Zak Goldman, Partner, and Insurance Adviser with Sterling Park Financial Group, Zak Goldman has spent the last 17 years working with business owners, executives, and professionals to take advantage of insurance planning and income protection. By doing so, he helps to protect their business and family wealth over the long term. Earning an MBA from the
Rotman School of Business at the of Toronto, he began his career at London Life in 2001, as an insurance adviser, planning financial futures for young clients.
Since that time he has worked with countless successful business owners
with accumulated assets and has provided customized insurance strategies to support their financial objectives. His mission is to help sophisticated business owners protect their life’s work by incorporating the unique aspects of insurance into their financial planning.
His clients regard him as bold, smart and caring – and as the first person
to tell you not to do something. When he isn’t helping business
owners navigate the numbers, he’s busy helping others in a myriad of ways.
Zak and his wife Michelle founded the Avery Goldman Fund in memory of their son who passed away at birth, and for his twin brother Blake, who
spent six months at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.
Not one to walk away from a challenge or good cause, in 2012, he and
14 other men climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, together raising $1.4 million for the hospital. Other organizations he is involvement in include: the Executive Board of Leadership Sinai / Mount Sinai Hospital, Member of the Million Dollar Roundtable, and Member of CALU (Conference for Advanced Life Underwriters).
My Business Magazine caught up with Zak, to ask him about the services Sterling Park Financial Group offers, and why what they provide has made a difference in people’s lives and about his passions.
MBM: Tell me what you provide, in short?
ZAK: At Sterling Park Financial Group, we are privileged to be able to counsel and solution a wide range of successful and sophisticated business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals by implementing financial strategies that ensures the long-term protection of their hard-earned business and family wealth. We see ourselves as a key resource within our clients’ trusted advisory group, providing cost effective financial strategies and effective insurance solutions to reduce tax liability in both corporate and personal situations. This directly benefits their business, family,heirs, and future generations. Our goal is to ensure our clients’assets are fully protected through the delivery of cost-effective insurance solutions.
"We’ve been doing it real well for 17 years and we aim to be the best in the business. It’s an innovative approach to preserving wealth and it works."
MBM: What makes Sterling Park Financial Group stand out?
ZAK: At Sterling Park, the value we bring takes on several forms. We take a consultative approach so we are good listeners and ensure we understand the needs and concerns that our clients have. Then we ask good questions of our clients and their advisers – questions that, many times, they have never considered before. We use our understanding of the tax and legal aspects of the products we represent to put together an extensive analysis for our clients.Next we take the hard facts and real data like taxes and capital creation and prove to them that the numbers work, showing them how these insurance products are perfectly designed to dovetail into our client’s overall financial situation. Most people don’t really dig down deep enough, but we do and ultimately it’s worth the effort. Our analysis involves input from all stakeholders(client and advisers) and once completed, the financial benefits become self evident.
MBM: What is the biggest challenge for you?
ZAK: Protecting current and future wealth using insurance products is a strategic financial investment, yet many perceive it as an expense. The cost concerns regarding premiums and the need for life insurance to mitigate tax liability are definitely the biggest challenge we face with our clients. It is not an uncommon reaction,and after 17 years of fielding this concern, we are well versed in explaining and demonstrating why the premium is worth it.
The premium is not the problem, the tax liability is the problem, and we have ways of creating better financial outcomes by using our insurance products for this purpose. By working as partners with the client and providing the in-depth financial analysis, it allows them to clearly see that the premium is the best option and that there is a significant overall savings by including life insurance as a tool in their financial plans. Here is an example. We had one client who had a tax liability in the range of $5 million. After meeting with his adviser, we sat down with the client, talked about his desires for the business, his views of the future, and his children’s potential involvement. With that information, we put together a package and solution for him, which would cover the tax liability. There was a huge benefit for him to use insurance as the solution which would allow his children to continue in the family business while eliminating the need to sell assets to create capital to address the tax issues. Once we walked him though the analysis and clearly explained his options and the resulting implications, he understood and signed on.
MBM: What are some typical questions your clients first ask?
ZAK: Each client has a unique story, situation, and need. The needs may be similar, but our firm approaches every client as an individual that will require a customized solution. Often they don’t know what to ask – even sophisticated business owners.We find that the questions change based on what the individual is most concerned about. If they’re most concerned about the tax implications, it leads to questions about how to cover it. It could also be questions or concerns about growing income in their corporation tax-free. Good advisers will lead them through the questions they should be asking and provide them with the clarity they need. That’s what Sterling Park does.
MBM: So what are some typical questions that you ask?
ZAK: As people grow older, get married, start a family, and/or start a business, they start to think about the need to protect their family and estate. An adviser's role is to understand their client’s plans and objectives, and determine how life insurance is a good solution as part of their financial plan. We start by asking some probing questions: Could you buy a business partner’s share? How do you plan to pay off estate taxes? Do you want to leave money to your children or a charity ? And on and on.
Then we dig deeper by asking about the “hard facts” such as financial numbers, business valuation, etc. The objective is to develop the best solution – the most cost effective solution that secures their goals, and at the same time preserves as much capital as possible for the growth of their business and protection of their estate.
MBM: What gets you up in morning?
ZAK: Most mornings it is my six year old son who gets me up. He
sure likes to rise early! Seriously, he is a delight and inspiration to me so I am always energized as I head out the door. I do love knowing that I have the privilege of being a key member of the Sterling Park team and that we all come to work every day with one goal in mind and that is to ensure we are building trust with our clients by providing great value with our products while protecting their corporate and family wealth.
MBM: What gives your work meaning, to you?
ZAK: I know that at Sterling Park Financial Group, we are making a positive difference in our client’s lives that will benefit them today and in future generations to come. What we do provides a superior financial outcome for most people and what we are able to do is unparalleled to other financial products so I am pretty excited about that.
Dave Gordon has penned more than a thousand articles, and more than five hundred editorials, on every topic imaginable. He writes regularly on domestic and international politics, current events, culture, relationship issues, and much more.
He has spent time in the newsrooms of the Toronto Sun, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Baltimore Sun, National Post and eye Weekly.
STERLING PARK FINANCIAL GROUP
225A MacPherson Avenue
Suite 201 Toronto, ON M4V 1A1