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ABOUT US

Why We're Different

FINANCIAL ADVICE YOU CAN TRUST… FOR A CHANGE

1. NO PRODUCT SALES

Our fee-only approach means you get objective advice, not a sales pitch. We do not accept commissions or any outside compensation. You pay us directly so you don’t have to worry that the advice you receive might be influenced by other agendas. We can exclusively focus on finding the best solutions for your needs. Another word for that is “Fiduciary.” We put your interests first.

2. NO CUSTODY

An unusual feature of our practice is that we do not have investment balance minimums nor do we “gather your assets.” Instead, we use the accounts you have or, if they are not serving your best interests, we open retail accounts for you at prominent low-cost investment providers. We never "touch" your money. We help you manage the accounts yourself. You retain complete control over your investments at all times.

3. COMPREHENSIVE

Your financial life involves more than just the stocks, bonds and mutual funds in your portfolio. At Taconic Advisors we consider all aspects of your financial picture and offer guidance with:

  • Tax planning
  • Risk Analysis/Insurance Review
  • Real Estate
  • Annual Spending Plans and Budgets
  • Goal Assessment
  • Estate Planning
  • Investment Review, Portfolio Design and Implementation
  • Consolidating and Organizing Accounts

4. PERSONALIZED

No two clients are exactly alike, so your financial plan should be as unique as you are. After getting to know you and your goals, we take the time to build a plan together and educate you along the way so you can better understand what is happening with your money.


CHARLES "CHIP" SIMON, CFP® Photo
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CHARLES "CHIP" SIMON, CFP®

CHARLES "CHIP" SIMON, CFP®

Chip is a NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor, Certified Financial Planner™ Professional and founder of Taconic Advisors, Inc. He has been spreading the gospel about the benefits of financial planning without financial product sales to the mid-Hudson Valley since 2002.

Chip received training in all areas of personal financial planning through Marist College and specialized training in financial planning techniques through the Alliance of Comprehensive Planners (ACP).  He received his B.A. from Colgate University in 1974 and holds a graduate degree in Accounting from New York University. He was trained in accounting and finance at KMPG Peat Marwick in New York City and had over 10 years financial management experience before entering the field of personal financial planning. In 2019 he was the recipient of ACP’s Stewart Farnell Award for Exemplary Coaching.

He currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley as well as the governance body for his parish. In the past he chaired the Board of ACP and sat on the Boards of the Chamber Foundation and Mental Health Association as well as chairing the annual American Heart Association Heart Ball. 

Chip is married to Karen Hansen Simon, a happily retired ex-CPA partner, formerly with Sedore and Company, CPAs, LLP. They enjoy vacation travel and community events together, as well as the company of their children, Scott & Emma.  They do tend to go separate ways with hobbies, however.  Chip enjoys cooking and golf while Karen leans toward tennis, mah-jongg, and taking the lead on doing the dishes.

MEREDITH W. BRIGGS, CFP® Photo
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MEREDITH W. BRIGGS, CFP®

MEREDITH W. BRIGGS, CFP®

Meredith graduated from Duke University in 2001 and began her financial services career in 2005 in Richmond, Virginia. After experiencing several significant family events she was inspired to develop a career helping individuals and families meet their financial goals.

She completed the rigorous exams for the Series 7, Series 66 and Life and Health Insurance licenses and began working with individuals, families and small businesses. But, as Meredith became more experienced in her field, she also became more concerned with the typical role of a financial advisor as “salesperson” and “asset gatherer” and the lack of focus on clients' financial goals.

In 2009 Meredith became a Certified Financial Planner™ and joined a fee-only wealth management company where she worked as the lead advisor and created and monitored comprehensive financial plans, tax projections and their corresponding investment strategies.  In 2011 Meredith moved to the Hudson Valley to be closer to family and joined a large wealth management company providing financial planning services to clients employed at local non-profit organizations. 

In 2016, Meredith became a co-owner and shareholder in Taconic Advisors. She is excited to help steer the future direction of the company and bring more awareness of fee-only planning to the community.

JOHN A. KELLY, CFP® Photo
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JOHN A. KELLY, CFP®

JOHN A. KELLY, CFP®

After graduating from Adelphi University in 2008, John began his career in finance on the precipice of the U.S. financial crisis.  John obtained the Series 7, Series 6 and Life Accident and Health licenses while working for a large financial services company in the heart of Manhattan. 

John gained invaluable experience supporting a successful advisory team. He had the opportunity to interact with thousands of clients and helped to coordinate billions of dollars in assets.  However, after working in the industry for nearly a decade, it became obvious that the success of the company’s clients would often come second to that of their advisors.  With that understanding, John decided it was time to go in search of a new paradigm, and so he moved from Manhattan to the Hudson Valley in August of 2016.

Luckily, his search was brief, and in March 2017 he joined Taconic Advisors as the Financial Planning Assistant to Charles “Chip” Simon and Meredith Briggs. John is absolutely thrilled to have found the company of like-minded individuals and after completing the rigorous requirements fort the CFP® designation he is now taking a lead role with client relationships.

John lives with his astonishingly wonderful wife, Megan, in Beacon, NY.  They enjoy traveling, spending time outdoors and exploring all that the Hudson Valley offers.    

MICHELLE M. GAYE Photo
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MICHELLE M. GAYE

Michelle is a CFP® Candidate who has been working in Financial Planning since May 2019, following several years of experience in financial analysis and accounting. She graduated from Marist College in 2015 with a B.S. in Finance, where she competed on the Cross Country and Track teams for four years. She subsequently completed a Masters in Sport Management at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas while serving as the graduate assistant for the Cross Country team and competing as an athlete in outdoor track. 

Michelle has always been curious about becoming a Financial Advisor, however, she was disillusioned by the approach of many financial firms that emphasize product sales. Discovering the concept of fee-only financial planning changed the course of her career. Her passion for athletics and teamwork were a natural match for the goal-setting and coaching aspects of helping clients achieve financial health and peace of mind. With a strong belief in holistic financial planning, Michelle is very happy to be part of the Taconic Advisors team.

 

Michelle lives in Dutchess County with her fiancé, Joel.   In her free time Michelle enjoys meditation, hiking, exercising outdoors, cooking, reading, and listening to podcasts.

KAREN EHLERS Photo
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KAREN EHLERS

KAREN EHLERS

Karen began her career in higher education in 1979 when, fresh out of Hartwick College, she was hired as a Financial Aid Counselor at Marist College. Within two years, she became the Director, expanding the staff and managing a budget of 26 million dollars. (That was a lot of money, at the time - especially for a 24 year old!) In 1988 Karen moved to Vassar College as an Assistant Director of Financial Aid. There she worked for her former boss on a 10-month contract and relished her summers off!  While at Vassar she created a new office for Student Employment where she was responsible for managing jobs, placement and payroll for over 1500 students.  Karen ‘retired’ from higher education in December 2005.

After a year of being a gym rat (and babysitting for family) Karen was a bit bored. She always liked numbers and her checking account wasn’t all that interesting.  She mentioned this to Chip’s wife, Karen, who suggested that he speak to her about a role at Taconic Advisors, and the “Most Esteemed Assistant” was born. Karen started with Taconic Advisors in the spring of 2007. She’s been happily playing with numbers ever since and has developed the role of Administrative Manager.

Karen met her husband, Stephen, while she was at Marist. Stephen is now retired from a successful career in the law and they split their time between Poughkeepsie and their lake house, Fairwinds, on Schroon Lake. They enjoy sailing (him) biking (her) and gardening together. And what a garden!  It is built on a hillside, predominantly shade, entirely perennial, mostly native and features almost 150 varieties of hosta. They love to entertain friends and family and believe they are the luckiest two people on the planet.

CATHY THIEIE Photo
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CATHY THIEIE

Cathy has extensive business experience managing projects, events, and department operations. Her career has spanned over four decades and includes positions in music entertainment, documentary film, recruitment, finance, and higher education. 

She began her career in the music entertainment industry as a receptionist at Record Plant Studios in New York City. While answering phones and greeting clients, she made connections with artists, producers, and talent managers that led to further opportunities. One of those opportunities brought Cathy to Columbia Records, beginning as an Administrative Assistant in the promotion department and later promoted to National Promotion Coordinator.  After eight years in promotion, she was offered the position of Director of Client Services at Sony Music Studios. 

Life has turns, and Cathy’s did. After her father passed away, she moved to be with her mother in Rhinebeck. They both decided to embark on a new adventure and in 1999 moved to the seacoast town of Rockport, MA where they spent wonderful years together until her mother’s death in 2015.   During that time in Rockport, Cathy entered a new job in higher education, working in the Office of the Provost at Gordon College and eventually becoming the executive assistant. She retired from Gordon College after 15 years of service at the end of June 2019.

In 2020, Cathy found and moved into her forever home in Saugerties and joined Taconic Advisors as their new Administrative Assistant. She says, “In all my jobs two things that I always gain and keep are the interpersonal experiences and friendships. I find the environment at Taconic Advisors rich in both and am grateful for my good fortune to be part of this team. Plus, I live three miles from work. It is the shortest commute of my life.” 

Cathy misses being so close to the ocean but loves the mountains, forests and lakes in the Hudson River Valley. Cathy loves to swim and her personal goal is to find all the swimming holes in Ulster county. If you know of one please contact her.