Meredith Briggs

Meredith Briggs, CFP®, Taconic Advisors

Like many ACP members, Meredith’s journey to the financial advisor industry was circuitous. A native of Williamsburg, VA (where she worked as an historical interpreter and performed colonial dance—no surprise for those who know her), Meredith attended Duke University, where she studied Spanish and German. While studying abroad in Germany, she met her husband and they moved to Ithaca, NY, where he was completing his studies at Cornell University. From there they moved across the country to Berkeley, CA, before returning to Virginia, where she began her career in the financial services industry. “Financial struggles in my family history drew me to financial advising,” Meredith explains. “I wanted to help and empower people to make good financial decisions.”

While in Virginia, Meredith accepted a product sales position at a large annuity and insurance company. “I thought selling products for commission was how every advisor worked,” she recalls. “I certainly experienced my share of unpleasant surprises as I learned the ropes.”

During this time a colleague asked for Meredith’s assistance developing fee-based plans, and the experience revealed the benefits of comprehensive planning. “After I passed the CFP exam, I knew that holistic financial planning was my passion,” she says.

In 2009, Meredith made a change and began working for a fee-only firm (alongside ACP member PJ Wallin, where they carried on a Duke/UNC rivalry), but the birth of twins precipitated another move—this time to Hudson Valley, NY, to be closer to family. Here Meredith accepted a position with TIAA-CREF and was assigned more than 800 clients. Meredith notes, “It was great experience but I quickly burned out. There is no way you can provide competent service to that many clients at one time.”
A chance meeting at a community foundation event brought Meredith together with her current business partner, Chip Simon. After about one year of planning, Meredith joined Taconic Advisors and six months later bought in as a 50% owner. Chip introduced her to ACP. “I could see how enthusiastic Chip was about the ACP community,” Meredith says. “He couldn’t wait to introduce me to his ACP colleagues. These were his friends, his people.”

Meredith had her first “in-person” ACP experience at the 2016 Advanced Planner Retreat. She describes it as eye-opening. “I really started to get it,” she says. “Everyone was so helpful, it was a community like no other.”

Meredith quickly joined a study group with individuals in similar situations who “help without question” (Meredith highly recommends joining a study group), and in the two short years since her retreat experience, Meredith has immersed herself in the ACP community. She serves on the System Committee and Training Committee, she is a group instructor, she presents at conferences and most recently, Meredith agreed to be one of ACP’s new media spokespeople. (She is also an excellent addition to the annual conference karaoke session!)

Her motivation? “I got involved quickly because I thought I could give back,” Meredith explains. “I found that I gained as much or more than I gave. My work on the System Committee, for instance, made me think outside the box, enhance my knowledge base, and improve my firm. The Advance Financial Directive for Cognitive Decline and the Business Continuity Plan are great examples of what can result from volunteer involvement in the organization. ACP is doing things that no other like organization is even contemplating.”

Meredith sums it up this way: “Building deeper connections with people in similar situations is invaluable, and ACP gives you expanded brain power and accountability. We have a network of really smart people to lean on. My advice: get involved and get connected.”