Published February 18, 2003
Volume 11, Number 2

Cents and Sensibility Helps You Make Sense of Your Dollars
Holistic Approach to Financial Planning Looks at the Big Picture
Cents and Sensibility
Erin Kincheloe and Sharon Almeida started Cents and Sensibility in 2000,
after the pair had worked together at another firm.

By George Walsh
Network Editor

Enlisting the advice and help of a financial planner can help you to prepare for your monetary future, whether you’re thinking about retirement, buying a house, or sending a child to college. However, in choosing someone to help to plan, it’s important to find a planner or firm that can look at your individual situation and help you to target the financial goals that you think are important. This requires a personal relationship between the financial advisor and the client-something that Cents and Sensibility thinks is very important.

Cents and Sensibility was started in 2000 by Erin Kincheloe, who has been in the financial services business for 17 years, and Sharon Almeida, who has been in the business for 16 years. The two, who were co-workers at another firm, decided to go into business together based on the fact that they had a lot of things in common in terms of how they wanted to approach financial services and their clients. They opened their office in Hacienda at 5976 W. Las Positas Blvd. Suite 214 in July 2002.

Cents and Sensibility provides both commission-based and fee-based financial services, as well as educational seminars. “We do a lot of retirement planning and investment planning,” says Almeida, president of Cents and Sensibility. “We take a very comprehensive approach to financial planning. We're always looking at the bigger picture, including issues around tax planning, risk management, estate planning and how they all tie together. For most people, one of their biggest goals is retirement planning, so that often takes the leading focus.”

In addition to offering one-on-one financial planning, Cents and Sensibility also presents seminars to educate people about financial issues. “We’ve done seminar in a variety of different places on a number of topics,” says Kincheloe, director of educational services for the company. “We go out to schools to put on a session for educators to help them learn how they can plan for a successful retirement using their particular benefits. We also have a seminar called Financial Wellness For Women that we’ve presented at community centers, universities, and credit unions.”

While Cents and Sensibility serves many male clients and families, Almeida and Kincheloe consider their company to be “female friendly.” “Our approach is more of a relational approach to money as opposed to an analytical approach,” Kincheloe says. “Obviously, Sharon and I have to be very analytical in what we do for the clients, but our approach when people come in is very relational. What do you want to do in your life? Where do you want to go? What other things are important to you? Tell us about your dreams for your family. We find it’s really a very female approach to life and also to money.”

Cents and Sensibility values its relationships with its customers, which is evidenced by the company’s size. “We actually are a relatively small firm and we stay that way by design,” Kincheloe says. “Currently, we have Sharon and I as the advisors, doing the seminars and giving the actual financial advice and two other employees. It’s not really our goal to be a 100-person office. We know all our clients, we know all their stories, and we know their lives.” When it comes to planning your financial future, the more your advisor knows about you, the better.

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