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Achieving Balance

Efficiency and a great staff help make this dream a reality.


There is a “must-have” in the office of 36-year-old Michael R. McNaughton, CFP, CLU, LUTCF, of The Oakwood Group in Webster, N.Y.: It is cable television. “We have every cartoon network channel that’s available because our clients’ kids are constantly visiting. Clients know they can bring their kids in, and they’ll feel comfortable here,” he says.

An MDRT member, a member of Rochester AIFA since 1991 and currently its president, McNaughton says it is in part this comfort level that attracts young clients to his practice.

“The young professionals are facing the same struggles and challenges that my partner and I face—trying to balance work, family, finances,” he says. “They need a wide variety of our services, from planning for the kids’ education to retirement planning. I think they take comfort knowing that we’re doing the exact same things that they’re doing.”

With three children—9, 8 and 5 years old, McNaughton and his wife, who owns her own graphic-design business, are time-crunched, just like McNaughton’s clients.

The McNaughton clan recently completed three science fair projects—no small feat, to be sure. “The challenge was getting them all done ahead of time, because they were due the day after we were returning from a few days at Disney that I had tacked onto a conference I was attending,” he says.


Maintaining a balance
McNaughton obviously does a great job in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Efficiency, a commitment to family time, his office location and great staffing help make it possible.

“My office is less than a mile away from my house, so my commuting time is limited. I also made a promise that I will only work one evening at the most during the week, which forces me to be more efficient in scheduling appointments,” he says. “And we have two-and-a-half staff people. This also allows me to get out of the office, know that it’s going to be taken care of and spend the time with the family. You can’t do it all.”

McNaughton draws energy from the sheer challenge of raising a family, running a successful business and being involved in the community and his local AIFA.

“I’m a board member for Quad-A for Kids, a program that provides inner-city children in Rochester with athletics and arch-type programs—to keep them busy between the time they get out of school and the time when their parents get home,” says McNaughton, “I run a basketball program on Friday afternoons. The kids get to play basketball, but they also learn about good eating habits.

As Rochester AIFA’s president, McNaughton is helping the association celebrate its 100th anniversary. He also understands the importance of advocacy for the association and the industry. “One of the many reasons I’m involved in the association,” he says, “is to keep an eye on what’s happening on the regulatory side of things in our industry. It’s constantly changing, so were always trying to keep up.”

A thirst for challenge
Many would collapse at the thought of what McNaughton accomplishes in a day, a week or a month. Where does he get the energy? “I think it’s just the drive to have a successful business practice. Making MDRT comes with having a successful business. I need the thrill, the challenge of running the practice and trying to balance everything. There’s sort of an addiction to it,” he says.

Luckily for his clients, his family and his business partner, McNaughton gets a rush as he tackles each day: “I love getting up in the morning knowing that I’m not only going to help my clients, but also building a practice that I can be proud of.”


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