Financial Advice

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Who's the Right Financial Planner for You?
An Interview with CFS1 Senior Financial Advisor, Mark Spirk

Financial planner

Finding a financial planner can be overwhelming. It’s a big decision, and hopefully one that will help you identify the specific steps you’d need to take to help achieve the financial future you envision. Whether you’re still searching for the right investment professional or you’re already working with someone, we’ve got some tips for you. Consider these pointers from CFS Senior Financial Advisor, Mark Spirk, MBA, to help you choose the right advisor for your financial journey.

What do I need to know about the financial planning process?
Financial planning can be a complex and intimidating process for many people. I think the amount of time I spend educating Members is a real differentiator in my practice. I tend to spend a lot of time up front with Members, educating them about the process involved and discussing how we can reach our planning and implementation decisions. Essentially, I want to provide enough education so that the solutions we choose together not only make sense, but almost become self-evident. I’m happiest when we arrive at that “a-ha” moment together. Over the years, I’ve found that when we take the time to educate Members about the planning process, they tend to value the plan more. Why is that important? In my experience, that confidence (for the process, the plan, and the advisor) increases your chances of a successful long-term relationship. And that often leads to better outcomes.

What should I expect from a first meeting with a prospective advisor?
Think of it as a fact-finding interview for both parties to see if you can create a mutually beneficial, long-term partnership. It starts with a conversation about where you are now and where you want to be throughout the various stages of your life. I ask a lot of questions about things that might not seem related to financial planning on the surface, but your answers help me understand the story of “you.” I believe truly knowing your individual story is a big part of forging a connection that will stand the test of time. And I expect you to ask a lot of questions too. Remember, this is a partnership. So I want to provide guidance that addresses your total financial health.

To find a financial advisor or learn more, contact the CFS Investment team at UFCU at (800) 252-8311 x21085, or you can reach out to Mark Spirk directly at (512) 977-7924.

How do you know when a financial advisor is a good fit?
At the risk of sounding corny or over-simplistic, trust your gut! Of course, things like years of experience, professional designations, and having a clean professional background (free and publicly available) are also important, but think about these broader questions too:

  • Are they easy to talk to and understand?
  • Do they make you feel comfortable?
  • Are they open and adaptable to change?
  • Have they demonstrated integrity so you can feel confident about their recommendations?
  • What do you know about the organization they have chosen to affiliate with?

The right answer to each of these questions can help ensure you’ve made the right choice for you. Changes are inevitable in your life and your portfolio.

Ultimately, you have to have a good feeling about the prospect of forming a long-term partnership with your financial advisor.

Why should someone consider doing their financial planning through CFS at UFCU?
This is my nineteenth year as an advisor, and although many things have changed over the years, one thing that has not changed in this industry is the value of solid, unbiased financial guidance. Everything we do here at UFCU revolves around the well-being of our Members. At its core, UFCU serves a broader purpose that emphasizes concern for people. Our Members really are at the heart of all we do. If you like to shop local and prefer an organization that gives back to the communities it serves, UFCU is a great choice. 

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1 Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. ("CFS"), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. UFCU has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members. CFS does not provide tax or legal advice. For such guidance, please consult a tax and/or legal advisor.

2 Five Star Professional is an independent third party research firm. The five star award is not indicative of an individual's performance. Inclusion on the five start list should not be construed as an endorsement by Five Star Professional or the magazine. Visit for additional details about the Five Star Wealth Manager award