My route to becoming a financial planner was not direct. Growing up the son of a journalist, I was obsessed with politics from an early age. Straight out of college, I worked on Capitol Hill and then later as the Director of Field Operations for a Congresswoman’s re-election campaign. I was happy. That was the life for me.
Around that time, I met my wife. She also made me happy. She was, above all, the life for me. And when she was accepted into law school in Berkeley, a distant and mysterious place to a New Yorker, I followed her West.
Political jobs in the Bay Area are scarce. So, I became a stockbroker. A constant flow of information, storytelling, a sense of mission and purpose: I loved it. That, too, was the life for me. And I was doing great, at least according to the monthly report showing me as consistently number one or two in my national class of recruits as measured in new assets. And yet I was scraping by financially. What gives?
I knocked on the door of a top broker. He had a spacious office with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the San Francisco Bay. He gave me the skinny. “Son, the stuff you are selling has a 1% commission. Annuities, they can be 10 even 15%.” “Is that good for the client?” I asked. He shrugged. I quit.
No worries! There were opportunities galore in technology. It was interesting enough. It paid well. And no one got hurt. But what I chiefly looked forward to each day were the opportunities to be an informal financial advisor to my colleagues. When colleagues earned a big commission, I would seat myself across their desk and explain how time and discipline could make their money grow. I became obsessed with personal finance. Then I discovered fee-only financial planners, with their fiduciary obligation to act in the client’s best interest. I began the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ classes pretty much immediately after that. And this, it turns out, has absolutely been the life for me.
How I’m expanding what’s possible with money
I’m focused on three groups. I help attorneys manage the financial complexities of becoming an equity partner. I help executives craft 10b5-1 plans to liquidate their post IPO equity (using their life objectives as a yardstick instead of trying to divine future stock prices). I also help our wealthiest clients optimize the environmental and social impact of their portfolios while ensuring their finances remain solid.
Outside of work, my passions include
After a long day, I love to unwind with a chef’s knife in my hand. These days I’m obsessed with Milk Street which combines simplicity with a wide variety of international flavors. Thinking about meals for the week ahead, about what will stay fresh, what each family member likes, and what can be made quickly—that is my Sunday crossword puzzle.
Beyond those obsessions, my golden retriever, Kingsley, is my beloved fur baby who comes to the office everyday. It’s a good thing my wife and kids feel the same way about that dog because I know I think and talk about him too much.