CPA | Partner
GET TO KNOW MARIE
Q: Is there one question investors should ask their financial advisor?
A: I think it is important to ask this question: “What does our relationship mean to you?” They should know whether they are more than just a number to their advisor. To be successful, a financial advisor needs to get to know their clients and build rapport and trust. The answer they receive can help them understand if their financial advisor is interested in spending the time to develop rapport and if the relationship is a good fit.
Q: What led you to become a financial advisor?
A: I started my career as a CPA with a small firm in Cohoes, New York. For years, we advised clients on financial plans that addressed their goals while maintaining tax efficiency. The problem was that we were not the ones implementing the plans, and the results were too often not in the clients’ best interest. When we added financial services to our accounting practice in 1999, I believe this was the single best decision we have made by giving us the opportunity to foster generational relationships and to partner with our clients to build their family’s wealth.
Q: How do you choose to approach tax season?
A: When most people think of tax season, they only see an extremely busy time when countless tax returns are produced, almost as if returns were a commodity. We look forward to the spring because it is another opportunity to catch up with clients and reconfirm what is most important to them. There is also the possibility of discovering something completely unrelated to taxes — to chat about the newest addition to their family, an upcoming job change or the chance to assuage their fears about a difficult decision.
Q: With so much focus on retirement, how does estate planning fit in?
A: Too often, estate planning is overlooked and seen as something that is not needed. People tend to focus on retirement planning and neglect to understand the importance of proper estate planning and how it ties into their overall financial plan. I find it works well to address this issue regularly as needs change throughout a client’s lifetime. It is important to consider what you want to happen with your wealth, who you want to benefit and to ensure proper tax planning is in place to preserve what you have accumulated.
Building Lasting Relationships
I enjoy the opportunity to develop deep relationships with clients— to understand who they are and truly partner with them to ensure that their short- and long-term goals fit into their overall financial plan. Utilizing my experience in tax and accounting to help clients not only develop, but also implement, a comprehensive financial plan with a focus on tax efficiency is genuinely rewarding. Cultivating that deep relationship is fundamental to our practice as I work alongside my husband and daughter. Having the ability to share ideas and collaborate without reservation creates an atmosphere centered on listening and trust.
For more than 30 years, Marie Stark, CPA has enjoyed working with her clients to develop tax conscious strategies to address their unique situations. She believes that taking the time to get to know her clients and understanding their particular needs, wants, fears and goals is the key to achieving the best financial outcome. She focuses on building these relationships across generations and enjoys working with her clients’ children as they transition from college into the workforce, helping them develop budgets and investment planning strategies. She joined Forum Financial Management in 2016. Marie is also the president of Stark & Basila Certified Public Accountants, P.C.
Marie is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. Throughout her career, she has been actively involved in her community, having served on several boards and committees. She has also been involved in many professional organizations including Executive Network, Executive Women’s Golf Association, Colonie Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Council and Capital Region Executives. Marie is a Certified Public Accountant. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Siena College in Loudonville, New York. In her free time, Marie enjoys running, golfing, skiing, snowshoeing, long walks on the beach in Maine and relaxing with a good book. She cherishes time with family and close friends, especially her husband, Jeff, and their three children, Michael, Amanda and Alicia.