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Clear Direction for Your Financial Life


 Financial planning and asset management in Ames, Iowa




NAFPA financial advisors, clarity asset management




A Fee-Only + Fiduciary Team in Ames, Iowa

As a fee-only financial planning and asset management firm, we believe we are best-fitted to truly partnering with clients. With our compensation method, we seek to avoid conflicts of interest that exist when a typical financial advisor gives advice but also seeks to sell investment or insurance products. As a fiduciary team, we are committed and obligated to only working together for your benefit, always putting your best interest first.










The History of Clarity Asset Management, Inc.

Clarity Asset Management, Inc. was founded in 1998 and merged with Resource Planning Group, Inc. in 2012. Don Erickson started Resource Planning Group in 1986 in order to offer objective advice focused on retirement planning, investment planning, and estate planning. He later helped form Clarity in order to offer an unbiased approach to the management of the financial plans of his clients.


Learn more about our team


Peace of Mind

Nearly everyone's primary financial concern is achieving financial independence or a peaceful retirement: "I don't want to outlive my money!" Whether your goal is to enjoy living somewhere warm, spending more time with loved ones, or getting more involved in your favorite organization, someday you will want to have the ability to pursue those goals without being required to work full-time. We help clients develop retirement, investment, and estate plans that serve their life purposes and goals, leading to financial health.

Customized, Interactive Financial Planning

We help you accomplish your goals through an ongoing trusted relationship utilizing customized financial plans and asset management. The relationship is built upon an understanding of the Tri-Lateral Pillars of Financial Health™ (click on the pillars in the diagram to the right to learn more) which allows us to create, monitor, and modify ongoing financial plans with you while helping you navigate life's transitions. Your assets are then managed according to these financial goals, and within your risk tolerance and risk capacity.

diagramINVESTINGSPENDINGGIVINGUNIFYINGCENTERConcern forFutureGenerationsConcern forFamilyConcern for Community


FAQs

From retirement planning to insurance reviews, investing recommendations and more, our team is here to answer your burning financial questions.


  • Can I afford to retire? When?
  • How should I be invested? I do not understand the risk in my portfolio or what it should be.
  • Do the companies in which I am invested share my values?
  • What kind of estate plan do I need?
  • My spouse recently died and he/she was primarily in charge of our finances...help!
  • How should I handle an inheritance?
  • Do I have adequate life insurance? Can you review my policies?
  • Do I need long term care insurance? What senior living options are available?
  • How can I plan ahead for paying my children's college expenses?
  • What are tax efficient ways for me to gift money to my favorite charities and/or family members?

Helping Iowans Grow In Financial Health

Impacting Families, Communities, and Future Generations

Our Team


Financial matters can become increasingly complex and it's easy to miss the critical elements of successful financial planning. Many people "get lost in the trees while not understanding the layout of the forest". That's why we are here to help. The Clarity Asset Management team is committed to your financial health. Successful financial planning is making wise financial decisions that lead to peace now and in the future.

Don Erickson, ChFC Photo

Don Erickson, ChFC

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Don Erickson

Don Erickson, ChFC

derickson@investmentclarity.com

Don serves as President and CEO of Clarity Asset Management. He has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. 

Don graduated from Iowa State University in 1979. While at ISU, he also lettered as a member of the Cyclone wrestling team.  In 1986, Don started Resource Planning Group, a financial planning firm focused on retirement, investment, and estate planning. His desire was to break away from the traditional approach to financial advising which included gaining commissions from selling certain products. He began with a “fee only” compensation method to allow for objective financial planning while seeking to alleviate any conflicts of interest – and that is how we are still operating today. In 2012,  Resource Planning Group merged with Clarity Asset Management. Don obtained the Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant designations from the American College in 1987.

Don and his wife, Becky, have been together since 1976 and currently reside in Ames. They have two daughters, Amber and Casee, and numerous grandchildren. Don enjoys spending time with his grandkids, volunteering, and doing outdoor activities. He is a past President of the Ames Foundation and the Ames Town & Country Kiwanis. Don is also a past Treasurer of the Story County Community Foundation and Kiwanis.

“I began this company to give people unbiased financial advice from someone they trust. I am still in the business because I enjoy meeting new people and working with them through their unique financial planning issues.”

Steve Larson, CMFC Photo

Steve Larson, CMFC

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Steve Larson

Steve Larson, CMFC

slarson@investmentclarity.com

Steve is currently the Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of Clarity Asset Management, and has worked with Don since January of 2000. Steve’s expertise is in asset management and developing personalized investment portfolios within the context of an overall financial plan.

Steve graduated from Iowa State University in 1975 with a business degree in Industrial Administration. He was employed by Des Moines Savings & Loan and Ames Savings & Loan, from 1975 to 1989, where he was Assistant Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and a member of the Financial Managers Society. He holds the Series 65 license, the Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor designation from the College for Financial Planning, and a Certificate of Financial Planning from the Boston University Center for Professional Education.

A resident of Ames since 1971, Steve and his wife, Shelly, have four children and numerous grandchildren. He is active in theological education and pastoral leadership, his full-time profession from 1989 to 2000. Steve conducted leadership training seminars throughout the United States and Southeast Asia throughout that time and continues to travel to Myanmar and Thailand, helping church networks with leadership training and community development projects. Locally, he serves on the board of the Matthew 25 House, a faith-based halfway house for former inmates, and he helped found the Two Paths mentoring ministry to Story County Jail inmates and their families.

“The field of financial planning and asset management has been a lifelong pursuit for me. I enjoy working with people in trusted relationships, addressing and helping to fix financial health issues. This, I believe, not only benefits those individuals and families but also contributes to the health and prosperity of our whole community. I enjoy communicating the complexities of investing and investment analysis in terms that are easy to understand.”

Kacy Bass, MFCS, CFP® Photo

Kacy Bass, MFCS, CFP®

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Kacy Bass

Kacy Bass, MFCS, CFP®

   kbass@investmentclarity.com

Kacy is a NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional. He works directly with each of our clients facilitating collaborative financial planning.

Kacy grew up in Huxley, IA before heading to the suburbs of Chicago to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies and to compete in college basketball at Trinity International University. After graduation, he moved back to Central Iowa and started his career in financial planning with Clarity in January of 2014. He graduated from Iowa State University with a Master of Family and Consumer Sciences Degree (MFCS) specializing in Family Financial Planning in August of 2018. In January of 2019, Kacy began as a Guest Lecturer at Iowa State University in the financial planning program.

Kacy and his wife, Sophie, live in Ames with their sons, Fred and Kliff. Kacy enjoys being out and about with his family, serving in his church, playing basketball, and cheering on the Cyclones.

“I enjoy the relationships our firm has with our clients, focused on financial stewardship and driven by wisdom. It is humbling and rewarding to have a positive impact on not just our clients' lives, but on their families and the community.”

Deb Conlon Photo

Deb Conlon

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Deb Conlon

Deb Conlon

Deb Conlon is Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, and an Investment Adviser Representative.  She has been with the firm since 1999.  Deb’s role with clients is mainly behind-the-scenes managing client investment objectives, tax implications with trading, cash flow needs, performance reporting, and billing and collection.  

Deb graduated from Iowa State University in 1985 with a B.B.A. degree with an emphasis in Accounting.  She began her career in corporate accounting and has worked mainly part-time since joining Clarity so that she could be involved in her three children’s activities.  She was actively involved in PTO, volunteered in the schools and church classrooms, and coached youth sports.  She later volunteered at HCI Care Services and mentored high school students in the Freedom for Youth program.  She is currently working with the Middle School Youth Group at her church and leading a women’s bible study group in the Bible Study Fellowship program.

Deb and her husband, Mike, reside in Urbandale and have three grown children and two granddaughters.   She enjoys being a grandmother, serving in the community, and being outdoors and active.

“I enjoy analyzing situations that maximize the benefits of our clients’ accounts.  I am happy to be a part of the team in the back office, but love any opportunities to get to know our clients when they come visit.”

Julie Siegel Photo Julie Siegel Hover Photo

Julie Siegel

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Julie Siegel

Julie Siegel

Julie Siegel is the Chief Compliance Officer of Clarity Asset Management. Her role is to oversee all of our activities to make sure we are meeting compliance standards.  

She graduated from Iowa State University in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.  She worked with us from 1995 through 2003 and then returned to the team in 2013 after being home with her children for 10 years.  She has also worked part-time as a bookkeeper for several small businesses and non-profits over the last 20 years.   

Julie and her husband were married in 1993 and have two children and live in Ames.  She enjoys family time, watching her children perform and play sports, being involved with her church family and yoga.  

“I love being a part of the team at Clarity.  I can use my gifts to fill a behind-the-scenes, but necessary, function to help ensure we are providing the very best service to our clients.” 

Nevin Conlon, MAT Photo

Nevin Conlon, MAT

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Don Erickson

Nevin Conlon, MAT

nconlon@investmentclarity.com

Nevin joined our team in 2016 as a Client Service Representative. He oversees all communication, form processing, and handles any service-related questions and issues.

Upon graduating from the University of Northern Iowa with a math education degree, he taught five years of junior high math and coached basketball in Cedar Falls, Iowa. In December 2015, he earned a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). After attending a personal finance course through his church and later teaching a similar mini-course in his junior high school, Nevin decided to make a career change to pursue this passion for helping others with their finances. This decision also includes spending the next few years working toward a Certified Financial Planner designation.

Nevin and his wife, Sami, live in Ankeny with their daughters, Eiley, Nora, and Elsie. He enjoys spending time with family, playing basketball, and participating in various activities and groups through his church.

“I enjoy seeing others succeed and have a passion for being a part of the process to make that happen. Financial planning is personal and while some of the situations we are invited into can be challenging, I love working together to come up with solutions and helping others develop, prioritize, and pursue their life-long goals.”

Serving as the Trusted Financial Advisor in Ames, Iowa

Collaborative Planning, Faithful Management

Our Services



Initial Meeting


Description

This one-time get-to-know-you meeting helps you, and us, decide if we would be a good fit to serve your needs and to decide on a course of action.

Cost

Free

Financial Planning


Description

Collaborating with you, we review your financial goals, analyze and evaluate your current financial status, make recommendations, and assist with accomplishing those recommendations. Our focus is in retirement/cash flow planning, investment allocation, insurance review, and estate planning. This usually involves 2-3 meetings.

Cost

$500
(No payment is owed until the planning process is complete and you are fully satisfied.)

Ongoing Planning & Management


Description

After going through the financial planing process, we may recommend that you consider continuing in an ongoing professional relationship with us.  In addition to financial planning, this includes active investment management, retirement income management, and charitable giving support. We recommend an annual review meeting, but we are available anytime for any need or question that arises. 

Cost

1%/Year of Assets Under Management
(See our ADV for our tiered fee schedule. The fee percentage decreases on accounts over $1 million.)

Collaborative Planning

We begin with getting to know you. Every person and family is different, and your personal values and goals are what we use to develop a financial plan with you.  Your life purpose(s), as noted in the “Tri-Lateral Pillars of Financial Health” as your “unifying center”, is the place where all aspects of your financial health (spending, investing, and giving) are connected.  If you are unsure about what your financial goals are,  through conversation we can help you discern what drives you: your fundamental worldview and how you want to make a difference in your lifetime according to your sense of identity and purpose.  The objective is for you and us to understand this unifying center accurately and harmoniously, and to arrange your lifelong financial plans accordingly.  All plans developed for your financial “pillars” of spending, investing, and giving are then shaped by this center.  For you to be financially healthy, these pillars must work in concert and address all of your concerns for family, community, and future generations.  The plans generated include but are not limited to:

Spending

  • Cash Flow
  • Budgeting
  • Education Planning
  • Life & Long-Term Care Insurance Review
  • Senior Living Planning

Investing

  • Retirement Planning
  • Asset Allocation
  • Investment Recommendations
  • Income Tax Planning

Giving

  • Estate Planning
  • Utilization of Trusts and Trust Funding
  • Charitable Planning
  • Post-Mortem Estate Distributions

Faithful Management

Our asset management approach focuses on the reality that “we are called, together as a team, to the stewardship of a lifelong trusted relationship with you in order to enhance your financial health and the welfare of our community.”  After completing a financial plan with you, we will, together, understand your present and future financial circumstances and anticipated life transitions.  Through conversations and the use of dynamic software, we will agree upon a desired level of risk for your investment portfolio based on your risk tolerance and risk capacity. We are long-term investors, and our focus is to maximize your return within your targeted risk level. Our approach to asset management will relieve you of the concerns of overseeing the preservation and continuity of your wealth while fulfilling your values and goals.

These are the main management objectives:

1. To maintain present standard of living and provide for surviving spouse.

2. To take a reasonable amount of investment risk and to maximize return at that risk level in order to achieve financial goals.

3. To maintain a prudent diversification of the investment assets for the protection and preservation of wealth.

4. To have the ability to meet the financial goals when each is expected to occur.

5. To minimize potential tax liabilities.

6. To transfer assets to family, charities, or other designated heirs.

7. To maintain a level of cash reserves in order to meet planned distribution needs and goals.

8. To periodically monitor and revise the portfolio as required, based on risk-return analyses.


Join us on the second thursday Night of every quarter!


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Quarterly Gatherings

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Thursday, July 9, 2020


5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. at Jethro's BBQ in Ames  


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One of the three essential pillars supporting financial health, and one of our own core values as a firm, is giving – promoting the well-being and prosperity of the communities we serve. This passion for doing good is why we have initiated and are supporting the Community Giving Circle!

Building Community Through Giving

The Community Giving Circle is a group of community members invested in making a difference in Ames and Story County through shared values, shared resources and shared interest in supporting local organizations.

The quarterly gatherings provide the opportunity to network with peers, learn about different organizations in which other members are involved, and impact Ames and Story County non-profit organizations.

  • Come together with like-minded friends to enjoy appetizers, refreshments, and shared conversations
  • Learn about the work being accomplished by non-profit organizations in your community
  • 100% of all contributions will go to non-profit organizations (and are tax deductible) serving Ames and Story County
  • Experience joy in collective giving and seeing the impact of pooled resources
  • IMPACT your community!

How Does It Work?

Community Giving Circle members donate $100/quarter (tax deductible) to the Story County Community Giving Circle Fund (administered by the Story County Community Foundation) to attend the quarterly meeting. At each gathering,  every member will nominate one non-profit organization impacting Story County. Three nominations will be selected at random and the nominees will have a couple of minutes to promote their selected organization. Before the end of the evening, members will vote anonymously for one of the three organizations. The charity with the most votes will receive the total dollars contributed for the evening!


July 11, 2019: Wings of Refuge - $3,520
https://www.wingsofrefuge.net/

April 11, 2019: Food at First - $3,190
https://foodatfirst.wordpress.com/

January 10, 2019: Matthew 25 House - $3,190
https://matthew25house.org/

October 11, 2018: Backpack Buddies in the Ballard Community - $3,630


Is anyone welcome to join?

Yes! The Community Giving Circle is open to anyone who wants to contribute to the good being done in Ames and Story County. One of the neat things about the group is the unity it creates in our community. We welcome everyone who wants to join and is committed to contributing $100 quarterly.

Does my full donation go to charity?
Will my personal information be shared with the non-profits that receive my donation?
Is my donation tax deductible?
What are the rules regarding what types of non-profits that can be nominated?
Can I give more than $100?
How and when do I make my financial contribution?


2019 Membership Form


As a Community Giving Circle member,  I will contribute $300 ($600/couple) to the Story County Community Giving Circle Fund administered by the Story County Community Foundation to be distributed to three chosen non-profits over the course of the three remaining quarterly meetings in 2019. Since a goal of the Community Giving Circle is to recognize and promote local organizations, I understand that I may appear in promotional photos or videos highlighting local organizations and the Community Giving Circle.

*Please make your contribution check out to SCC Giving Circle Fund and mail it to: 

Story County Community Foundation | P.O. Box 1666 | Ames, IA 50010

Financial Planning Guided by Wisdom

Investment Management Driven by Stewardship

Let's Connect


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Address

Clarity Asset Management, Inc.
2117 Philadelphia Street, Suite 100
Ames, IA 50010

Fax

(515) 233-1979

investing tri-lateral pillar


Focus:
Stability and Growth
Motivation:
Preservation of Wealth
Enabling Virtues:
Patience and Contentment
Destructive Vices:
Short-sightedness and Greed
Educational Emphasis:
Modern Portfolio Theory
Planning Tool:
Investment and Retirement Plans
spending tri-lateral pillar


Focus:
Lifestyle and Quality of Life
Motivation:
Enjoyment of Life
Enabling Virtues:
Discipline and Self-Control
Destructive Vices:
Sensuality and Impulsiveness
Educational Emphasis:
Setting Goals and Budgeting
Planning Tool:
Family Budget
giving tri-lateral pillar


Focus:
Making a Difference
Motivation:
Giving Back to Society, Family
Enabling Virtues:
Benevolence and Philanthropy
Destructive Vices:
Indifference and Selfishness
Educational Emphasis:
Estate and Charitable Tax Law
Planning Tool:
Estate and Charitable Plans