Sharpe ratios. IRS distribution tables. Insurance laddering.
Steven Sweeney enjoys dissecting the details of financial planning as part of his commitment to helping financial professionals develop successful retirement strategies for their clients.
But his passion for tracking and analyzing the numbers extends far beyond his desk within the Transamerica Advanced Markets Group.
“I’m a total nerd when it comes to tracking my fitness stats,” said Sweeney, who has run more than 300 miles and logged nearly 3,000 miles on his bike in 2017. “Staying active is better than sitting in your chair. That will drive you crazy.”
Sweeney’s interest in cycling and running started while taking part in local races in his hometown of Sewickley, Pennsylvania, a suburb outside of Pittsburgh. In all, he has completed two marathons, a handful of half-marathons, and several 100-mile cycling events.
“It’s the constant desire to improve and get better,” Sweeney said. “I don’t think of myself as an endurance athlete. I just want to get better at something.”
In addition to keeping him physically fit, training and competing keep Sweeney mentally fit. He often works though complex problems while on a long ride or run.
“That’s where good ideas come from,” he said. “You think about new ways to position ideas, whether it’s a story about Medicare or the connection between wealth and health. You can then tap those ideas when you’re in execution mode in the office.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree from University of Pittsburgh, Sweeney received his Master of Business Administration at Colorado State University. His competitive spirit quickly kicked in again when he started working for an insurance and financial planning firm in Chicago.
“Call it insecurity, but I would be competing for clients with people who had these important letters behind their name,” Sweeney said. “If I wanted to be considered in the same capacity, particularly at a younger age, I thought I should probably do that.”
Sweeney now holds the CERTIFIED FINANACIAL PLANNERTM certification mark, as well as Chartered Financial Consultant®, and Chartered Life Underwriter® designations. He puts the knowledge to good use when helping financial professionals understand the complexities of investments, insurance, retirement income planning, Social Security, Medicare, and other industry topics.
“We get approached from so many different angles, you have to be a good listener,” Sweeney said. “I’ve been personally working on that. In Advanced Markets, you can’t be successful on accident. You have to listen and distill information and offer something back. We’re looking for solutions in every conversation.”
Whether it’s IRA distributions, annuity titling, tax reform, or the Department of Labor’s long-delayed fiduciary rule, there’s no shortage of subject matter for financial professionals as they tackle the challenges that come with the territory.
For young professionals just getting started, Sweeney recommends staying focused as they start to grow their practice.
“Don’t get distracted by all the noise,” Sweeney said. “There will always be challenges – be it regulation, competition, or other obstacles. Trust your training, do what’s right for clients, and work hard. The rest will take care of itself.”
It’s an approach Sweeney adopts at the office and at home in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Despite busy work schedules, he and his wife Caitlin carve out time for fitness workouts that are starting to include their two children.
“It’s part of our daily routine,” Sweeney said. “We don’t know anything different at this point.”
The Advanced Markets Group has dozens of great resources that are often featured on New Age of Advice. Check back for more profiles on members of the team in the coming weeks.
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Whether they’re discussing taxes, Social Security claiming strategies, or controlling the distribution of retirement assets, the nine members of Transamerica’s Advanced Markets Group have the knowledge and experience to help financial professionals deliver the best service to their clients.
Between them, they hold 13 CFP®, CLU®, and ChFC® certifications, two law degrees, one M.D., an MBA, and a master’s in law in taxation. But we want you to get to know the people behind the credentials.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide tax, investment or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal advisors and financial professional regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.
Transamerica Resources, Inc. is an Aegon company and is affiliated with various companies which include, but are not limited to, insurance companies and broker dealers. Transamerica Resources, Inc. does not offer insurance products or securities. The information provided is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as insurance, securities, ERISA, tax, legal or financial advice or guidance. Please consult your personal independent advisors for answers to your specific questions.