When Leo and Meg Peters* walked into the bank, they were in distinctly different moods.
The Peters were coming to Truist to talk with wealth advisor Ben Yannuzzi about selling their health care business. Leo was really excited about all the things he could do after the sale. Not on the list? Slowing down.
Meg, meanwhile, was far less excited. “You work too hard, and I’m afraid you’re going to have a heart attack before you can enjoy anything. You need a vacation,” she told her husband.
So prior to focusing on the sale of the business, Yannuzzi suggested the couple take some much-needed time off. They hadn’t been on anything even resembling a vacation in more than three years. Yannuzzi said to Leo, “You’ve told me all the things you’ve done in the last six months, and all the things you want to do, but if you drop dead from working 80 hours a week, what does all this success even mean?”
They took the trip.
""...if you drop dead from working 80 hours a week, what does all this success even mean?"
Real relationships. Real value.
This wasn’t the first time Truist had helped the Peters see the bigger picture around their finances.
A few years before, the couple, who had a small-business account at heritage BB&T, told financial advisor Evan Fishman about their plans to sell their business. Fishman was plugged in to Truist’s strong network of experts across financial services. So he called Jasleen Ahuja, Truist market leader, to help them. Ahuja got to know the couple very well. “It’s a real relationship,” she says. “They know they can text me at night.”
Ahuja realized the sale of the business could be a game-changer in terms of income, so she and Fishman got the help of Yannuzzi and in-market planner Kevin Burke to help manage the returns that were coming to the Peters. Burke developed a plan for Leo Peters and his business partner that included a checklist of things they should think about before the sale. “The ideas that we identified were really impactful,” says Burke.
“One thing that’s nice in my job is you can really assist people from more of a holistic perspective,” he says.
Through thick and thin, a team forms
The sale of the business was in process—until the COVID-19 pandemic. The Peters had to turn their focus to getting a paycheck protection program loan for one of their other businesses, which was faltering as contracts were frozen until people could get back onto worksites.
It was in the midst of these transactions that Meg admitted she didn’t feel confident about the nuances of finances, and she wanted to learn more. Her background is in health care. “I can fix your broken leg. But I don’t know the difference between a stock and a bond,” she said.
So the team began regular phone calls with Meg, along with her daughter, teaching them about estate planning and investing. “She developed an understanding of why the family was making this or that financial decision,” says Yannuzzi.
In the fall of 2020, the Peters’ larger business sold. Yannuzzi is loath to take credit for the sale. “I’m one of about 15 people who helped them,” he says.
Using teamwork to achieve a goal
“Business banking, Truist Wealth, our Truist Life Insurance Services team, and the credit team all helped this client,” says Burke, who adds that Truist has “a kind of homegrown network internally that we’re able to leverage.”
Advocating for the interests of Peters is just one example of how Truist lives its purpose of inspiring and building better lives and communities, Burke says. “Enabling economic success has a snowball effect. When you help people capture the value of the wealth they built, it helps them to fulfill their purpose of taking care of their family.”
“Our goal is to help the client drive toward the best possible outcome,” says Yannuzzi.
"Our goal is to help the client drive toward the best possible outcome."
“If they are happy, they’re providing happiness to others,” says Ahuja. “They’re passing it on, they’re successful, they’re hiring more people. That’s building better communities.”
Today, with the sale of their large business behind them, Leo is—as Yannuzzi puts it—“looking at bright-eyed, bushy-tailed CEOs of tiny little garage companies to see if they have merit” for investing.
And Meg and her daughter feel a lot more confident about finances.
But most important? The Peters are taking vacations every single month.
*Editor’s note: The names and identity of the clients in this story have been changed to protect their privacy.