A cornerstone can refer to that which unites two walls at an intersection or to something that is indispensable. Appropriately, Cornerstone Financial and Cornerstone Tax Group join forces to provide essential services for their many valued clients. It is through the fusion of financial and tax planning that the company distinguishes itself from other wealth management firms and is able to provide a range of unique services.
Cornerstone Financial Group is a locally owned independent firm that specializes in retirement planning for higher-net-worth individuals. Founder Darrell Timberlake, who established the firm in 2002 after returning to his native Gainesville, insisted on having an independent firm where fiduciary responsibility was solely to the client and transparency was key. With no proprietary products or other conflicts of interest such as sales quotas or commission requirements, Cornerstone’s financial advisors can offer a range of products that is broader than that of many of their competitors.
However, the most significant differentiator between Cornerstone Financial Group and other wealth management firms is its sister company, Cornerstone Tax Group. Cornerstone’s clients benefit from having both financial planners and tax professionals working together to ensure that their futures are as financially secure — and as rewarding — as possible.
“Integrating financial with tax planning provides a holistic approach to wealth management,” Timberlake said.
Cornerstone advisor Matthew Barker believes that their clients benefit from participating in conversations with both financial planners and tax professionals at the same time. Together, the financial advisors and tax experts determine how a given situation will affect the client.
“We make sure that every decision affects our clients the right way, tax-wise,” Barker said.
Cornerstone’s clients also have the advantage of working with a group of advisors who have expertise in a variety of financial and tax planning areas, including investment planning, insurance and risk management, and estate and income tax planning, as well as the firm’s specialty in the qualified retirement plan arena.
“We’re independent, but we’re not alone,” Barker said. “Our clients can have the satisfaction of knowing that they’re working with a team versus an individual.”
Senior Vice President and financial advisor, John Cornell, said that the different backgrounds of the financial and tax advisors is a plus.
“The firm’s strength comes from the diversity of our advisors,” he said.
Adding to the firm’s diversity is important to Timberlake and his associates, which is one of the reasons that Cornerstone continues to expand. Two years ago, it acquired Chandler Jones, CPA, with the intent to purchase several other similar firms that have aging partners who want to retire and whose clients are also in the same situation. This allows for a seamless transition between firms and provides a necessary service for clients who are planning their retirements.
Having both a financial planning division and a tax planning division leads to synergy come tax time, Timberlake said. All the advisors come together and determine how a given situation will affect the client.
Jeff Lamb, who is the head of tax solutions at Cornerstone Tax Group, regularly sees the benefits of this union.
“I see financial opportunities in tax returns,” Lamb said. “I am able to engage the conversation and discuss the opportunities, and the clients welcome it.”
In addition, the financial and tax advisors at Cornerstone are able to validate each other’s recommendations and decisions when working with clients.
“I require the financial planners to recognize issues that a lot of financial planners don’t,” Lamb said.
This is especially essential when planning a client’s retirement.
“Tax is the biggest expense of a retirement plan,” Lamb said.
Barker agreed, saying that the same is true the other way around. It is this mutual accountability and thorough knowledge of both financial planning and tax strategies that make Cornerstone a strong, indispensable foundation for hundreds of satisfied clients.
Overview of Services
- Retirement Planning
- Employee Benefits – 401k, 403b, 457
- Alternative Income Strategies
- Estate & Tax Planning
- Corporate Tax Returns
For more information, please visit www.cornerstone-fg.com or call 352-378-7456. Securities offered through J.W. Cole Financial, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC Advisory services offered through J.W. Cole Advisors, Inc. Cornerstone Financial Group and Cornerstone Tax Group and JWC/JWCA are unaffiliated entities.