Richard (Dick) Baker
President & Investment Adviser Representative
Richard founded Income Works in 2004 and has more than 35 years of active management experience in the financial services industry, helping clients attain their financial and income goals. He loves teaching others and helping them reach their dreams, financial or otherwise. He lives by the philosophy: “We start this world with nothing, and we leave this world with nothing. If there happens to be enough money left over for family and/or charity, fine. But the key is to set a plan to receive the income you need from your investments so that money is not a distraction. That way, you can take the gifts God has given you and use them to the best of your ability, and hopefully help people.”
He specializes in strategies utilizing the equity markets to provide continuous income while managing risk. Income Works has been affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network®, its broker/dealer, since 2006. Commonwealth has ranked highest in J.D. Power independent advisor satisfaction seven times in a row.
Richard is a five-time member of Business Experience, a three-time member of the firm's Winner's Circle, and a one-time member of the Summit Club.
Richard considers himself a financial educator, helping clients determine their income requirements and then adjusting portfolio management tactics to meet those needs. He likes to involve clients, always keeping what is important to them in mind to make sure their values, needs, and portfolio management strategies are in sync.
As a Sears Roebuck supervisor in his younger days, Richard utilized a strategy to help Sears’ retirees collect additional income on top of their dividends, without having to sell their shares at a less-than-desirable price. He then used other stocks in the strategy and refined the process in 2004 with the advent of Income Works and the creation of the "Baker’s Dozen" (13 stocks that are timely and suitable to use).
His Western Massachusetts roots are enhanced by having been a five-time award-winning sportswriter from the Springfield Republican newspaper, covering professional hockey (Springfield Indians/Falcons, Boston Bruins, Hartford Whalers) and collegiate athletics over a 35-year part-time/hobby career. During that period, his pen name was Dick Baker. He also specialized in women’s sports coverage and voted on The Associated Press Poll Top 25 Division I NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) women’s weekly basketball poll. He has a number of sport-related clients, and he is able to connect the similarities of athletics to investing.
Born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, Richard graduated from the prestigious Emerson College in Boston, where he later served as a member of the Alumni Board for three years. In August 2013, he was chosen to serve as a delegate for Emerson President Lee Pelton at the inauguration of Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper, the school’s first woman president.
Having enjoyed a long-term relationship with Western New England University of Springfield, he has provided internship opportunities to finance and accounting students throughout his career and is frequently asked to serve as a guest speaker for the school’s Accounting and Finance Club. His passion for teaching and success as a mentor shows by the number of interns that have become short- or long-term employees at Income Works. In fact, the two current full-time employees he now has started as an intern (Karisa Syner) and a mentee (Diana Colmenares).
Richard lives in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, with his wife, Terese, and their cat, Mr. Bud. The couple has three children: Michael, Joseph, and Laura. He is a lifetime Los Angeles Dodgers fan, having first seen them in their base in Brooklyn on Channel 8 TV (New Haven, Connecticut). Terese was agreeable to allowing part of their honeymoon in 1979 to include Richard’s first-ever visit to Dodger Stadium and four Dodger games. His hockey friends called the team and the newlyweds were acknowledged with an “Out of State Dodger Welcome” on the left-field scoreboard. The couple has a slide of it. Legendary Springfield newspaper sportswriter Garry Brown wrote about the trip, headlined “Honeymoon in Dodger Land.”
Richard served in the Springfield community as a senior warden—the main communicator between the pastor and the congregation—for St. Barnabas and All Saints’ Church for 11 years.
Karisa N. Syner, MBA
Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Operations
Karisa is in her 11th year with Income Works. She first began as an intern in September 2011, her final undergraduate year in business school at Western New England University. Karisa went on to earn her MBA while still working full-time. In her current role, as chief financial officer and vice president of operations, she has oversight of all financial and operational aspects of the company. This includes the accounting and financial decision-making for the company. Additionally, she initiates enhancements to clients' experience through increased communication, account maintenance, and portfolio analysis, as well as growth strategies, timely stock research, data reporting, and client reviews. Karisa is involved in all team-based projects and is a significant member.
Karisa graduated from the region’s premier master of business administration program at the AACSB-accredited Western New England University (WNE) College of Business. She has gained knowledge in operations management, marketing management, managerial accounting and finance, and decision modeling for analytics. She is currently working toward additional certifications and licenses. She has also looked into furthering her education by attaining her master of science degree in elder law and estate planning at Western New England School of Law.
Before joining Income Works full-time, she graduated with a BS in business administration with a major in finance at WNE. While attending school, she was a student assistant, open house representative, and member of the accounting and finance club at WNE. This experience is why she has strong ties to her alma mater and gives back as much as she can. She also was an assistant property manager at Indian Motorcycle Apartments in Springfield, Massachusetts, for Appleton Corporation, where she helped manage the accounting and financial aspects of the property. In her free time, she loves to travel and read, watch her New England sports, spend time enjoying the New England seasons in the outdoors, and being active with her two German shepherd dogs.
She loves supporting local causes and businesses. She recently attended the Raise of Hope walk to help support breast cancer awareness at Forest Park in Springfield MA. If you or someone you know would like to donate please do so here:
Diana C. Colmenares
Financial Planning & Investment Services Associate
Diana joined the Income Works team in October 2018. She works remotely from California and makes quarterly visits to the home office in Agawam, Massachusetts, where she will assist with planning cases and client meetings.
As a financial planning and investment services associate, Diana supports Richard, our lead advisor, with all aspects of wealth management including investment research, data gathering, meeting preparation, client communication, retirement planning, and client account maintenance. Diana also assists in writing and editing our newsletter and website content. Additionally, she participates in business development activities to attract clients. All client relationships are handled on a team basis, and our financial planning and investment services associate is a key member of the team.
Diana was born in Bogota, Colombia. After graduating from high school, she came to the U.S. in 2006 to learn English and pursue her education goals. She attended a language academy in San Luis Obispo, California, where she became proficient in the English language and took the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam in order to attend college. She graduated with honors from Missouri-based Columbia College in 2013 with a BS in business administration and majors in marketing, management, human resources, and international business. Once Diana decided to stay in the U.S., she put a plan in motion to bring her father, mother, and brother. Three years ago, Diana was able to move her family to California.
Diana’s goal is to earn a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification in order to help others reach their financial and personal goals. Diana holds her FINRA Series 7 and 66 securities registrations and insurance license and is a California notary public.
Before joining the financial industry, Diana worked at a local family-owned pharmacy in Monterey, California, in the accounting and medical billing department. This experience gave Diana the opportunity to help patients with complicated private health insurance, Medicare, and Medi-Cal billing, which sparked her passion to want to help others in a more holistic manner, leading Diana into the financial planning and wealth management path.
Diana has more than four years of experience as an associate advisor at Kendall Wealth Partners in Pacific Grove, California, which, like Income Works, partners with Commonwealth Financial Network®.
Community involvement is very important to Diana. In 2018, she joined the planning committee for the local Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run (a 5K race) in Pacific Grove, California. She has participated, started a team, raised funds, and volunteered since 2012. In 2019, Diana became the co-chair of the planning committee. She hopes to continue increasing her involvement with this worthy cause and many others.
Diana likes to spend her free time with family, friends, and her brother’s dog, Bruno, as well as going on power walks alone, doing Zumba, listening to music, and dancing. She also enjoys traveling, taking pictures, seeing new places, learning about different cultures, and trying new cuisines.