Juan Ros, CFP®, AEP®, CEPA®, CVGA® has been named a partner for Forum Financial Management, parent company of the Wealth Advisor Alliance. He joined Forum as a financial advisor in late 2018. In the following Q&A, Juan shares his perspective on financial planning, charitable giving and building relationships.

1. What is it about Forum that inspired you to join the Forum partner group?

I believe in Forum’s mission, and I want to play a role in the firm’s future. I have developed strong relationships with many of the existing Forum partners, good people who want the best for the firm and for their clients. Since first joining Forum, I felt I had something valuable I could contribute to the partner group and the entire organization.

2. How has discovering your “why” changed how you view your role as a financial advisor?

Throughout my working life, building relationships with others — which is a key component of my personal “why” — has been a common theme in my various careers. As an advisor, being able to provide advice and planning about someone’s finances is foundational — that’s the easy part. Being an effective communicator and an active, empathetic listener are, to me, just as important if not more so than technical knowledge. Those are skills that not every advisor has mastered. I am fortunate that my work prior to being an advisor afforded me with ample opportunities to hone and refine my communication skills such that now as an advisor I am able to embody my “why” in the way I build relationships with clients.

3. How has your commitment to numerous charitable and estate planning organizations shaped your perspective on financial planning?

Financial planning is a team sport. It’s not something that can be done effectively in a vacuum. Financial advisors are like the general practitioners who need the help of specialists in tax, legal and insurance to come up with the optimum plan for a client, based on the client’s most important goals and in alignment with the client’s most deeply held values. My participation in various professional organizations has enabled me to develop relationships with other professionals whom I trust and to whom I can refer clients. I also have respect and admiration for the charitable professionals who work for nonprofit organizations, as they are often the first contact that a client makes to inquire about making a charitable gift. Nonprofit charitable gift planners deserve a seat at the table along with the estate attorney, CPA and financial advisor in devising a plan that is best suited for a client.

4. You advise people to think creatively about their charitable giving. What do people realize after they implement a charitable giving plan within a comprehensive financial plan? 

Clients sometimes don’t realize just how much they can give away without impacting their own financial security! For example, several charitable strategies provide a benefit, such as an income stream, which can be a pleasant surprise for clients. For a lot of clients, the realization comes before implementation, when the light bulb comes on and they understand exactly how a charitable strategy can help solve a specific financial challenge, such as diversifying a concentrated stock position or avoiding tax on the sale of real estate investment property. Of course, when a charitable plan comes together, clients experience satisfaction and joy in their giving. As the advisor, you feel a similar sense of happiness having facilitated someone else’s generosity.

5. Why is it essential for people to have a financial plan?

That’s like asking why it’s essential to have directions to a destination where you want to arrive. Without your trusty GPS to tell you how to get to your destination, you might take a long detour or perhaps never even arrive! We all have varying goals, desires and intentions — when to retire, how much to leave to the next generation, how large a house to buy, how to reduce tax burdens, whom to appoint to make decisions for us when we no longer can. Because we are all human and have emotions, it can be valuable to have an objective third party advising in a non-emotional manner so that we can make the best decisions. A financial plan is all about having direction: making smart decisions about money so that goals — short term and long term — can be reached.

6. Since your move to Arizona, what is the method to your madness when it comes to maintaining a consistent presence in both California and Arizona?

I promised my California clients that nothing would change for them, and I am keeping that commitment. It’s a short flight from Phoenix to Burbank, and I can meet with my clients who prefer an in-person meeting during monthly trips back to California. For clients with whom I meet over Zoom, I painted my background wall in my new home office the same color as the wall in my former California home office! When I am in California, I also make a point of scheduling time over coffee, lunch or drinks with my key professional advisor relationships. In Arizona, I am networking to meet local service professionals and have joined several organizations to begin building relationships here. With technology today, geography is not as critical as it once was but nothing can replace building a relationship in person. No matter which state I happen to be in at any given time, I place a high priority on that human connection whether with clients or professionals and then let the technology assist in strengthening those relationships.


We help advisors establish and grow successful wealth management practices. To learn more about how we can help you amplify your life’s work, contact us at team@waalliance.com. You can follow us on Twitter@theWAAlliance and on LinkedIn.

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