JAG FINANCIAL SERVICES CUTS TO THE TRUTH WITH STRAIGHT TALK AND IN-DEPTH CONVERSATION
Joe Grutta isn’t out to save the world. He just wants to help save tax dollars for clients, and he doesn’t mind doing it with a little extra personal attention. Or, in his words, “take you by the hand and go with you.”
That journey isn’t always easy.
Within the tightly knit financial industry, information often is distilled, meaning the public sometimes doesn’t receive all the facts straight about both product worthiness and professional improprieties, Grutta laments.
His belief is that money decisions are difficult enough without such clouds of secrecy. And his challenge: “How do you get the true message out there?”
Yet, Grutta, located in Suntree, has been succeeding in Brevard County since 1991. Over the years, he’s been a member of nearly all of the county’s chambers, carving out the company name JAG Financial Services from his initials. His primary organization these days is the Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce.
All totaled, there are clients in 13 states, although Grutta is careful to point out that he’ll take on only a limited number of clients. The majority of them reside in Brevard. Notably, most have arrived by word of mouth — referrals or friends of referrals — by virtue of significant community service along with good work.
Grutta hasn’t achieved alone, but there is no big corporate machine behind him. Help comes in the form of two trusty employees, one of them being his golden retriever, Angel, now blind but a loyal worker that “greets everybody every day.”
By many measures, Grutta has both found his way and guided others to find theirs. The success hasn’t happened by accident.
Growing up, his father owned a large auto-repair shop in Brooklyn, where Grutta eventually partnered before switching industries. There were important lessons learned.
“Probably the biggest lesson my dad taught me was treat people fair and always be honest with them,” Grutta said, simply. “If customers don’t need brakes, don’t sell them. So, when people do need brakes, they came back. I’ve carried the same way of thinking.”
Today, the net result is an independent financial adviser who has been a Certified Financial Planner since 1984, as well as an Enrolled Agent (federally licensed tax professional), meaning that he is permitted to offer professional tax advice to his clients. An example: While financial advisers typically can’t give official tax advice, Grutta prepares also prepares taxes for clients and can represent them in Internal Revenue Service dealings. Among related services is the JAG Guided Tax Trek.
Also, among others, he has a Series 65 security license, allowing him to offer advisory services, and a Series 7 license, enabling him to manage client investments.
Not coincidentally, there’s an accent on holistic planning, called “Your Personal Financial Survival Plan.”
“We look at the whole, not just sell you some product,” he explained. “I won’t just sell an annuity or a mutual fund. I would like to look at the entire financial world. And then establish what the goals and objectives are, and do my best to get you there.
“I want to be there with you every step of the way. … My plan is to be there through whatever goes on to help you get the success that you’re trying to achieve.”
His role almost is that of a therapist, delving into the psyche of clients. “Sadly,” he added, “sometimes I get more upset about people’s situations than they do. I get upset when people aren’t following common sense.”
For a time, Grutta positioned himself as The Money Doctor, in essence offering an examination of financial health.
“Clients should walk into another office, sit down and they’ve already got the ‘annuity of the day’ or the ‘mutual fund of the day’ on the desk. I need to take the time to find out what’s their pain. What are they trying to accomplish? What’s the issue? And then look for the solutions to that — do my diagnosis of their situation. And then write a prescription for their financial success,” he reasoned.
More recently, he moved toward the term “jungle” — pointing out that he will serve as a guide through a juggle inhabited by topics that range from Social Security Optimization and Retirement Planning to Investments, Insurance and Estate Planning.
Fact is, while his “marketing” has evolved through the years, his approach hasn’t. Grutta distains the distillation of the truth, even if it comes with a professional concession about himself.
“I’ve been doing this for 30-plus years,” he said, “and I still don’t know it all.”