Karl H. GrafCPA/PFS, CFP®
Principal & Wealth Manager
Karl’s main responsibilities include helping clients develop their financial plans, implementing wealth management strategies and managing clients’ investment portfolios.
What sparked your interest in financial planning?
My interest in financial planning was sparked early in my accounting career. As a CPA it seemed to me at that time that much accounting work is oriented towards the past, what happened and why. Certainly, there are some forward-looking aspects but my perception then was that most clients were not that happy to see us (perhaps because I was an auditor at the time). Personal financial planning interested me because it was forward-looking, that helps clients impact their future outcomes in a positive way with our advice. That was a very important motivating factor that helped move me towards financial planning as a career. Being a CPA I also only focused on fee-only planning, which was somewhat of a rarity back then. To me, that was the only way that I could provide financial planning services.
What’s the one thing people say you’re best at?
Getting to the heart of the matter, seeing the essence of an issue or problem, to be able to focus on the REAL issue and communicate that to the client in a clear, understandable way. Then helping to solve the problem or address the issue as completely and simply as is practical given the circumstances.
What do you enjoy most about working at Modera?
Working with a group of people in a collaborative way, always striving to improve what and how we serve our clients and how we run our business. The focus on keeping the firm independent so that we can continue to deliver our service in the way we think is most suitable for our clients. I appreciate being around a group of smart, caring professionals who are like-minded when it comes to the philosophy of our business. I also appreciate that at Modera – “You always get your say, but you might not always get your way.” That openness to differing opinions and discussion does much to enhance and improve the firm. Ultimately I think it comes down to respecting everyone’s opinion, but then after the debate coming together around the direction that has been agreed upon.
Where did you grow up? Where do you live now?
I grew up in Bergen County, NJ. In late 2017 I relocated to Charlotte, NC to help Modera as we expanded into this market with a new location.