Business Spotlight: Wellington Financial Group
Chris and Terra Gill are passionate about helping people reach their financial goals and plan for an enjoyable retirement. Together, they run Wellington Financial Group, which provides comprehensive financial planning, such as investments, mutual funds, stocks and bonds, life insurance, long term care, estate planning, disability and income taxation.
“We take a holistic approach to financial planning,” Chris says. “That changes us from money managers to financial planners whose goal is to keep your money safe.”
Wellington Financial Group operates across the state, with a location in Avon, four in Terre Haute and one in Crawfordsville.
Chris and Terra are a unique pair because of their history. They grew up on the same street just a few doors down from each other. Terra’s mother was Chris’s fifth-grade teacher and his mother was her third-grade teacher. They finally began dating four years ago, wed last year and now work together every day.
“When someone hires us, they’re getting us both,” Chris says. “They’re getting two excellent advisors. Two sets of eyes to look at the rates of returns, policies everything day in and day out. Anything one of us misses, the other will pick it out and vice versa.”
Both have a long history in finances. Terra’s background is in private banking. Her job sometimes involved having to tell a client that a financial advisor gave them bad advice.
“For me, personally, this is why I love this job,” she says. “I used to have to be the bad guy. When a financial advisor did wrong by someone, I had to be the one to tell them that things weren’t going to be ok. We have both experienced firsthand what happens when financial advising goes bad. Now we get to help people be prepared.”
Chris studied Education at Indiana State University and got a job at Western Southern Life Insurance doing part-time financial advising. In 2013, he finished his M.B.A. with a concentration in finance and began working at One America. He worked his way up from a financial advisor to a unit director to a sales director and finally to an agency director. He was inspired to start Wellington Financial Group after learning the industry and putting his own tweaks on the way he did business.
Chris has a strong background in martial arts, and he brings the integrity and excellence from the sport into the office with him. He also does public speaking about self-defense and financial topics for businesses, churches and not-for-profits.
Chris and Terra are committed to overcoming misconceptions about financial advisors and have taken a very different approach to how they conduct business with clients.
“When Terra and I started working together, the most dramatic change took place,” Chris says. “We put a plan to together that was actually personalized to how we work together.”
They both are insistent that the values that operate their family life at home, such as integrity, commitment and loyalty, are what drives their business together.
They never charge anyone to simply talk to them for advice. In fact, the duo has a set of steadfast rules they live by in their business.
- Legally, financial advisors have to review documents with their clients once a year. Chris and Terra commit to meeting at least once every quarter with their clients.
- The two are also very insistent that clients do not make any decisions if they aren’t 110 percent sure about the suggested plan. “If I make a plan or suggestion, and you’re on the fence, we wait,” Chris says. “These are huge decisions. I don’t want anyone regretting their decisions.”
- The name of the game for Chris and Terra is efficiency. “My goal is to get people more in their retirement without them putting more money out of their pocket,” Chris says. “Sometimes we can get them 30 to 50 percent more without them spending an extra dime.” He adds that sometimes even just a small tweak, such as changing the way they fund their 401(k), can make a big difference.
Chris and Terra strongly believe clients should live at the same level of comfort in their retirement that they did in their working years, and it’s their goal to help clients achieve that.
Every time Chris meets a new client, he views himself as a potential job candidate, acknowledging it may not always be a great fit.
“We’ll have a relationship most likely anywhere from a few years all the way through your retirement,” Chris says. “Everyone has financial hardship. It’s a sickening feeling. If we can help alleviate that, that’s awesome and I’ve done my job.”
Wellington Financial Group is located at 10746 East U.S. Highway 36 in Avon, Ind. You can reach Chris and Terra by calling their office at 317-478-4398.