Gordon J. BernhardtCFP®
Wealth Manager, Principal
For over 35 years Gordon Bernhardt has built his career on the principle of fiduciary care; providing investment and wealth management guidance, service, and advice that places clients’ interests and needs ahead of everything else. He works primarily with executives who are looking to grow and safeguard their wealth, freeing them up to focus on their careers, family and friends, and the causes that are important to them. Gordon strives to build trust in his client relationships to better serve them and to make a positive impact in their lives. He receives great satisfaction from helping clients gain clarity about their future so they can leave the legacy they desire. Gordon is the author of the “Profiles in Success: Inspiration from Executive Leaders” book series to expand the influence of outstanding leaders while inspiring the next generation of leaders. He is also the author of “Buen Camino: What a Hike through Spain Taught Me about Investing and Life.”
What do you value most in your client relationships?
I value the trust that our clients place in us, and I don’t take that trust for granted. It is why we spend so much time getting to know what is truly important to each client and what legacy they want to create. Trust is the greatest asset we manage.
What sparked your interest in financial planning? What fuels you every day in your work?
I was a CPA serving as the assistant controller of a Northern Virginia corporation where some employees and I got together to start an investment club. It was an educational endeavor, and one which made me begin to question my purpose in life. Thus, after a 7-year career as a CPA, including experience with what is now a Big Four firm, I concluded that I wasn’t making the kind of difference in people’s lives that I wanted to make. I thought that working in financial services would allow me to create the kind of impact I was hoping for. But after two years in my new career and seeing the focus on commission-based, proprietary products, I realized that my employer expected me to place its interests above what was best for my clients. That became unacceptable for me and is when I created a company committed to the fiduciary standard and placing clients’ needs ahead of everything else.
It is extremely gratifying to look back on my career and know we were our clients’ trusted and reliable wealth guide during periods of market volatility, when laws changed that impacted their wealth management plan, or when life changing events took place in their personal and professional life. I love making a difference in the lives of our clients.
How do you do good in your community?
I was raised with the philosophy that you should help those less fortunate and I believe in the adage, “To whom much is given, much is required.” I have been blessed with and am thankful for the encouragement others gave to me on my journey. Therefore, it was important to me to establish scholarships at three different colleges to support students who are facing some of the same obstacles I had to overcome. But one of the more satisfying things I get to do is to help business owners and executives leverage their personal story through my Profiles in Success Interviews. I believe every individual has a story that can uplift at least one other person in this world and that we have an obligation to share our story. One of my favorite questions to ask clients, prospective clients, and interviewees, is to describe an object of great personal importance and explain why that object is significant to them. The answers to that single question have been some of the most memorable, relatable, and inspiring messages I have been told. What is your object of great personal importance?
When you retire you’re going to…?
I have not set a retirement date, but I see myself traveling to more of our National Parks, becoming a better photographer, being engaged in meaningful volunteer work, and sharing the important message in my book, “Buen Camino: What a Hike through Spain Taught Me about Investing and Life.” My 35-day, 618-mile walk on the Camino de Santiago in Spain in 2018 was the most incredible experience of my life, and the book contains my insights about wealth and life that I want to share with others. In fact, I plan to return to Spain to walk for 75 to 90 days on the Camino de Santiago in 2027. Who wants to join me?