Dennis K. O’Brien, the founder and president of Coastal Financial Advisors, tells new and prospective NJBIA members that the two best reasons to be part of the state’s largest and most influential business organization are these: opportunities and powerful advocacy.
That is why O’Brien joined NJBIA 17 years ago after launching his financial consulting firm. He wanted to make connections at NJBIA business events with professionals, business owners and nonprofits that could use his financial planning help. But more importantly, he wanted to be part of an organization renowned for having its finger on the pulse of state government and protecting business owners from “some of the wild ideas coming from Trenton,” he says.
Today, as an NJBIA ambassador, he volunteers to help onboard other businesses that are new to NJBIA to ensure they maximize all that membership offers. Beyond business advocacy and the networking opportunities that are so vital to today’s entrepreneurs starting and building businesses, NJBIA also offers a host of money-saving programs, HR support, professional development and training opportunities that help businesses grow and thrive.
“With new members, I talk to them about their business, where they are now, and try to figure out what their needs are and how NJBIA can benefit them the most,” O’Brien says. “I find out what they are looking for and direct them toward the programs or events that NJBIA offers.”
NJBIA’s HR-related seminars that deal with employment laws and other topics such as 401(k) benefits are especially helpful to business owners, he said. He personally has led several NJBIA webinars in the past, including ones on retirement planning and nonprofit board governance.
O’Brien, who also serves on several nonprofit boards, is a registered investment advisor who provides financial advisory and investment management services to individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits. This includes investment management, asset allocation, tax prep, insurance review, cash management, goal and/or life planning, charitable and philanthropic services, trust management, college planning, retirement planning, and estate planning.
“I practice comprehensive financial advising,” O’Brien says. “I believe that when you have one person looking at all your finances, you get one concise plan, as opposed to going to an insurance guy, a tax guy and an investment guy and getting a hodgepodge of information that you then have to decipher.”
O’Brien says Coastal Financial Advisors does not earn commissions to avoid conflicts of interest. It is a fee-only financial advisor firm that acts in an unbiased, fiduciary manner. He has clients who are in their 30s and in their 80s, and he also works with businesses and nonprofits to help them stabilize their finances, grow their assets, and reach their financial goals.
“You do not need a lot of assets to work with me,” O’Brien says. “If someone who doesn’t have assets comes to me and says, ‘Hey Dennis, I’m 35 and I need some direction and I don’t know what I’m doing here, …’ whatever, I work with them.”
O’Brien welcomes the chance to connect with new NJBIA members who have questions about financial planning or getting the most out of their NJBIA membership. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.