Your Team

Your Team

Our Mission

Our mission is to help our clients meet life’s complex financial challenges. Key areas of focus include helping individuals and families:

• Accumulate wealth through asset allocation
• Develop business succession strategies
• Plan for college funding
• Distribute income in retirement
• Close life, long-term care, disability, and other insurance gaps
• Set up wills, trusts, private foundations, and other estate planning vehicles with their attorneys.
• Execute tax-reduction strategies

As independent financial professionals, we strive to develop, implement, and maintain a plan that targets your needs and goals, even as they change over time. Though the markets may be unpredictable, our service will never falter. Our goal is to select the best products for your circumstances and to propose cost-effective, tax-efficient solutions that meet your personal financial needs. We strive for low expense ratios as it can result in higher rates of return.

Your success is our objective! Service is our top priority.

Please click on each of our photos for more information.

 

Trailhead Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.

Jim Zien, CFP®

Private Wealth Advisor

Jim is an outdoorsman who loves spending time with his wife, Cindy; his daughter Kate; and his yellow lab Mack. He is passionate about his many hobbies, including fly and deep-sea fishing, vegetable gardening, woodworking, and tending to his orchard. Jim and Cindy make the ultimate DIY team and are always looking for the next project.

Jim grew up in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, and has lived in Suffield, Connecticut for more than 25 years. He attended college at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where he played football for 5 years (the extra year being an advantage of the Canadian collegiate sports league!) and obtained a BA in business and English. Jim and Cindy were married in 1981 and lived in New York City shortly for 7 years.

Jim began his career in the financial field in 1983 when he purchased an Options Principal Member Seat on the American Stock Exchange where he traded his own money and was responsible for all aspects of his company. This is when he developed a passion for the analytics of investing, following trends, and learning how to use them to remove emotion from trading decisions. In 1987, Jim moved to private practice with IDS Financial, the predecessor of Ameriprise Financial and American Express Financial advisors. After being promoted to district manager in 1990 and then to vice president in 1995, he decided to make the switch back to helping individual clients in private practice in 2003.

Jim founded Trailhead Financial LLC, an independent financial planning and investment services company in 2018. His more than 30 years of experience in the industry led him to partner with Commonwealth Financial Network®, a company that better aligns with his goals, priorities, and visions for the future. Now with the support from his partnership with Commonwealth, he is better able to focus on helping clients navigate and celebrate their big life events.

An experienced investment manager and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional since 2003, Jim is equipped to provide advice and recommendations ranging all topics from establishing a buy/sell agreement for your business, interpreting your retirement benefits package, creating a SIMPLE or SEP IRA for your small business, and more.

One subject many clients have a difficult time broaching is that of estate planning. It can be very overwhelming to think about what happens after you are gone and how to best serve your family and your community. Jim and Kate, the advisors of Trailhead Financial, believe that being a part of the estate planning process is essential, starting by attending any meetings with estate and/or eldercare attorneys. Having us present ensures that we are up to speed on how your accounts and beneficiaries should be listed and allows us to make quick changes. All too often clients are unable to explain how their wills or trusts are structured and if they are even funded. Having your financial advisor a part of the process from the start adds someone else to your team who can help answer questions and make sure your documents stay up to date and aligned with your goals.

Estate planning client service often spans a number of years prior to and after the execution of the trust documents. To that end, Jim and Kate have a succession plan in place to ensure client service continuity for the next generation to not only estate planning clients but to all our trusted clients. We stand committed to helping our clients for many years to come.

Kate Zien, CLTC®

Financial Advisor

Kate was born and raised in Suffield, Connecticut, and yes, she is Jim’s daughter! Now settled in Somers, Connecticut, she loves to hike, travel, garden, and often spends time trying to DIY that project she found online.  

Kate graduated magna cum laude from Moravian College in 2014 with honors for her BA in economics. Her honors status was granted due to her paper “Optimal Currency Areas: The Euro Zone Experience.” She was a four-year varsity tennis player with the DIII program, leading as the captain during her junior and senior years.

After graduating, Kate joined Jim’s practice at Ameriprise Financial as a paraplanner. She was promoted to an associate financial advisor in 2016 when she began to work directly with her own clients, then transitioned over to Trailhead Financial LLC as a financial advisor in 2018.

With every interaction, one of Kate’s main objectives is to ensure her clients understand and feel comfortable with each decision that is made. All too often, individuals are put off by the investment and financial planning process because no one has ever taken the time to explain each step in a way that is easy to digest and leaves you feeling confident.

Starting the process of saving early is invaluable and part of the reason Trailhead Financial seeks out clients in the accumulation phase of their lives. Often meeting with the children of existing clients, Kate enjoys working with younger clients to help create a strong financial foundation on which to build. We have found the most effective way to help individuals accomplish their financial goals is through developing a personalized financial plan. Financial plans centered on starting or growing a family, paying down student loans, planning for retirement and much more can help clients visualize what needs to be done to achieve their goals. We continue to monitor and track progress, updating goals as they are reached and working to sidestep unexpected roadblocks as they occur. Kate believes helping clients understand their investment options and retirement plans as well as establishing the habit of saving a little every month are the first steps to financial success.

Another passion of Kate's is working towards a more sustainable future. There are a lot of different ways to support our world and our communities: by shopping local, trying to avoid single use plastics whenever possible, and reusing/repurposing the objects we already have. But did you know your investments can work towards this goal as well? Trailhead Financial LLC has developed an entire investment portfolio specifically dedicated to ESG (environmental, social, governance) focused investing. Funds in this portfolio aim to invest in companies that not only work towards becoming friendlier to our planet, but also encourage diversity in the workplace, fair labor practices, strive for best-in-class corporate governance practices, and much more. Contact Kate to learn more about ESG and socially responsible investing!

Kate holds the Certified in Long-Term Care® (CLTC®) designation, her insurance license, and FINRA series 7 and 66 securities registration with Commonwealth Financial Network® as a registered advisor. She is currently studying for her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® certification.

Dennis Gero

Research Assistant

Dennis graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts in 1969 with a BS in chemical engineering. He worked in the chemical industry for 20 years as a process engineer, safety, health and environmental engineer, production control supervisor, production supervisor, information technology supervisor, and human resources director. He worked for four years in the electronics industry as a human resources consultant.  In 1993, he became a financial advisor. Dennis and Jim worked for the same firm for several years, then joined their practices in 2012.  Dennis holds FINRA Series 7 and 66 securities registrations and insurance licenses.  He provides support for Jim and Kate on investment selection, portfolio design, monitoring the markets and the economy, trading, and other strategies and activities as needed.

He currently lives in Cummington, Masschusetts, with his wife, Linda.