Valentine’s Day spotlight: Longtime local gay couple shares secrets to lasting love

Mark Hefner, left, and Gregory Motsch

To mark Valentine’s Day this year, Dallas Voice reached out to some longtime local same-sex couples to talk about the secrets to a lasting relationship. Among the couples that responded was Mark Hefner and Gregory Motsch of Arlington, who’ll celebrate their 25th anniversary on Oct. 31. Below are their answers to our questions. Happy Valentine’s Day!

DV: Where, when and how did you meet?
Mark and Gregory: We met in Ohio the spring of 1986 on a double date to our high school prom my senior year. Greg had graduated the previous year, but we had never really known each other before that night. I took my girlfriend, and Greg took a mutual friend of ours, Melissa. Coincidentally, she also now lives in the Metroplex with her husband who also went to our high school; they met later that that same year. (Apparently there’s something in the water up in Ohio that spawns long-term relationships!)

DV: Was it love at first sight? Please explain.
MG: Well, not sure either of us knew what it was at the time, but there were definitely sparks! (He looks damn good in a tux.) There certainly was enough there to keep a couple confused teenagers interested all summer until we finally hooked up that fall when we started going to college together. By Halloween we were officially in love, and that’s the day we chose as our anniversary date.

—  John Wright

Financial planner offers special advice for special circumstances

Wells Fargo financial planner helps same-sex couples navigate complicated situations that come with not being federally recognized

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

After recognizing the need for certified financial planners specializing in same-sex couples, officials with Wells Fargo approached the College for Financial Planning. In 2010, the designation was established and for now Wells Fargo Advisors has an exclusive on planners who are accredited domestic partner advisors.

Terry Thompkins is one of just six accredited domestic partner advisors in the Dallas area.

“It’s no coincidence the bank’s based in San Francisco,” Thompkins said.

Thompkins first recognized the need when he was working with two widows who chose not to remarry, primarily for pension reasons.

“I quickly realized that here’s a community that’s horribly underserved,” he said.

On Feb. 1, Thompkins is offering a financial planning seminar for same-sex couples. He said he had nothing to sell but is looking for couples that would benefit from working with him.

“I’m looking to establish long-term relationships,” Thompkins said, adding that he is as interested in younger couples beginning to build their wealth as in established couples with multi-million dollar portfolios.

“Anyone who is not recognized by the federal government creates challenges, and nightmare scenarios can develop,” Thompkins said.

That creates tax issues but can also present tax opportunities, he said. Having accounts structured properly as well as having legal paperwork in place can prevent families from challenging wills and estates after a partner dies.

“That’s so important when someone is also dealing with their grief,” Thompkins said.

He said a common problem he faces with couples is when one is an aggressive investor and the other is conservative. In that case, Thompkins must form an investment strategy that allows that two portfolios to work together.

Thompkins said clients do not come to him because they need a stockbroker. He said he has a wide range of investment vehicles from traditional banking products to commodities and futures. “I have a huge pallet available to me,” he said.

He said that for a couple with a small business, he can talk to the bank’s commercial lending group and the small business group.

When those don’t work, he can access tools like collateralizing existing assets.

But he said that shouldn’t scare off couples with fewer assets. He not only wants to help couples make a strong plan stronger. Young couples should get on the right track and build huge wealth down the road.

Financial Planning Seminar at Chocolate Secrets, 3926 Oak Lawn Ave. Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. 972-728-3110. Reservations required.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Jan. 28, 2011.

—  John Wright