheimer’s Association and Center for Independent Thought,” Kennedy says.
When Kennedy isn’t busy helping clients plan for the future or spending time in the community, he enjoys checking out the local food, wine and music scene, while Ware and her husband co-own the Gloucester Brewing Company and spend time there.
Kennedy and his team focus on helping clients prepare for the future, in hopes of making financial decisions less daunting when the needs arise.
TO THE POINT:
Williamsburg Financial Group
Address: 107 Nat Turner Blvd., Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Steven Kennedy
Business: Financial services