We had the good fortune of connecting with Tanner Bortnem, JD, CFP® and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tanner, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Dependability. There are a lot of other factors that I believe sets Harmoney Wealth apart from most firms in the financial industry, but everything that goes into our expertise, planning, ideas, meetings, and research do not carry much weight if the follow-through isn’t there. A lot of times financial planners enjoy the thrill of the chase, but after the chase is over and the work starts the sense of fun is lost and the follow through drops significantly. It’s at these moments when we push through and deliver the quality of work that clients expect and deserve. We regularly get feedback from clients expressing their appreciation for our dependability, and they refer their friends and family members because of it. As of this writing, Harmoney Wealth is extremely proud to have retained 100% of the clients that have started a relationship with us. I sincerely believe that Harmoney Wealth’s success is rooted in our steadfast dependability.
What should our readers know about your business?
I set out to create a firm that approached financial planning in a unique and better way. A firm that provides a high level of expertise. A firm that holds itself to a higher standard than the minimum requirements. One that always put the client’s interest first, and never accepts a commission. And a firm that truly understands the “financial personality” of each client. We bring harmony to client’s personality and financial life. “Harmony” is the inspiration behind the firm’s name — Harmoney Wealth, PLLC. I’ve had the opportunity to work at a couple different financial institutions prior to founding Harmoney Wealth, and I just grew frustrated with the financial industry as a whole. Almost every financial company or financial professional I’ve come across will say they “put the client first”, or have “superior expertise”, or “completely understand the client’s interests.” Yet time and time again, I meet with people who didn’t have their interests put first, were advised by someone who said they understood the rules but didn’t, or who felt that their voice was never being heard by their advisor. I kept asking myself, “how can all advisors claim to be doing these things, yet I keep meeting so many people that aren’t getting the service and expertise promised?” Finally, I realized there is a difference in saying you do something, and actually doing it. You need to make it a requirement rather than just a goal. Goals are things we strive for and hope to achieve. Requirements are the minimum standard we hold ourselves to. In December of 2019, I finally hit my breaking point where I knew I had to start my own firm so that I could ensure my clients will receive an expert level of financial planning that always puts their interests first. The difference between Harmoney Wealth and most other financial planning firms is that we combine: expertise, integrity, and understanding. Some firms may have none or one, others have two, but very few have all three components. Also, for us these components are not goals we are hoping to accomplish, but rather standards that set the absolute minimum services we will provide to each client. Starting with expertise, any senior financial planner is required to be a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, which is one of the highest designations demonstrating a much higher level of expertise than the minimum requirements of the industry. I also received my Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Nebraska College of Law with emphasis in Wealth Management Law and Business & Estate Planning Law. This combination of expertise shows clients that we not only understand the basics, but truly understand the ins and outs of the laws, taxes, and planning strategies to create better financial plans for them. My personal motto is: “With proper planning and preparation, there is opportunity in every situation.” Next with integrity, Harmoney Wealth is a fiduciary. A fiduciary is someone that is required by law to put the client’s interest ahead of their own. To accomplish this, Harmoney Wealth is set up as a “Fee-Only” firm. This means our clients pay a fee for our advice, and we never receive a commission. Commissions are a conflict of interest because different investments pay different commission amounts, so there are conflicts between choosing what is best for the client versus what pays the advisor the most money. I want to ensure that no Harmoney Wealth advisor will ever be in that situation, which is why I chose to set Harmoney Wealth up as “Fee-Only.” Since we receive a fee for our advice, there is no conflict because the fee is the same whether we recommend option A or option B. I have ensured that we have eliminated the conflict of interest, and can focus on making sure every decision is in the client’s best interest. There are starting to be more “Fee-Only” firms out there, but majority of firms still receive commissions. Last, in terms of understanding, I have each client take a financial personality test. Everyone has their own, unique personal view towards money, investing, planning, etc., that has been developed through their childhood, formative years and other life experiences. To truly be able to create a financial plan, I believe we must first know a client’s story or what we at Harmoney Wealth call your “why.” We don’t just ask surface level questions. Instead, we ask very targeted, thought provoking questions along with giving the financial personality test. Through this deep dive into each client’s life, I believe we have a very in depth analysis of their particular personality, situation, ideologies, and goals. Once we know our client’s “why,” we are in a much better position to take that information and add it to our expertise to create a custom tailored financial plan. At the end of the day, we all want to enjoy own version of retirement, whatever that looks like, and to accomplish that we must have a detailed plan on how to achieve those goals. I believe these three components are the absolute minimum that every person deserves from their financial advisor. For anyone looking for a financial advisor, or not receiving the three components from your current advisor, I highly recommend ensuring your next advisor checks off all three components: expertise, integrity (“Fee-Only” firm), and understanding.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a big sports fan and currently live downtown with my fiancé, Katie, so definitely check out the Suns or Diamondbacks depending on time of year. Also if it is in the fall heading out to watch the Cardinals. I’ve never been to the Coyotes, but want to get out there sometime this season or next. I am also an avid golfer and my favorite course in central phoenix is Legacy. Others that are great but a little further out from city center are: Grayhawk, Troon North, Gold Canyon, We-Ko-Pa and the TPC courses. We also enjoy camping, hiking or walking, and there are many places to go for that. The iconic Camelback or Flat Irons, or heading down to South Mountain is close to downtown. We also enjoy walking around the Japanese Friendship Gardens, Encanto Park or going camping on the Moggollon Rim with our dog Sadie. As for places to eat we love Blanco, The Arrogant Butcher, La Madeleine and Thai Basil (downtown), True Food (Biltmore or Kierland), Nino’s Greek Cafe and The Wild Thaiger (Midtown). And for places to grab a drink we really enjoy Pigtails (speakeasy downtown), Bitter & Twisted and Little Rituals (cocktails downtown), Floor 13 (rooftop bar downtown), and Undertow (Biltmore). And if all that doesn’t fill in enough time, there is always the ability to just relax and enjoy the sun next to the pool to fill any remaining time.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
To start, I need to give thanks to my family. To my parents who instilled a hard work ethic, integrity, and an entrepreneurial spirit in me from a young age. To my sister and brother-in-law who have always been there to support me and encourage me to continue following my dreams even when it goes against the mainstream financial industry. And last, to my fiancé, Katie, who has been there with me every day since we first started discussing the issues I was seeing in the financial industry, to the decision to take the leap of faith and quit my job in order to start Harmoney Wealth, and every day since as Harmoney Wealth has grown to what it is today. I would not be where I am today without all of their love, support, guidance and encouragement throughout the years. And last to my mentor, Doug Deitchler. Doug is a retired attorney that I had the good fortune to be mentored by my first two years after law school. Doug was one of the finest estate planning attorneys in the midwest, and he achieved that through his integrity, hard work, dedication to his craft, and his desire to make a difference in people’s lives. When I was working with Doug, his hobby was wood carving, and when I decided to move to Arizona he gave me a couple carvings that state, “Know the right thing, do the right thing,” and “Be a voice, not an echo.” I have them both in my office to this day and strive to achieve those two things, each day for my clients.
Other: Quarterly guest host of: Arizona Real Talk podcast – https://podcasts.apple.com/cz/podcast/arizona-real-talk/id1459131703
Rachel Elaine Photography