Matching the Money With the Dream

Heidi Clute is all about diligence and long-term planning. After landing her first client on a door- to-door sales call in 1980, she bounced around downtown office spaces in Plattsburgh (and a bedroom or two with a plywood desk) until finally moving from Miller Street to a new, permanent location on Tom Miller Road in 1993. Clute Wealth Management (CWM) was established in 1984.

Looking ahead, as she does, Clute recognized the potential for growth at that property, building a three- phase goal into the plans. The second wing was added in 2003—a time when Tom Miller was still largely residential and farmland. As the area witnesses further commercialization along that strip, Clute keeps phase three prints at the ready for when the time is right for the next expansion.

Clute’s partner, Christina Ubl, joined the firm in the summer of 2000, shortly after earning a B.S. in Business Management and a minor in Accounting from SUNY Plattsburgh. Ubl is a Certified Financial PlannerTM or CFP® professional with series 7, 24, 63, and 66 designations through LPL Financial. She is also a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® or CDFATM. She became a partner at CWM in 2014.

Just as they advise clients to do, Clute and Ubl ride out the ebb and flow of the economy, and life, by calmly guiding the evolution of their business, setting and checking off goals along the way. They say they are in the business of connecting money with dreams; it’s an enlightened philosophy backed by decades of experience, all the right credentials, approximately 300 households in 24 states, and a richly appointed Egyptian-themed office—a civilization once hallmarked for its planned economics.

As an independent, full-service financial planning firm and Registered Investment Advisor, Clute Wealth Management offers customized, strategic financial and investment planning. Although they work with individuals, couples and small businesses, CWM has come to be known as a specialized financial service provider for women in transition. Clute developed the niche a decade ago after auditing a course called Entrepreneurship at SUNY Plattsburgh. Clute used that course to craft a business plan that enabled the business to focus on women and those who are important to them. She called it a natural progression and an opportunity to perpetuate changes in how women plan for their futures. Clute and Ubl have authored several articles on the topic, further validating the successful implementation of that phase of their plan.

“Women have traditionally been underserved,” Clute said, noting pay inequality, longer lifespan, child rearing, and responsibility for parents later in life as factors that contribute to the earning and savings gap between men and women. “It’s important to maintain financial control,” said Clute. “And there are so many pieces to it. From investments, insurance, personal retirement, college funding, acquisition and sale of real estate, business formation, business transfer, managing through chronic illness, death, divorce, disability. It’s the gamut of things that happen in life.”

In an article titled “Financial Strategies for Women in Transition,” Clute outlined the first steps women can take to make crucial decisions during transitional times in life. Whether women are navigating business decline or growth, marriage, divorce, illness/injury, grieving for a spouse, or settling an estate, there are certain tools to help navigate the trying and emotional process.

“Transition brings emotions; whether it’s good emotion or bad emotion, it’s hard to concentrate on navigating through that transition,” noted Ubl. She and Clute offer perspective, a plan, and a course of action to let their clients see through the fog of emotion. “And we do it in an organized fashion so that people can see themselves accom- plishing A, B, and C,” said Ubl.

“I think women come to us because we can empathize with so many situations that they’re going through. Maybe we’re not insisting that you have to fill out your cash flow today and your net worth tomorrow. Sometimes it’s just nice to have somebody that you can talk to about your fears and dreams,” Ubl continued.

If it sounds like they act as counselors as well as financial advisors, it’s true. “Money is emotional,” said Clute. CWM offers a complimentary meeting for new clients with a focus on just getting to know each other on a personal level. Their full service approach to financial management isn’t an overnight plan; it’s an involved process that takes time, eventually leading to a flexible strategy that can change with life, because, said Clute, “We know there are curves in life.” “We have to go with the flow that works for each client,” added Ubl. “We’re not living in a bubble where we think there’s nothing else going on in your life.”