Sarah Swantner, CFP®

Sarah is passionate about analyzing and finding solutions to solve complex problems. She discovered her skills in college as a student of engineering mechanics, using math and science to explain and predict behaviors such as crack growth in a sheet of plastic or sound generated by a fan blade. Prior to discovering her love for financial planning, Sarah spent nine years as an engineer with Hewlett-Packard in Boise,  Idaho, developing LaserJet printers. In 2009, Sarah started engineering financial plans. She loves analyzing complex, real-world client situations and creating financial plans to explain how all the moving parts of the plan - insurance, taxes, estate, retirement, investments - interact together. Sarah also enjoys getting to know our clients personally so that she can design financial plans that are unique to each client.

Sarah became a CFP® certificant and the second NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor in South Dakota in 2013.  She also holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in theoretical and applied mechanics, earned at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Sarah and her husband, Rick, moved to Rapid City in 2012. Whether by car, airplane, ATV, or foot, Sarah and Rick enjoy traveling, biking on their new Harley, and being in the wilderness. They are excited to have a new place to explore and enjoy the great outdoor activities South Dakota has to offer.

What Sarah Does All  Day

Director of Financial Planning. This role is a big-picture one. I manage the financial planning process and associated software programs, and I participate in formulating and executing strategic planning for the firm. I also facilitate the training for analytical planners and analytical planning associates and oversee all financial planning work. This includes approving the creation of financial plans, asset allocations and investment policy statements, and assigning clients to planners. As Director of Financial Planning, I am also charged with enhancing the client experience, writing posts for the client blog, and attending client events, national conferences, and trade conferences. I currently hold the CFP® designation, and I am working toward a master’s degree in counseling

Analytical Planner. For clients with complex needs, I serve as the analytical planner. This work includes conducting periodic retirement plan updates and associated reports, estate planning, beneficiary and titling reviews, asset protection planning, college planning, and tax planning for existing clients. For new clients, I gather the initial data, populate the retirement planning software, recommend target portfolios, generate investment policy statements, and formulate financial planning recommendations. I also approve net worth statements, maintain the planning content in the investment policy statement, create and maintain client mindmaps, and delegate planning tasks to analytical planning associates. As analytical planner, I create agendas for client meetings, take notes in the meetings, process the meeting notes into action items, and execute the post-meeting planning work. I also co-create client objectives, work to integrate those objectives into the financial plan, and respond to client emails and phone calls regarding financial planning topics.

Relational Planner. For some of our clients, I am the primary relational planner. I conduct client meetings with the assistance of one of our analytical planners. I work with the analytical planner to co-create client objectives and integrate them with the plan, as well as review agendas and financial planning recommendations with the analytical planner. As the relational planner, I review prospect intake summaries and lead initial prospect meetings. I review money exercises, conduct the Discovery meeting, write the Discovery summary, and work with clients to facilitate behavioral change.