CPA profile: Michael R. Bell
- October 28, 2009
MICHAEL R. BELL
Anderson & Reed LLP, Roanoke
Education: Associate’s degree in business administration, Virginia Western Community College; bachelor’s degree in finance, Virginia Tech; master’s degree in accounting, Virginia Tech
Other professional certification: Certified Financial Planner
Children: Kelleyann, 17; Zachary, 10; Victoria, 6
Hobbies: Canoeing, camping, fishing Favorite vacation spot: Topsail Island, N.C.
Favorite meal: “Small salad, large steak, baked potato and a very cold Newcastle Brown Ale.”
Fan of: Virginia Tech Hokies
Recently read: “A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers” by Lawrence G. McDonald
First accounting job: Staff accountant at Coopers & Lybrand in Lynchburg
Career mentors: My parents
How did you become interested in personal financial planning?
“It has really been a natural progression from performing income and estate tax planning. As CPAs, I think we have a strong desire to do what is best for our clients. Plus, we have a great understanding of their needs and resources. So, it seems like a natural fit.”
How have the recession and recent market turmoil affected your clients?
“We have been fortunate that most of our clients are businesses that have not been negatively impacted by the recent downturn. However, for a while I was getting phone calls from people who had been. It was so sad to keep hearing about people losing close to half of their life savings in a matter of weeks. Over the years, the firm has been approached by groups wanting us to provide investment advice. The last couple of years have confirmed that it was a good decision not to go that route.”
What is your best advice for anyone starting a financial plan?
“I would say not to get overwhelmed by the whole process. Start with the basics like having an attorney draft your wills, medical power of attorney and so on. Naming guardians for your children and providing instructions to loved ones on what to do if you become seriously ill are the most important things to take care of first. It amazes me how many people have not done this.”