FA Magazine May 2023 | Page 50


Michael P . Hartman

Founder / Hyperion Financial / Shillington , Pa .

Michael Hartman , the founder of Hyperion , had spent more than a decade in financial services at big firms . Then he decided he ’ d rather serve clients his own way .

“ When you ’ re part of a large organization , there ’ s generally some limitations on what you can do , whom you can serve , what you can charge ,” he says . “ I just wanted to break free from all of that and create something that allowed me to avoid some of those limiting factors .”
In May 2021 he launched Hyperion Financial , a firm specializing in pre-retirees . Hartman , 35 , says he and his two partners ( who are also in their 30s ) particularly like addressing the needs of their generation . “ Regardless of what [ the clients ] have in assets or income , whatever their situation may be , we try to find a way to serve them ,” he says .
“ We are not big suit people ,” he says . “ We take more of a jeansand-polos kind of approach .” The firm has no minimum for clients ’ investable assets . Instead , it charges a flat fee .
Hartman , a graduate of Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania , says he was always good with numbers but never saw himself going into financial planning until his junior year of college — 2008 , the year of the financial crisis . He ended up assisting an advisor that his mother knew , which he says was “ a great experience . It really opened my eyes to what we do as advisors . From there , I was hooked .”
Hartman also saw the difference a financial plan can make after both his father and father-in-law died . His family had a plan for his widowed mother , but his wife ’ s family did not . “ That was a huge motivator for me to help clients secure their futures ,” he says . “ I ’ ve become super passionate about it .”
For the future , Hartman is optimistic . “ You ’ re seeing a wave of bright minds getting into the industry and working with lots of different niches ,” he says . Artificial intelligence and robo-advisors may be useful tools for automating certain tasks , he concedes , but clients want to work with a human being . “ At the end of the day , this is a relationship business .”

Zach Ashburn

President / Reach Strategic Wealth / Winston-Salem , N . C .

When Zach Ashburn first stepped on the path of specialization , he took a deep dive into his motivations and his need to pursue entrepreneurship . He realized his clients would look a lot like him .

“ Their story is my own story ,” says the 32-year-old founder of Reach Strategic Wealth . “ I arrived here through the process of drawing increasingly smaller circles around the business .”
“ Here ” is his tightly focused financial planning firm , founded in 2019 , that serves the needs of entrepreneurs who have left a successful corporate job to do their own thing — and control their own time — as consultants .
“ It ’ s all about the value of time ,” he says . He adds that he didn ’ t know exactly how important owning his time would be when he first considered going solo , but it soon became evident . “ My wife and I became foster parents about six months before I launched Reach . We went from no kids to three kids . If I were also having to clock in nine-to-five somewhere , I could never have managed it .”
Everything Ashburn does supports this focus , which means other kinds of clients , including mid-career W-2 professionals with assets , probably won ’ t find what they ’ re looking for at Reach . His process revolves around an annual calendar , with the needs of an entrepreneur at its center .
At the beginning of the year , Ashburn makes client cash-flow projections and ensures all tax moves from the previous year are wrapped . He also times estimated tax payments and important budget items . In the spring , he meets with clients for financial plan updates to ensure that savings and portfolio performance are on track . In the summer , Ashburn reviews client tax returns . And they meet with him once more in the fall to complete any final tax-efficient strategies , as well as to review insurance and estate needs on alternating years . On the investment side , Ashburn manages tax-efficient ETFs in-house .
Ashburn charges a fee for service , which he says works best when planning is at the forefront of the relationship . He currently has roughly 30 clients and expects to grow to around 60 .