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Transparency with Diana B.: Dealing With the Emotional and Physical Abuse of the Past



When he was about six or seven years old, Rob Bartenstein’s parents got divorced. The rest of childhood had its ups and downs, with some emotional and, at times, physical abuse caused by the men in his mother’s life.

His family also faced financial hardships, especially when his stepfather declared bankruptcy. Living on government cheese, processed cheese provided to welfare beneficiaries, the family had very little money to get by, putting further strain on the adults raising him. He eventually found his way into the military, which put him on a better path. But then an expected hospitalization and risky heart operation ended his military career and changed his perspective on life.    

In this episode, Diana Britton, managing editor at WealthManagement.com, speaks with Bartenstein, CEO at Kestra Private Wealth Services in Austin. He shares some painful memories of his upbringing and describes how he ended up in financial services.

You will learn:

  • What Rob’s childhood was like
  • The emotional and physical abuse Rob dealt with at a young age
  • How Rob navigated through the dark moments in his life
  • How his life experiences informed his worldview, and ultimately his path to financial services

 Listen now to hear Rob’s life story and how several events led him to where he is now.

Resources: WealthManagement.com | Diana Britton LinkedIn | Kestra Private Wealth Services | Rob Bartenstein on LinkedIn | Contact Rob Bartenstein | Contact Diana


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Transparency with Diana B.: A Tremendous Loss on 9/11 and the Path Forwards



Sept. 11, 2001 is a day most Americans can’t forget, when Al-Qaida coordinated four terrorist attacks against the United States, including on the Twin Towers in downtown Manhattan. 

But for Chloe Wohlforth, managing director of Angeles Wealth Management in New York, it was the day she lost her father. Chloe was a junior in high school at the time, and that day her father went into work at Sandler O’Neill, an investment bank with offices on the 104th floor of the South Tower. He didn’t come home, and that tragic event would shape the rest of her life. 

In the midst of this extreme tragedy, there was uncertainty surrounding her family’s financial situation; her father was always in charge of the finances. Fortunately, a family friend stepped in, and introduced Chloe and her mother to a financial advisor, who supported them during that extremely difficult time and helped them find financial security. 

In this episode, Diana Britton, managing editor at WealthManagement.com, speaks with Chloe, who shares how the events unfolded and the blessings that 9/11 has brought to her life, despite the loss.  

In this episode you will learn:

  • What happened on 9/11 for Chloe and the following days
  • How Chloe and her mom were able to find financial security 
  • About the support offered by Sandler O’Neill following the attacks
  • How Chloe’s human connections and opportunities lead her to the advisory space
  • How her experiences have shaped the work she does now at Angeles Wealth Management
  • And more.

Listen now to Chloe’s story and how the emotional and financial support from others made a difference in her life.

Resources: WealthManagement.com | Diana Britton LinkedIn | Angeles Investments | Contact Chloe | Contact Diana


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Transparency with Diana B.: On the Brink of Bankruptcy



Every FINRA-registered rep is required to publicly disclose on their BrokerCheck profile certain events, such as regulatory actions, client complaints, and terminations. But the regulator also requires reps to disclose certain personal financial events, such as tax liens.

Advisor Justin Reckers has always been transparent on his U4 about his troubles, which included a short sale on a home by his former wife, an employment separation and tax liens. But despite the disclosures, those things hurt his career, and brought him to the brink of bankruptcy. It all started with this short sale on his former home, something he really didn’t have anything to do with and had no control over.

In this episode, Diana Britton, managing editor at WealthManagement.com, speaks with Reckers, lead financial advisor at Fonte Financial Advisors, and CEO of Wellspring Divorce Advisors in Carlsbad, Calif. Justin shares details about how his past affected his career in financial services, but also how he has come back from those troubles.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The events that led up to Justin’s money problems
  • How his two divorces affected his personal finances and business career
  • The importance of taking your own advice
  • How these events helped shape Justin’s work
  • How he built up his current business from $12 million to nearly $100 million today
  • And more.

 Listen now to hear Justin’s story and the lessons he has learned from his past experiences.

Resources: WealthManagement.com | Diana Britton LinkedIn | Justin Reckers LinkedIn | Contact Justin | Contact Diana


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Transparency with Diana B.: Dealing with Personal Traumas of the Past



Growing up the son of a firefighter, Brian Walsh Jr. was taught to give back to the community and help others, and that led him to pursue one of the most difficult jobs in the U.S. military as a Navy SEAL (Sea, Air, Land), the country’s special operations team. But, just days before he was set to enter the SEALs’ training program, he got into a serious car accident while driving home from Baltimore, and his life suddenly changed.

Walsh survived, against all odds, and went on to become a police officer. But he experienced even more personal trauma in that role, and not dealing with it ultimately led him to thoughts of suicide and a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.  

In this episode, Diana Britton, managing editor at WealthManagement.com, speaks with Brian Walsh Jr., a senior financial advisor at Walsh and Nicholson Financial Group in Wayne, Pa. who shares details about the rock bottom time in his life, and how he sought help and healing.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What led Brian to became interested in the military
  • How his training in mixed martial arts possibly saved his life
  • The challenges and life lessons he experienced as a police officer
  • His mental state after leaving the police force
  • How he overcame PTSD
  • How his personal trauma has shaped him and his work as an advisor
  • And more.

 Listen now to hear Brian’s story.

 Resources: WealthManagement.com | Diana Britton LinkedIn | Brian Walsh LinkedIn | Walsh and Nicholson Financial Group |  Contact Diana | Contact Brian


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Transparency with Diana B: Battling Lymphoma in the Midst of a Pandemic



Douglas Duerr was having medical issues for three years, including various skin problems and swollen lymph nodes. During that time, he was misdiagnosed and blown off by doctors, many of whom said he was a perfectly healthy man. His bloodwork kept coming back normal. But Doug knew his body, and it was telling him something was wrong. 

After a long time searching for answers, Doug was finally diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, last February, just before COVID sent the U.S. into lockdown. 

In this episode, Diana Britton, managing editor at WealthManagement.com, chats with Douglas Duerr, founder of Duerr Financial Group in Montville, N.J., who shares the details of his recent battle with lymphoma, including how the illness has affected his life and business practice. Thankfully, he’s currently in remission. 

You will learn:

  • The events that led up to Doug’s lymphoma diagnosis
  • The emotional and physical toll the treatment had on him
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic impacted him—in good and bad ways
  • How his faith helped him get through this rough period
  • How Doug kept his practice going during this time
  • And more.

Listen now to hear how Douglas’s persistence––and refusal to ignore minor health warnings––saved his life.

Resources:  WealthManagement.com | Diana Britton LinkedIn | Contact Douglas Duerr | Contact Diana | Transparency with Diana B.: How John Hyland Fought Cancer and Won—Three Times 


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Transparency with Diana B.: How a Life-Threatening Discovery Can Change Your Practice



One incident can change everything. Everything you once believed in, and worked towards can be turned upside down. 

In this installment, guest host David Lenok, senior wealth planning editor at wealthmanagement.com, sits down with Craig Hersch, estate attorney and CPA. Craig shares his story of suddenly discovering he had a life-threatening cardiac problem, and how that changed his life and practice. 

In this episode, you will learn:

  • When Craig first suspected something was wrong and how he reacted
  • The enhancements Craig had to implement for his business after his surgery
  • Why you should be selective with employers
  • Two questions that have changed Craig’s perspective on his work life
  • The importance of providing clients with comfort and clarity
  • And more!

Listen now as Craig shares how his brush with death turned his outlook on life and practice around, shifting toward a healthier and happier working life

Resources: WealthManagement.com | Diana Britton | David Lenok | Craig R Hersch LinkedIn


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Transparency with Diana B.: Life in a Wheelchair



Shortly after Jonathan’s parents noticed his struggle to crawl as a baby, he was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic disease affecting the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system and voluntary muscle movement. He has been in a wheelchair ever since and now aspires to become financially independent, no longer having to navigate the bureaucratic systems, like Medicaid, that present numerous hurdles for people with disabilities. 

In this episode of Transparency with Diana B., Diana Britton, managing editor of WealthManagement.com, talks to Jonathan Greeson, founder of Jonathan Greeson Financial Planning in Pikeville, N.C., about how SMA has impacted his life. 

Jonathan discusses the cost of living with a disability like SMA, what it was like to become a financial advisor, and what drives his sense of purpose today. 

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How Jonathan’s childhood experience compares to adulthood
  • About his experience in a coma and a vision he had 
  • What expenses are involved in having a disability like SMA
  • What challenges Jonathan experienced when he first became a financial advisor
  • How using a wheelchair has shaped who he is today
  • How his faith has helped him find healing and realize he’s meant for a greater purpose
  • And more.

Tune in now to hear about Jonathan’s experiences living with SMA. 

Resources: WealthManagement.com | Diana Britton | Contact Diana | Jonathan Greeson Financial Planning | My Online Angel by Jonathan Greeson | Contact Jonathan


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Transparency with Diana B.: Six Years Sober



Growing up in the 1970s in the bay area of California, Tim Brisson never had alcoholism in his family. But he was raised with the notion that “children were to be seen and not heard,” so he grew up not knowing how to deal with his emotions, feelings and disappointments in life. 

So later in life, after he had gone through law school and become a partner in a patent law firm, he turned to alcohol as a way to numb his feelings. As a partner at that firm, Brisson says the job was hard, stressful and involved a lot of travel, away from his family. The pressure got to him, as it does many attorneys, who tend to experience problematic drinking at higher rates than other professionals. 

In this episode of Transparency, WealthManagement.com Managing Editor Diana Britton is joined by Tim Brisson, an estate planning attorney in Auburn, Calif., who shares his journey with alcoholism and recovery. 

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How alcohol got a hold of Tim
  • How music and his faith have been healing factors in his life
  • Background on Alcoholics Anonymous
  • How his experience overcoming alcoholism has shaped his work as an estate attorney 
  • How he became a law enforcement chaplain
  • What his work as a chaplain can teach us about addiction and recovery
  • How folks with family or friends who struggle with addiction can offer support
  • And more.

Tune in, as Tim shares his experience and advice for those struggling with addiction. 

Resources: WealthManagement.com | Email Diana B


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Transparency With Diana B.: When a Sudden Health Crisis Hits in a Foreign Land



About six years ago, when financial advisor Esther Szabo and her then-husband David boarded a cruise ship headed for Russia, she never expected their grand vacation would end with him on a stretcher in a medevac.

Many of us are faced with feelings of uncertainty and hopelessness, whether it’s due to COVID-19, the volatile markets, or our political system. But we can learn a lot from Esther’s experience; she braved her way through a very scary and uncertain time in Russia, when her late husband went into cardiac arrest in the middle of their vacation. 

In this episode of Transparency with Diana B., Diana Britton, managing editor of WealthManagement.com, talks to Esther, the founder and CEO of Gates Pass Advisors, about what she went through during those several weeks when David was fighting for his life in a Russian hospital. 

She shares in this episode that it was an emotionally difficult time for her, but it was also very challenging from a logistical and financial standpoint. That’s where her planning background kicked in. 

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How the ordeal unfolded for Esther and her husband 
  • Why she says that nothing can take the place of human support during a crisis
  • How to go about asking for help
  • What decisions Esther had to make once they were back in the U.S.
  • How the ordeal has helped her deal with fear in other areas of her life
  • How routine and connection helped get her through those several weeks
  • How her experience shaped her and the work she does with her women clients
  • And more.

Listen now as Esther recounts this life-changing scenario and the complexities of navigating a health crisis in a foreign country.

Resources: WealthManagement.com | Diana Britton | Contact Diana | Gates Pass Advisor | Women and Wealth Podcast


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Transparency With Diana B.: The Gifts and Trials That Come With Dyslexia



Dyslexia is the most common of all neurocognitive disorders, but contrary to what many may believe, some of the most innovative people in the country have dyslexia, including Charles Schwab and Bill Gates, to name a few. There are so many benefits and gifts that come with dyslexia, if only our society embraced people with the disorder and knew how to harness it. 

Advisor Daren Blonski is also in that camp, having struggled with dyslexia throughout his life. From an early age, he would be filled with anxiety when teachers would call on him to read aloud. Once he entered college, he was officially tested and discovered he had dyslexia, changing his plans for college. But he always had to work harder than others to succeed in academia. After years of diligent work, he graduated and went on to become successful within the financial industry. 

Diana Britton, managing editor of WealthManagement.com is joined by Blonski, managing principal of Sonoma Wealth Advisors. He recounts his experiences with dyslexia and how the challenges shaped him as a person. He also discusses the impact of dyslexia on society, the success of some and the challenges even more face.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • About his early life with dyslexia 
  • How his work ethic and efforts got him through school
  • How his struggles have shaped his outlook on life and career 
  • The lessons he learned by facing his struggles
  • About the gifts that dyslexia can bring to a person 
  • What one prison in Texas can teach us about phonemic awareness and larger societal issues 
  • And more.

Tune in now to discover the benefits and struggles of those with dyslexia.

WealthManagement.com | Diana Britton | Contact Daren | Sonoma Wealth Advisors | Contact Diana