Morningstar Magazine - February/March 2018 - 71

he has been drawn to several types of clients,
including executives seeking advice on
compensation and benefits, divorcees, widows
and widowers, and entrepreneurs.
When new clients come to him, Goodman uses
Morningstar Direct to get a handle on their
existing portfolio. He also watches flows into each
fund his clients own to help him get a snapshot
of where the market is headed.
At 51, Goodman is laying the groundwork for
a multigenerational practice that will outlast him.
He has brought on younger associates to
work with the children of his older clients. The firm
has nine financial advisors including himself.
Goodman has also expanded the firm's ownership
base. "My vision is a firm that looks more like
a firm than just one person," he says.
Taxes in the Background

To be sure, taxes hardly play the central role at
Wealthstream they used to. But Goodman still sees
finances through a tax lens. "Every financial
planning decision has a tax implication," he says.
Take the new tax law. A common year-end tax
strategy was to prepay property taxes to
accelerate deductions. Doing so in the waning
days of 2017 would have maximized the
value of that deduction before the $10,000 cap
went into effect. "But by accelerating the
deduction, you could be triggering the [alternative
minimum tax]," Goodman says. "That's the
kind of thing we try to warn our clients about."
Goodman is careful to note that the ultimate
decision about taxes is up to clients' accountants.
"We stir the pot, but the accountant has
to make the final recommendation," he says.
Michael Goodman, CPA/PFS, CFP, president and
principal, Wealthstream Advisors.
How he caught our eye: CPA who transitioned
into financial planning.
Career path: Goodman began his career at Bear
Stearns in operations before moving into accounting.
He worked in the tax and audit department
of Margolin, Winer & Evens, a midsize accounting
firm, and later at KPMG. He founded his own
firm in 1996.

Personal: Married to Maria, also a CPA. They
have two sons, Lewis and Max. Goodman
is an active member of the AICPA, having served
on and chaired many committees, and is a regular
speaker at financial planning conferences.
He founded Commerce Plaza, Inc., a nonprofit
educational program. He also enjoys traveling,
hiking, music, and golf.
Favorite funds: The Dimensional Funds lineup.

As much as Goodman credits taxes for helping him
get his practice where it is today, he's not
relying on them for the future. He's focused on
higher-value services like investment management
and holistic financial advice. "Unfortunately, tax
prep has become a commoditized service,"
he says. "Financial planning is by far the best way
to get value for the client." K
Ilana Polyak is a freelance financial journalist.

global.morningstar.com/Morningstarmagazine

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