Why I Became a Financial Planner

After my active duty Army contract expired, I returned to Wausau and started college.  While attending the UW--Marathon County full time (pre-Engineering), I was also working full time on 3rd shift at a local factory, attending drill for the Wisconsin Army National Guard and enjoying the college benefits I had earned while on active duty.

It did not take long for me to accumulate enough savings to realize I should start to think about doing something smart with it, so I bought a Dodge Dakota.  I quickly realized that while a vehicle can take me to where I want to go, it would never get me to where I wanted to be.  So I went to the local office of a national investment firm and opened a Roth IRA in March of 2001.  The financial professional recommended an investment that was not available to the public yet, but because I invested with his firm, I would be first in line to buy those mutual fund shares the morning the fund opened.  By the end of that first day, my meager $4000 initial investment was just over $3000.  It turns out that the initial investors in the fund were being charged all the mutual fund’s pre-offering marketing expenses in addition to the sales load.  The good news is, about 2 years and a class-action lawsuit later, I received a settlement check for $17 (sarcasm intended).

Disappointed with the results from my first investment decision, I decided that I should take my investment decisions into my own hands and start day-trading.  The commercials on TV showed that everyone with an online account could have their investments explode in value, and in late 2001, there were lots of investments that were primed to shoot back up in value.  Over the next 8 months, I managed to take my $5000 investment, make dozens of timely trades into technology companies with excellent growth projections and cashed out that account for $144.  About that point in time, I realized I was investing like an idiot (the good news is I figured it out at 23 years old and still had plenty of time to recover).

So I bought books on investing, magazine subscriptions, read online articles and watched the financial markets every day on TV.  I transferred my Roth to a new account and made my next year’s contribution into a mutual fund with a very long and consistent track record.  I picked a couple individual stocks and started dollar-cost averaging into them as well.  I even decided to max-out my 401k.  I loved it, I loved the research, the fact that nothing with the markets made sense (how often have you picked up the newspaper and read the markets rallied due to strong employment data only to have the next day’s headline read the markets pulled back due to fears that future employment numbers may not meet expectations).  What I didn’t love:  figuring out which truss on a bridge was going to be the first to break. 

At that time, I looked around and saw my family, our friends and co-workers were all upset with how much they had lost in the stock market.  Some of them had financial advisors.  Most did not meet the account size minimums to qualify for “good advice”.  So I changed majors and decided to pursue a BBA in Finance from the UW--Whitewater in order to begin the training to become a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner.  I have never regretted changing majors because I am lucky.  I discovered my passion at a young age and still have three to four more decades to live my dream and help hundreds of families to reach their dreams.

Please give me a chance to help you reach your dreams.