Gordon J. BernhardtCFP®
Principal & Wealth Manager
Gordon Bernhardt has built his profession 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 receives great satisfaction from helping clients gain clarity about their future and focus on what matters most to them—their family, their business and career, and the causes that matter most to them—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 became 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 support charitable causes that are important to me including funding three scholarships at three different colleges to support students who had to overcome 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 the significance of that object to them. I have found that one answer to be one of the most memorable answers people give.
When you retire you’re going to…?
To date, the most incredible experience in my life took place on a 35-day, 618-mile walk on the Camino de Santiago in Spain in 2018. It was so significant to me that I wrote a book sharing my experience and the insights I gained. The book is titled Buen Camino: What a Hike through Spain Taught Me about Investing and Life. I don’t know when I will retire but I plan to go back to Spain to walk for 75 to 90 days on the Camino de Santiago in 2027. Who wants to join me?