Tom Taranto, CFP®, AIF®

Principal, Senior Financial Advisor

Tom Taranto has been with HBKS® since 2011. He has extensive experience working with high net-worth families on comprehensive financial planning, estate planning, insurance planning and asset management services. While having worked with a wide array of clients, including institutional investors, major donors, small businesses and non-profit organizations, he specializes in retirement feasibility and sustainability for clients nearing or currently in retirement. He finds this client focus enables him to best serve his clients and to make the largest impact with clients most in need of financial planning services.

Tom earned his B.S. in Business Administration in Marketing and Logistics from The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business and his M.A. in Higher Education Administration, also from The Ohio State University. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary®. Tom is active as the Vice President of the Canfield Soccer Club and Co-Director of FC Evolution East Soccer Club He also serves on the Finance Committee at Canfield Presbyterian Church. He organizes the annual Steve Speece Memorial Triathlon and Picnic benefiting the Steve Speece Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN). He works closely in an advisory capacity with the nonprofit Focus Hippotherapy, which provides therapeutic services on horseback for children in need of physical therapy.

Have you always been interested in finance?

I was headed down a more traditional, corporate job after college. But I didn’t share in the motivations of people around me, which were all about making money, regardless of purpose. I wanted to make a tangible change in others, which caused me to look around for something better. I got to know a few financial advisors who worked for other firms and learned about the impact they were able to make on people’s lives and that attracted me to the profession. Then I found my way to the fiduciary model – the purest way of giving advice, without the conflict. I also found that being a financial advisor is about much more than finance, it’s about facilitating client decisions that result in successful financial outcomes for them. The nuts and bolts are just one component of the job. You’ve heard the saying, “Do well by doing good.” Being an advisor gives you that opportunity. Yes, with three kids at home, making money is valued, but if I wasn’t making a positive impact on other people’s lives, I wouldn’t be doing this.

Where do your good ideas for your clients come from?

Good ideas are rooted in technical expertise and a conflict-free environment. That should go without saying. But I’m also so wound together with the CPA side of the HBK umbrella that the conversations I’m having with them every day have led me to unique ideas based on a much greater depth of expertise. The HBK brand and all our service lines and areas of expertise provide for so many more ideas and a greater depth of ideas than someone without that umbrella. I do this every day. My office is a hub of activity with my CPA Partners dropping in to share information and expertise. For example, from one of our professionals who specializes in working with contractors, I’ve learned much about that business, so that when I’m helping my contractor client plan for retirement, I know his business, the issues that he faces, knowledge that helps me plan well beyond what someone without that understanding could do. The firm I was with before HBK was extremely smart. Working there was like getting a Ph.D. in wealth management. But I’ve learned so much more here by interacting and collaborating with our CPAs.

What do you like about the HBKS® culture?

That we are entrepreneurial but have the capabilities of a large firm. To be able to work with a client as an entrepreneur when you need to and as part of a large firm when you need to. That’s hard to match. Also, we give objective, conflict-free advice. I live in a neighborhood where there are other advisors and they’re getting free trips to Hawaii and my wife is asking me when we’re going to get a free Hawaiian vacation. My answer is “never.” If we’re going to Hawaii, it’s going to cost us thousands like everyone else. That’s our reality. We’re not selling products and piling up commissions. When I give advice, it’s plainly what I think is in the client’s best interests. We’re not a small firm. There is real and deep expertise here. We have big backroom technology. But at the same time, I’m making my decisions. I’m customizing solutions for my clients. I’m designing their portfolio allocations and retirement plans – all from a truly conflict-free, same-side-of-the-table position. I’d argue that while all wealth management firms say they do planning and take a close personal interest in the client, most don’t. It’s trendy now to talk that way, but HBKS® has always done this. That’s our mindset. Ten years ago we were the only ones saying this. It’s in our DNA, and that’s a legitimate point of differentiation.

“I found my way to the fiduciary model – the purest way of giving advice without the conflict that’s present in other financial advisories where your job is to sell some financial product. I also found that being a financial advisor is about much more than finance, that it’s about facilitating client decisions that result in successful financial outcomes for them.”