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Retirement Planning Specialists Tad and Toni Hill help their clients work toward financial independence.

In a world of market fluctuation, Tad and Toni Hill help ensure their clients that it is possible to have a confident retirement with proper planning.

Tad Hill is the president of Freedom Financial Group. He founded Freedom Financial Group with his wife and business partner, Toni, in order to fill a niche they felt was not being addressed properly in the retirement planning environment —helping retirees and pre-retirees in Alabama and answers to issues that may affect their quality of life during retirement. They believe each investor is unique and no single strategy is right for everyone. In fact, the defining point that separates their process from other firms is they carefully identify all of the “must-know facts” that are critical to the individual client’s retirement success BEFORE they make investment decisions. This goes far beyond a “risk tolerance” questionnaire that is employed by typical firms. Reducing or eliminating potential risks that can impact their clients' retirement success is done through a trademarked planning process called, Retire with Freedom™. This process includes: Income Planning, Investment Planning, Legacy Planning, Tax Planning and Health Care Planning. This approach requires more effort on the part of Freedom Financial, but results in a roadmap designed to create greater peace of mind for their clients.

Tad helps his clientele work toward their financial goals through the use of insurance and investment products. As a retirement planning specialist, his planning is focused on helping people protect and preserve their life savings and plan for the distribution of their wealth in the most tax-efficient way possible. This approach is designed with the intent of best accomplishing the goal of having their income last throughout their retirement years.

Hill graduated from Auburn University and has passed the Series 65 securities exam to become an Investment Adviser Representative. Due to the license he holds, he has a fiduciary responsibility to his clients. Under the fiduciary standard, he always acts in the best interest of his clients and is bound to complete transparency in any client relationship.  As a fee-only or fee-based advisor, he acts solely for the benefit of his clients.

Tad states, “I am very passionate about doing things the right way.  I’m responsible for my clients’ life savings and that is an enormous responsibility that I take very seriously. If you’re going to entrust me with your retirement planning, then I am going to do everything that I can to be the best retirement planner possible.”

Toni relates, “Our goal is to create the best client experience for everyone who works with us. We want our clients to feel like we’re going so far above and beyond for them that they can’t wait to tell their friends and family about us. Unfortunately, our industry has earned a significant level of distrust in the past few years, and I want to do everything in my power to rebuild that trust, one client at a time.”

Tad continues, “We want our clients to have a different experience when they come through the doors of our office.  We want our clients to know that they are the most important people in the world to us and that we are here for them. Our goal is to treat our clients in such a way that they couldn’t imagine not referring their friends and family to us.

Being very committed to educating their clients, Tad and Toni want their clients to understand their financial plan so well that they are able to teach Tad and Toni what is in their plan and why it’s there. According to them, that is the litmus test. If their clients are able to articulate the components of their financial plan and why it is set up that way, then Tad and Toni feel they have done their job well.

Tad teaches a two-day course on retirement planning and financial issues pertinent to his audience. These classes are offered quarterly and provide people with six hours’ worth of information used to educate them further on how to prepare for retirement. He also informs people through his and Toni’s weekly radio show and sends out weekly updates to keep people abreast of the most current happenings related to the firm and their investments.

Not only is educating their clients highly important to Tad and Toni, but having fun with their clients is also high on the agenda. On a regular basis, Freedom Financial Group offers events such as wine tastings, food tastings, charity events, and a yearly baseball game at Regions Field. These events give their clients opportunities to spend time with each other and their families outside the office.

Toni says, “These events give us an opportunity to spend time with our clients.  In fact, our clients have become friends with each other because they see each other at these events. It’s a great social networking opportunity for them and it’s a chance for them to interact with me and my staff in a less formal setting. If a client wants to talk business, I will do that. But, it’s mainly intended to be a time for them to have fun and it gives us an opportunity to show them in a tangible way how much we appreciate them.”

When talking to Tad and Toni, one can sense that they are very passionate about asking the right questions and gathering key information before even thinking about making any kind of recommendation.

Tad states, “One of the mistakes I see people make when moving into retirement is that they never connect with anyone that has ever really analyzed their current situation and where they want to be in the future. They don’t know how to do it themselves because they’re not retirement planners. Typically, they aren’t really sure about the right questions to ask. So they seek out someone in the financial services business and assume the person they find knows what they are doing, only to find out later that their financial advisor was really no more than a salesperson for stocks, bonds and mutual funds. The ‘salesperson’ may ask a handful of questions, such as your risk tolerance, and then offer an investment that is deemed ‘suitable.’ But they never take the client through a process that’s designed to uncover everything that’s needed to develop a plan and protect their retirement.  They’re just investing their money for them. They’re not investing the money for them with a clear understanding of what is required.”

He continues, “What "real retirement planners" do is spend a lot of energy on the front-end uncovering what I call the ‘must-know facts.’ We want to uncover all the must know facts about your circumstances before we provide financial advice.”

Tad offers this analogy, "If you go to the doctor for a check-up and the doctor immediately pulls out his prescription pad and begins to prescribe a bunch of medicines for you, you probably would question his judgment. Instead, you would expect him to ask you questions, do some lab work and conduct a thorough examination. Then, after he has gathered all the necessary data, you would expect him to develop a diagnosis and a plan of treatment if he found something wrong. Financial planning and retirement planning work in the same way. You should not invest your dollars until a thorough evaluation has been conducted to determine what the conditions are and what the plan of treatment will be. Just as certain medicines are designed to treat certain illnesses, so certain investments are designed for certain situations. Medicines are much like investments. If doctors give the wrong advice that can potentially be devastating to their client’s financial health. Sometimes people think they’re going to the doctor, when they are really going to the drug rep. The moral of the story is, make sure you see the financial doctor and not the financial drug rep."

Tad and Toni are Registered Financial Consultants (RFC) and both have passed the Series 65 securities exam to become Investment Adviser Representatives. In addition, Tad is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®). They are registered with AE Wealth Management, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser, and they also hold insurance licenses in the state of Alabama. Tad has appeared nationally on CNBC’s Closing Bell and Fox Business News’ After the Bell and locally on ABC 33/40’s Talk of Alabama and Fox 6’s Good Day Alabama. Tad is a published author and teaches other financial advisors as well as CPA’s and attorneys. Toni is a nationally-recognized financial educator for financial professionals, radio host, philanthropist and retirement advisor. She also funnels her passion into the causes that inspire her, like Birmingham’s Jimmie Hale Mission, the USO, several Birmingham Churches, and the Make a Wish Foundation. Toni also founded the Freedom Financial Bank of Esperanza, which funds local female-owned startup businesses in the Dominican Republic. Together, they co-host the Retire with Freedom Radio Show on WERC 105.5, WYDE 101.1, and WAPI 99.5 as well as the Retire with Freedom TV Show on CBS 42. Additionally, Tad has been writing a book on retirement called Retire with Freedom, which should be published soon.

Freedom Financial is a member of the Better Business Bureau, and the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants. He was featured on the cover of AE Insider magazine (2012) as the leader of one of Advisors Excel's fastest-growing ­financial planning ­firms. Advisors Excel is an independent marketing organization located in Topeka, KS. He and Toni are graduates of Auburn University and reside in Indian Springs with their three daughters, Peyton, Tyler and Shannon.

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