Wyomissing Neighbors Business Profile – Merra Lee Moffit

Merra Lee Moffitt and dog self podcast pictureMerra Lee Moffitt, wealth manager and senior partner of Good Life Financial Group in Wyomissing, grew up in Oley Township, and at an early age she learned the value of money and what it was like being without it. “My family grew up poor, and I decided at seven years old that I was going to be in charge of the money and I was going to have some. Since then, I was always reading everything that I could about money and I always saved 10% of my earnings.”

Merra Lee did not start her career in finance. “I have a computer science and psychology degree from Millersville University and I started as a programmer in the software industry. My husband and I lived in California where I ran my software consulting company with 25 employees and 15 subcontractors. Early on, I wanted to help other women, especially other women business owners, because when I was building my business, no one was there to help me. I always wanted be in finance, but my experience was in software. I quit that to be in the financial field to help other people.”

“We didn’t want our kids to grow up in California. We wanted them to grow up where people have a lot of commonsense like here in Pennsylvania, so we came back to Berks County.” Merra Lee started her financial advisor career in 2002. In 2012 she joined Good Life Financial Group. “With our clients, we typically start with financial planning, which is a written document that takes where you are, how much you spend, where you’re saving, how much you intend to spend at retirement, and where all of your assets are, and we predict how they might grow in the future to figure out if they are going to have enough to retire when they want to, where they want to, in the lifestyle they want to and not run out of money. That service is by itself a product that a client could come in and buy as fee based financial planning that I can do because I’m a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional, and we are an Investment Advisor Representative. Then if the client wants to implement the plan, we need a variety of things; we need a retirement account that could have stocks, bonds, mutual funds and exchange traded funds.” Merra Lee said, “As an independent, we have a multitude of products to choose from. Then to mitigate the risk in life, if a client needs life insurance or long term care insurance to make sure all of the possibilities of the things that can go wrong are covered, we could sell those. We have a huge array of those companies and products available to address most needs.”

“Our clients are from all walks of life. I love working with entrepreneurs. Because I built my own small business from my desk and a phone, I understand a lot of the cash flow issues that small business owners see; the ups and downs they go through, expansions and recessions. They are trying to build a comfortable financial life in the midst of all the changing conditions and also trying to pay the least in taxes and pay themselves. Clients refer me to their family and friends. I’m in my fourteenth year and I have clients that I had since year one.”

Merra Lee has a reputation as a strong networker and hosts open houses at her own office and at other business owner’s locations. “We do six or eight a year, and they are purely for business owners and managers to meet and do real networking.”

Approaching her clients’ needs from the long term is important to Merra Lee. “I’m always being the champion for the 84 year old you. If you’re my client, I’m looking at how we are going to get you to where you want to be. Because in your 80’s, most people can’t work, they don’t want to give up things, they want to have the life style they want and not run out of money when they’re 90. People have to know that you care about them before they will let you take care of them.”

Keeping up on the financial markets, investments and world news takes considerable time. “I read 6 newspapers every day. I also attend seminars and classes to maintain different levels of certification.” Merra Lee said.

We asked Merra Lee what her vision is for the future of her business. “I’m always trying to learn about the new financial products to see if they are useful, to see if new concepts are worthwhile. I generally have a policy that I try not to sell things to people that I wouldn’t own myself. Some things sound like they make a lot of sense, but sometimes they don’t. Every business wants to grow, I want to serve families and do good work and be someone the clients would be happy to refer people to me. It means “sticking to the knitting” and growing organically.”

“I am very fortunate that when I started this business, I did not need to sell and I wasn’t pressured to live off commissions. I was comfortable telling a client that the plan they had was OK, even if that meant I didn’t sell them any investments. I like focusing on the other person. I love helping people and I think of them first. Like I said before, I focus on my clients needs so they will be prepared when they are 84. I want to help them get there.”

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