Unlike most financial advisors, I enjoyed a 20-year military career, having served in the US Army and later retiring as an Air Force Major. As a mid-career officer, I would often give advice to subordinates, peers, and superiors on all of their financial questions. It was then that I realized I loved helping people make sound financial decisions with their money.
I didn’t set out to become a financial planner. After graduating high school, I majored in accounting at the University of Detroit for one year before enlisting in the Army after the first Gulf War. After completing basic training, I spent the next eight years in Germany, where my life would unfold.
“At the time, I didn’t believe that a financial advisor existed who could truly provide objective advice about money, so I set out to become a CFP®.”
“I’m passionate about helping others, and I love it when a plan comes together.”
Investing at a Young Age
I was 22 when I started investing; I was excited and proud. I questioned the high-commission investment and insurance products, but my salesman convinced me it was the cost of doing business. I continued to work toward my bachelor’s degree, and I enrolled in a few investment and tax courses as electives to gain some technical knowledge.
Starting my Military Career
I decided to make the military a career as an officer, and once accepted, I left Germany and was on my way to the US Army Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. It was there where I became an Officer and a Gentlemen and learned how to jump out of perfectly good airplanes too. Airborne!
Early in my military career, I didn’t always make sound financial decisions, but I was frugal and had the best of intentions. With experience and as a former NCO and a young Company Grade Officer, I had responsibilities that extended beyond my own family.
Taking on Leadership Responsibilities
As a leader, I was responsible for the welfare of my soldiers and airmen, including their families; and I witnessed many hardships. There were times I advised my subordinates, peers and even my superiors on all their financial questions. It was then, that I realized that I loved helping people make sound decisions with their money. At the time, I didn’t believe that a financial advisor existed who could truly provide objective advice with their money questions, so I set out to become a CFP®.
Observing Military Personnel’s Financial Challenges
While balancing my family and military career, I completed my MBA and worked to earn my CFP® Certification. I also worked with a major tax firm as a tax advisor and occasionally assisted clients with tax planning, retirement planning and basic investment education (I wasn’t licensed to give investment advice). I witnessed firsthand and through the shared experiences of my fellow officers and subordinates, that often investment choices presented to military members were loaded with high commissions or surrender charges.
I am also a family man and dad. I enjoy spending time with family, reading, traveling and playing golf with my son.