KFA Blog

Financial Planning Association's Retreat

By:  Michelle Smalenberger, CFP® - Director of Client Services and Financial Advisor

Recently I attended the Financial Planning Association’s, 2015 Retreat and our first session was art class!  This conference is created to get us thinking about the “art” of what we do…not just the science or technical numbers.  It is unlike any other conference we typically attend every year.

Fred Mandell, previously a Financial Planner, now an artist and author, led our first session.  He had each of us, using a stick of charcoal and eraser, draw a horse.  However, it wasn’t as simple as that.  We were told to draw the horse upside down, causing us to look at something from a different angle.  It is so easy to get stuck looking at things the same way every day, year after year.

Before we all started drawing, he asked the group of around 300 how many considered themselves to be artists.  My husband would vouch for me that I am not an artist in any sense of the word, even if I needed to draw a stick figure.  So when I saw how my horse turned out actually looking like a horse I was pretty excited!

The most interesting feeling I didn’t expect was that I was having fun and it made my mind feel more creative.  I started thinking differently immediately as I was drawing.  Beginning a conference with an open, creative mind allowed me to soak up ideas and bring those back to our business.

Is there a problem or question you have that you need help looking at differently?  We realize the art of your financial plan is just as important as the numbers behind it.  A financial plan can have all the right calculations and make sense, but if you are not willing to implement any of the actions needed it isn’t as good as the paper it’s printed on or screen you view it from.  You have to match the numbers with the actions and plan you desire to see as your final piece of art.

From my experience, when we develop a plan of action to achieve your financial goals/desires, a person will leave with excitement they are moving forward and freedom from any fear or worry they had before they had a plan in place.  

Continue reading
2483 Hits

Everyone's Journey is Different....

By:  Michelle Smalenberger, CFP® - Director of Client Services and Financial Advisor

Given your age or stage in life, do you feel pressure to be at a certain point or be in a specific position?  

Recently, I was leading interviews for a junior advisor we are planning to hire in the near future.  As I was talking with these qualified candidates I remembered myself preparing to graduate from college, with book knowledge in my pocket, but little specific industry experience to offer a company that chose to hire me.  After asking a handful of questions I shared with these candidates that there was not a wrong or right answer I was expecting to hear.  I explained that their answers tell about who they are, their experiences in life, and what they are looking to achieve.  

Every company has an ideal candidate who will compliment their team best, bringing personality traits, experiences, or character qualities that are necessary for that role.  Each company will hire the candidate who fits best.  But that does not make the answers to their interview questions wrong.  I could sense relief after I shared that.

Are you trying to follow in someone else’s path toward your goals or setting out to pave your own?  Remember that your personality, character, and experiences will make your path and goals unique.  Everyone will accomplish their goals in a different way, with a different level needed to obtain “success”, and will reach those goals at different times.  Allow your path to be unique to YOU.  Be YOUrself!

We would enjoy hearing your stories of success or help you set out to reach new goals if you’re in need of some motivation or encouragement!

Continue reading
2433 Hits

Kabarec Financial Advisors, Ltd. Among "Best of Best" Financial Advisors Attending Barron's Top Independent Advisors Summit

Exclusive Conference Hosts Elite Gathering of Nation’s Pre-eminent Financial Advisors and Industry Decision Makers

Michelle Smalenberger, CFP®,Director of Client Services and Financial Advisor at Kabarec Financial Advisors, Ltd., attended the seventh-annual Barron’s Top Independent Advisors Summit, hosted by Barron’s magazine to promote best practices in the industry and the value of advice to the investing public.  The invitation-only conference was held at the Fairmont Princess Hotel March 23 - 25 in Scottsdale, AZ.

Many of the Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors in the U.S., as ranked and published in Barron’s August 23, 2014 issue, were in attendance. This annual ranking is the basis for the Top Independent Advisor’s Summit and the advisors are chosen based on the volume of assets overseen by the advisors and their teams and the quality of the advisors’ practices.  The top 100 Independent Advisors are comprised of Registered Independent Advisors and Advisors from Independent Broker Dealers. A total of 500 elite advisors took part in the event.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to spend a few days with other top professionals from within our industry,” said Smalenberger.  “The chance to network and build relationships with other advisors is unique in that we are all trying to push our profession forward.  Instead of seeing these peers as competitors, we view one another as partners in providing valuable advice to our clients. It was an honor to be invited back for a second year in joining this elite group of Advisors.”

This exclusive conference is designed to promote best practices and generate new ideas across the industry.  Attendees conducted workshops led by the Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors that explored current issues of importance ranging from portfolio construction and management to investing in overseas markets, managing risk, technology applications and client relations.

“Investors today are looking to generate income while protecting their portfolios against downside risk,” said Ed Finn, editor and president of Barron’s. “These top-tier advisors have clients that depend on them to meet critical financial goals for themselves, their families, their businesses or their institutional funds. Advisors will leave this conference better equipped to do just that.”

Smalenberger was one of the 500 financial advisors who were either selected by Barron’s or their affiliated firm to participate in the event.  Associated participating firms included: Advisor Group, Ameriprise Financial Services, Charles Schwab, Commonwealth, Fidelity Investments, Interactive Brokers, LPL Financial Services, Pershing, Raymond James, TD Ameritrade Institutional, and Wells Fargo Financial Network.

For more information about Barron’s conferences, please go to http://conferences.barrons.com


About Kabarec Financial Advisors, Ltd.

Kabarec Financial Advisors, Ltd. is a “fee-only,” full-service financial advisory firm with more than 30 years experience helping clients to achieve their financial goals and objectives.  It provides portfolio management and financial planning services. KFA’s strategic focus is on preserving, protecting, empowering and perpetuating wealth for the benefit of its clients and its clients’ future generations. The principal of the firm previously has been named by Worth, Money Magazine, Bloomberg Investment Management andMedical Economics as one of the country’s best financial advisors.

Consult Kabarec Financial Advisors, Ltd. at 847-934-7777 or www.kabarec.com for all your financial planning and investment needs.

About Barron’s

Barron’s (www.barrons.com) is America’s premier financial magazine, renowned for its market-moving stories. Published by Dow Jones & Company since 1921, it reaches an influential audience of senior corporate decision makers, institutional investors, individual investors and financial professionals. With new content available every week in print and every business day online, Barron’s provides readers with a comprehensive review of the market’s recent activity, coupled with in-depth, sophisticated reports on what’s likely to happen in the market in the days and weeks to come. As a result, Barron’s is the financial information source these powerful people rely on for market information, ideas and insights they can use to increase their professional success and enhance their personal, financial well-being.

The “Barron’s Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors” is a select group of individuals who are screened on a number of different criteria. Among factors the survey takes into consideration are the overall size and success of practices, the quality of service provided to clients, adherence to high standards of industry regulatory compliance, and leadership in “best practices” of wealth management. Portfolio performance is not a factor.

Attendees of the Barron’s Conference were comprised of the independent advisors listed in “Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors”, (August 23, 2014) as well as financial advisors who were chosen by Barron’s or their associated firms. 


Continue reading
2429 Hits

Smalenberger Receives CFP® Status

For Immediate Release

Kabarec Financial Advisors, Ltd.:  Smalenberger Receives CFP® Status at Firm



b2ap3_thumbnail_Photo-Michelle.jpgPalatine, IL, February 3, 2015 – Michelle Smalenberger CFP®, Director of Client Services and Financial Advisor at Kabarec Financial Advisors, Ltd. (KFA) has earned the right to use the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and CFP® certification marks by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board). Ms. Smalenberger has been part of the KFA Team since 2005 and is responsible for preparing and presenting client financial plans, creating and maintaining client accounts, actively involved in client meetings and ongoing communications, as well as oversees the daily office operations.
“It is refreshing to complete the education, examination, ethics, and experience requirements required by the CFP Board,” said Smalenberger.  “Since graduating from the Kansas State University Financial Planning program, I have gained further learning through my experience the past ten years.  There are so many aspects of helping families develop a financial plan that can be implemented to last throughout their future.”
“Michelle has contributed greatly to KFA and our clients over the past several years,” said Michael Kabarec, CFP®, CPA/PFS, principal of Kabarec Financial Advisors, Ltd.  “Earning the CFP® designation proves Michelle’s extensive financial planning background and positions her as a professional with a high level of analytical capabilities.” 
The CFP® marks identify those individuals who have met the rigorous experience and ethical requirements of the CFP Board, have successfully completed financial planning coursework and have passed the CFP® Certification Examination covering the following areas:  the financial planning process, risk management, investments, tax planning and management, retirement and employee benefits, and estate planning.  CFP® professionals also agree to meet ongoing continuing education requirements and to uphold CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional ResponsibilityRules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards.
“It is critical for individuals to know their financial advisor values further education and learning,” Smalenberger said.  “Obtaining the CFP® designation serves as an important milestone to help serve our clients and individuals within our community.  It truly is a privilege to be part of an organization who recognizes professionals, like myself, as an entrusted advisor for individuals.”
About Kabarec Financial Advisors, Ltd.
Kabarec Financial Advisors, Ltd. is a “fee-only,” full-service financial advisory firm with more than 30 years experience helping clients to achieve their financial goals and objectives.  It provides portfolio management and financial planning services. KFA’s strategic focus is on preserving, protecting, empowering and perpetuating wealth for the benefit of its clients and its clients’ future generations. The principal of the firm previously has been named by Worth, Money Magazine, Bloomberg Investment Management and Medical Economics as one of the country’s best financial advisors.
Consult Kabarec Financial Advisors, Ltd. at 847-934-7777 or www.kabarec.com for all your financial planning and investment needs.


Continue reading
2742 Hits

Schwab Impact Conference 2014

By:  Lisa Thuer - Senior Trading and Research Specialist

b2ap3_thumbnail_photo-3.JPGAs the picture says, Empowered! No matter how many times this conference may be attended, there is always something new to learn, something new to see, someone new to meet, etc. It may be the same Mutual fund companies or ETF (Exchange Traded Funds) or new ones trying to gain your business through selling their products. I can never say talking to someone was a waste of my time. Each conversation, whether or not we will use their products or services, was a unique, engaging experience which I will grow upon. It is very enlightening speaking with other individuals and seeing their point of view and how it may pertain to our strategy. 

Pre-Conference sessions opened with Liz Ann Sonders, Chief Investment Strategist, and Greg Valliere, Chief Political Strategist, Potomac Research Group – also known as D.C. Insider. Who better to hear from on the night of the elections with his bipartisan viewpoint. He did predict the outcome of the election for the evening. But did say challenges still remained in Washington. Liz Ann Sonders remains bullish and as always loves to back her views with graphs and charts. So much as to say that year’s ending in “5” tend to be good years. Will 2015 continue this trend? We will have to wait and see.

Breakout educational sessions were attended. Throughout them, I gained deeper insights on International and Emerging Markets along with the ever rising, popular Alternative Investments. Many sessions were market related, but the conference also offered sessions on improving the operations of running our business more efficiently to benefit our clients.

The highlight and keynote speakers which need to be mentioned were Ben Bernake and George W. Bush. Ben Bernake opened and gave us first hand insight on the decisions and what happened and needed to be done to avoid the Financial Crisis. George W. Bush enlightened us with his discussion of the book he is writing about his father, which brought tears to many of us in the audience. He also brought to light what it actually was like for him when the planes hit the Twin Towers. We all see both of these men speak on TV and do not really look at them as real people, rather we see them as people in power. That is true however, they are real people just like you and I. Their speeches and interviews, showed emotion and feelings which are not portrayed on TV. They have to make the best decisions on behalf of the American people. It really did not matter which side of the political party you are on, the two gentlemen open my eyes as to what they really go through being in a position of power.

These are just a few of the many highlights which were touched upon at the Schwab Impact conference. If you would like to discuss any of the above topics in greater detail, please feel free to contact our office at 847-934-7777.


Continue reading
2586 Hits