It’s the start of fall and change is in the air… school is starting and the weather is changing, and of course there are significant ups and downs locally and nationally with regard to weather, natural disasters, COVID, and more. While some of those changes are “normal” and welcome (think pumpkin spice and fall sweaters), there is plenty going on that is a little frightening.

In these turbulent times, people are looking for some stability. We can’t promise that the stock market won’t experience volatility, or the economy won’t face uncertainty relating to current events, but Heritage Advisory is steady for you. With origins over 30 years ago, Jonathan, Greg, and the rest of Heritage Advisory Group have seen a myriad of different economic and market conditions, understanding that change in conditions we cannot control is certain for all of us. But what remains constant is our dedication to our clients. We take time to get to know you and your family, and help determine what’s most important to you now and in the future. Then we design a personal financial plan that will help you to achieve your goals.

In light of current events, we quickly realized that not seeing our clients face to face was a difficult reality. We missed having you come by the office and sharing any exciting changes with us. Although we cannot see you in person, we are taking this opportunity to re-launch the public face of Heritage and want to invite you to get to know us a little better. Follow this new, regular blog to learn more about our team and learn a bit about investing. Consider sharing with friends or colleagues, and please follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. We at Hertiage Advisory Group want to be there for you now and into the future. Here to share a bit more about our vision for the future is our President and Founder, Jonathan H. Wilt.

Let's start with the basics, how did you get into Financial Planning? What is the signficance of "Heritage"?


Those are some very large questions and I will try to answer them as briefly as possible! I got into financial planning because that was always MY plan since I was a young man. I was a business administration major with a minor in accounting at Rutgers University, but really was not very interested in accounting. I was much more interested in the stock market. At the time, my father had a good friend working in the industry and I really liked what he had to say when we got together at family gatherings. So, in the 70s, after I graduated from Rutgers, there were very few jobs available in finance. In the interim, I got a job with Lord and Taylor and then Saks Fifth Avenue and then John Wanamaker‘s (which is where I met my wife!). But I was still trying to break into the brokerage industry.  Until one day, I walked into the Lincoln Investment office near where I was living at the time. Through sheer coincidence, Lincoln Investment was trying to expand their 403b business into South Jersey. Now I come from parents who were both educators, and am originally from the Atlantic City area, so it was a perfect fit for me.  Fast forwarding several decades, Heritage Advisory Group was always the vision I had of ensuring business continuity for myself and my clients. It came to fruition just a couple short years ago, when my son Andrew joined my team, but has been in planning for a long time. I have also had a tremendous working relationship with my junior partner, Greg, who has been working with me for over 20 years. So, it was really about the culmination of multiple generations of planning under one heading. “Heritage” is about the Heritage Oak tree, and that is the point behind it. My mindset has always been that you’re planting seeds for the next generation, so I believe in protecting and preserving wealth for both yourself and future generations after you.

For someone new to saving and investing, where do you suggest people start? 

Well the best way to start is as early as you can! Time is one of the most valuable assets a person can hold. But practically, a great way to start is with a small amount of money and to do it over a long period of time. This is known as dollar cost averaging.  But with any investment strategy, it is pertinent to clearly define what goals and objectives you have associated with this investment.  However, a plan of regular investing does not assure a profit or protect against loss in a declining market.  You should consider your financial ability to continue your purchases over an extended period of time.


In your 30+ years of work in financial planning, could you share a success story or something you are proud of?

Well I think the thing I’m most proud of is the team of people I work with. My senior assistant has worked with me for over 30 years, and my junior partner Greg for over 20.  I’m driving the business forward, but am only able to do that because I have great people around me. But I would say that the greatest financial planning success story actually had to do with a failure on my part. I had a client who was a first grade school teacher in New Jersey, and her husband was a fighter pilot in the Korean War (really tough guy) and whenever I would talk to them about the need for long term care insurance the answer was always a blunt “no”. Unfortunately, both he and his wife came down with Alzheimer’s.   I met with the family and made it very clear to them that at the end of the day that it would be ok for them to fire me, as long as they were still friends when this was all done. In the end, we spent well over $1 million on their care, but the family is still a client of mine and they are have a great relationship with each other. I think stories like these are my greatest successes, those are about the people not about the money.



How has the financial planning industry over the course of your career? Has the client experience changed? 


Well I started out as a commission-based sales representative selling retirement planning, I became a CFP® in 1990, and in 1997 completely changed my practice to a fee-based fiduciary model. In my perspective, the client experience has not changed all that much. I have always insisted that a financial plan be the first job of a financial planner, and that you should not start investing unless you have a goal and objective. You cannot measure the success of the goal and objective without the financial plan.


Once traveling becomes more feasible, is there a city or destination you’re looking forward to visiting in the near future? 


Oh I think that’s an easy answer! One of my bucket list goals has always been to go to Australia and see the Australian Open. I’m a tennis player and I was fortunate enough to go to Palm Springs last year for the BNP Paribas Open. In the not too distant future, I would love to visit all the grand slam tournaments in one year!