Managing money can seem like a daunting task at times. Between income statements, tax filings, new laws and provisions and planning for the future, the list of variables is a long one. It's a fact that Robert Vonderharr, a partner of Vonderharr Wagner Associates, understands.
As a Certified Professional Accountant, Vonderharr has spent more than 30 years in the world of finance, serving as an auditor, a financial analyst and, more recently, an investment, tax and business consultant.
"I was never born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I'm thankful that God gave me a brain," Vonderharr said, who said he had only $28 to his name when he moved the Utah more than 30 years ago. "But I figured it out."
He moved to Park City six years ago, buying a home and commuting to the main offices in Salt Lake City, but before long Vonderharr started meeting with local clients. That was six years ago. Since then, Vonderharr still works in Salt Lake City, but is adding to the growing list of clients from the Park City area.
"Our view is that Park City is underserved," Vonderharr said. " Our attitude is that the best qualified financial adviser is one that is independent and objective."
"My product is service," he added. "I don't sell anything."
Vonderharr decided to start the partnership with a colleague, Richard Wagner. The two started the firm as a way to shift the focus of their careers, adding financial advice to tax preparation for incoming clients. For Vonderharr, he hopes to work with the retirees, the physicians and other professionals seeking financial services, centering the business on high income earners who may not always know the how, when or where of financial investments.
"We primarily advise people on taxes and retirement and estate planning," Vonderharr said. "People need advice today because people are concerned if they have enough to retire on."
Even helping his neighbors with their portfolios, he has been hard at work integrating himself and getting to know the community. Another neighbor had several investments in properties around the country, and with Vonderharr's help, he was able to create an entity that included his children in ownership of the properties.
It is a model of specialized service for every client, moving away from the big-box style financial planning and accountants.
"Maybe you want to set up gifting programs for your grandchildren," Vonderharr said. "Maybe you don't want to spend $150,000 in income taxes. Maybe you are ready to retire. What it comes down to is simple, trust and confidence. That's what we want to show people, that we know how to help them with their life savings, their financial lives."
For now, Vonderharr is working from his referrals, meeting clients around town, in his home or in the Salt Lake City location, but in the near future, he hopes to expand the business by creating an official second branch in Park City.
"What we do for our clients is the very thing we do for ourselves," he said. "We get returns on investments. All of us want our money to work for us rather than us working for it."
Vonderharr Wagner Associates