The PIFP Story: What It’s Like To Work With Us

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Partners in Financial Planning Blog - The PIFP Story: What It's Like To Work With Us

We know you have so many options for working with an advisor. Thousands of firms are at your fingertips, especially in a world gone virtual. How do you even begin to choose?

The relationships we develop with clients go far beyond finances. We enjoy creating deep, long-lasting connections with people who enjoy our company and trust in our advice. That’s why we wanted to share the Partners in Financial Planning Story with you and answer common questions like:

  • How did PIFP get its start?
  • What do we specialize in?
  • What’s it like to be a client of ours?

Today, we’ll explore what it’s like to be part of the PIFP family and our PIFP story by answering these questions and more. As you learn more about our firm, feel free to reach out to us any time during your search for a financial partner. 

We’re always happy to chat one-on-one to address your questions and unique situation.

PIFP Story

The mission of the PIFP team has always been simple: to care about you and your financial wellness.

Our firm was founded in 2009 by Jim Pearman and Pam Poldiak with the idea of bringing a genuine, personalized approach to financial planning. In October 2012, our third partner Rich Bryan joined. Nine years later, Chris Bishop and Stephen Bain joined us in January 2021. 

Today, we are lucky enough to have five passionate partners serving at the helm of PIFP, as well as several associates dedicated to making your experience with us a positive one.

Who We Serve Best

We love working with people from all walks of life. In fact, our clients have grown to be successful professionals in varying industries throughout the country. 

Whether you’re establishing a family in your early 30s or reaching your peak earning years and thinking about retirement, we’ve developed services that address your evolving needs.

We work out of several offices in the Virginia and South Carolina areas, often assisting those affiliated with the medical systems in these states. From specialized medical professionals to mid-levels and administrative employees, we help those in the healthcare industry navigate this unique financial landscape.

What we value in a client relationship is not net worth or job title. Rather, we focus on finding those with similar core values to our own. We’ve found that we can provide the most value to those who:

  • Maintain a long-term focus
  • Communicate honestly and openly
  • Commit to pursuing their personal and financial goals
  • Seek a holistic planning experience 
  • Wish to delegate financial matters to a knowledgeable professional

What Makes Financial Planning “Comprehensive”?

When you think of a financial planner, what comes to mind?

Your answer likely has something to do with managing investments. If that’s the case, you’re correct—but only partially.

Our approach to financial management encompasses far more than your portfolio. We focus on how your entire financial picture fits together. Like a puzzle, all your financial and personal pieces must come together to create a fuller picture. Those pieces could include preparing to pay for college, lowering debt, paying for weddings, buying a home, ensuring you have the proper insurance coverage, embarking on a work-optional lifestyle, securing your legacy with a solid estate plan, etc.

The best investment advice we can give you goes far beyond the markets. It’s grounded in a deeper sense of purpose, connection, and context. That’s why we focus on creating a comprehensive and coordinated financial plan that addresses all aspects of your financial well-being, such as income, investments, insurance, taxes, cash flow, goals, and so much more. 

Our Focus on Taxes

When not accounted for properly, taxes can be the biggest threat to your wealth. That’s why we believe proactive tax planning is critical for high earners.

We keep a tax-focused mindset in all aspects of your financial plan. Here, we might help you answer questions like,

  • How can I strategically reduce my taxable income?
  • When does it make sense to realize some gains?
  • How can I limit capital gains tax?
  • Am I giving to charity in a tax-conscious way?
  • Am I creating a solid tax situation for retirement?

Proactive tax planning helps us keep more money working for you and funding your goals and less of your wealth directed away from your accounts.

Why You Deserve a Fee-Only Firm

We believe everyone deserves to work with a fee-only financial planning firm. But what, exactly, does “fee-only” mean for our clients?

We do not accept commissions, kickbacks, or other third-party referrals. We are paid by our clients and only our clients. We’ve structured our firm this way because it allows us to actively avoid conflicts of interest. Instead of selling products for the sake of commission, we ensure every piece of advice within your plan is aligned with your greater goals.

We’ve found that serving as fee-only advisors brings clients comfort. They know they’re entrusting their money to a fiduciary who is legally obligated to put their best interest first. And while you’ll hear the term “fiduciary” said many times in the industry, we view it as more than just a legal accolade; it’s a core value that drives our operation.

Our fiduciary duty isn’t limited to certain types of accounts or interactions; it applies to every piece of advice we give. All of our recommendations come from a fiduciary lens, not just some of them, bringing immense confidence and clarity to our clients.  

Your Success Is Our Success

Our goal is to help you reach yours.

How do we make it happen? By helping you identify, set, and track the goals that are most important to you.

Setting goals helps our clients spend and save their money in meaningful ways. It gives them tangible milestones to work toward, such as buying a vacation home or sending a kid off to college. Without these goals in place, money has no direction, and it becomes much harder to feel financially fulfilled.

Along with your goals, we strive to align your money with your values. If charitable giving is a priority, we can ensure it’s incorporated within your estate plan. If caring for grandkids in a meaningful way is your goal, we can help establish a trust or college fund in their name. 

Whatever’s important to you is important to us, and we want to ensure your money is well-aligned with those greater values.

What It’s Like to Be a Client with PIFP

The center of our PIFP story is you!

We have offices in Virginia and South Carolina and love working with clients in person when they live close to our offices. But we also work virtually across the country! You may be wondering what that experience looks like.

Here’s a common planning scenario we help clients with:

Bob and Joanne are already empty nesters when they realize retirement is just around the corner. Bob and Joanne are worried that after putting three children through college, they may not have saved enough to retire when they want to.

Bob and Joanne have a large nest egg built up but don’t know that they are making the best decisions with their money. 

In this scenario, we’d help Bob and Joanne by:

  • Developing a personalized financial plan, highlighting where they are today and what it would take to get them where they want to go.
  • Show them how much they could spend in retirement based on their current portfolio, future savings, Social Security benefits, and pension benefits.
  • Consolidate their investment accounts into a portfolio tailored to their specific situation.
  • Give them the opportunity to set new and exciting goals for themselves in this new season of life.

Whether you’re nearing retirement like Bob and Joanne or facing a different financial hurdle, we develop holistic plans that account for all facets of your financial life.

Find Confidence, Joy, and Freedom With Your Money

Money can be a source of stress. And in most cases, the more you make, the more complex your financial life becomes.

We want to be your trusted partner by providing the support and guidance you need to find confidence and excitement in your financial journey. As you continue searching for the right firm, we encourage you to reach out to our team

We’re more than happy to answer questions, discuss your concerns and provide more insights into how we may be able to help.

About Us

Partners in Financial Planning provides tax-focused, comprehensive, fee-only financial planning and investment management services. With locations in Salem, Virginia and Charleston, South Carolina, our team is well-equipped to serve clients both locally and nationally with over 100 years of combined experience and knowledge in financial services.

To learn more, visit

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