The Extra Mile

Scott C. Little, Vice President, Berkshire Money Management
Scott C. Little, Vice President

I really do know my clients.

Last Thanksgiving, a client emailed me, asking to transfer funds to another account of hers—electronically. But we can’t do that by email. So, I let her know I’d need to call her. We verify some personal information, but she’s in some kind of train or subway station and it’s too loud. She says she’ll call me back. But something in her voice sounded “off” to me. So, when I hang up—I call her work number. And she’s there. It wasn’t her. I explain that someone has her information is trying to get into her accounts—walk her through who to call and what to do to protect herself, right now. And then, I wait to see if the other woman will call me back—as she said she would.

She does. And caller ID not only shows my client’s cell phone number—but somehow, she gives me all the information needed to make an electronic transfer—and more. Enough in fact, that someone at a large financial firm could have easily, and legitimately, transferred her money. But, because I knew her well enough to recognize her voice, it didn’t work.

Zack Marcotte, Financial Advisor, Berkshire Money Management
Zack Marcotte, Financial Advisor

Trust me, I do this every day.

A client told me he had recently changed jobs and asked if I would roll over his 401(k)—into an existing Roth account. I asked if he knew whether his original 401(k) had been a traditional, or a Roth. Was he sure? I really encouraged him to call his 401(k) company and verify it first. I suspected it was most likely a traditional 401(k)—which would have rather large tax ramifications for him. Wouldn’t you know it? He called me—on my day off—to let me know that it had indeed been a traditional 401(k). I came into work that day and opened a traditional IRA for him. It was worth an afternoon of vacation time to be able to help him.

Bill Schmick, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, Berkshire Money Management
Bill Schmick, Managing Director and Portfolio Manager

That’s why it’s called customer care.

A family client of mine, led by an 82-year-old widow and grandmother, gave me an opportunity to really reach out beyond just business. Over time, I grew to know the family and this lady rather well and had come to appreciate our conversations. As her health had been failing, we’d naturally talked about her financial situation and her plans for the future, but I also checked in regularly—just to catch up. Over time, she became housebound with limited mobility, under 24-hour nursing care.

One day, she mentioned that being cooped up all day wasn’t so bad, but she did miss playing her opera and classical music DVDs. She said she could no longer manage loading or pressing the buttons by herself. When I hung up the phone, I ordered ALEXA. Then I called her daughter, knowing that her husband (a computer guy) would be able to hook it up in his mother-law’s room. It was a small gesture, but it meant a lot to me to be able to do this.

Peter Coughlin, Executive Director, Berkshire Money Management
Peter Coughlin, Executive Director

Dreams can come true.

Two of our clients, a husband and wife on the West Coast, are successful entrepreneurs raising three beautiful children. Their oldest child is a freshman in high school and an elite athlete, travelling the United States and Canada playing hockey. During a portfolio review at their kitchen table, they told me that their son’s dream is to play Division I hockey in college. They asked me, “How do we do this?” and I told them to give me a week. “I think I can help,” I said.

I did some research and made some calls. One family that I spoke with recommended a firm that specializes in connecting student-athletes with the right colleges. I called the firm and after speaking with them, I was confident that they could help my client. This firm would identify colleges, email the coaches, create a professionally edited video, prepare the student for the SAT, and have a personal coach for the entire recruiting journey. I then went and discussed this with our owner, Allen Harris, and told him that it would cost $3,000. Allen said Berkshire Money Management would pay the entire bill.

Nate Tomkiewicz, Financial Advisor, Berkshire Money Management
Nate Tomkiewicz, Financial Advisor

Being an advisor is about more than finance.

An older client recently purchased a new computer and with it came a new printer. The problem was that she couldn’t get it to work. She gave us a call and told us of her troubles. Her main challenge was connecting her computer to her printer. Word that she was having technical difficulties reached my desk, so I gave her a call and offered to help.

We scheduled a time to meet at her home to assess the problem.

As it turns out, she had purchased a wireless printer that required a great deal more than simply plugging wires into the right places. At first, I was a little intimidated by the process. It was the first time I had ever installed a printer, but I pride myself on my ability to problem-solve, so I rolled up my sleeves.

After about thirty minutes, the computer and printer were successfully connected. Installing printers isn’t in my job description. But helping people and taking a real interest in their lives is!