My “Why” story, circa 2010: The story of a career change
I am fond of saying that I rarely do something for only one reason. My decision to change careers and become a financial advisor is no exception. After 15 years in the tech world, I recognized that my chosen career path was not fulfilling in the way that I wanted it to be. Through long soul searching conversations with my wife, colleagues, and friends, I inherently knew that any change would have to live up to three standards: value, meaning, relevance.
In a parallel and serendipitous set of events, I was approached by a family member that was aware of my affinity for the financial markets. It was early in 2008. The markets had been falling since late 2007, and had further to go. My family member had fairly simple questions and needed honest answers: Am I doing well? (In my opinion, no.) Am I getting sound advice? (In my opinion, no.) Am I well diversified and holding the right types of investments? (In my opinion, no.) Could I be doing better? (In my opinion, yes.) Do I have enough money to support my retirement?
That portfolio belonged to my grandparents. They were my first client, and I am eternally grateful for the life lessons that I learned from them, and the opportunities that discussion would lead to. My grandparents modeled some incredible behavior (personal, as well as financial). They were frugal and generous at the same time, and to me they embodied a book that had been hugely influential to me: The Millionaire Next Door. From my relationship with my grandparents I developed my first mantra for thinking about investing and giving advice to clients: is this something I would recommend for my grandparents?
This project that I embarked upon with them in 2008, the finding and framing answers to important questions, was a pivotal moment for me. I found the experience to be thoroughly rewarding. For me, it was as if a light had been turned on in a dark room. I realized that by basing a financial advisory business on honest and relevant advice, I could deliver significant value and develop meaningful relationships with the people that I worked with while having a positive and sometimes dramatic impact on their lives. I also realized that in a time of uncertainty and sometimes turbulent markets, that these services were relevant to almost everyone I knew.
I decided that the right path for me was that of independent, unbiased financial advice. It was hard to walk away from my career as an IT professional (I was was well paid, I had developed some decent skills, and was pretty good at what I did). At the same time, I knew there was the potential for better – one that would be more be more meaningful for me, more relevant to my passions, and provide more value for clients. I attained the CFP® designation to demonstrate my commitment to my craft, and found a firm that aligned with my views, and the rest is history.