How I entered the financial advisory business, and later hung out my own shingle in the ‘80s to specialize in wealth preservation and retirement planning, originates when I was a child.
Before my 6th birthday, my dad died. That was devastating, but worse was watching my mom struggle as she raised three young kids on a teacher’s salary. So, as a teenager, to earn my own money and ease some of my mom’s burdens, I mowed lawns and worked odd jobs, and in high school and college I sold hot dogs and beer at Phillies and Eagles games - what a gig for an avid sports fan! It was hard work, but I was okay with that. I accepted my circumstances, rolled up my sleeves, and went to work.
Soon I started at Temple University in Philadelphia where I majored in business finance and marketing. That’s when I started my first job with a life insurance company. Times were different back then, and I went door to door selling policies. I met so many people, put together suitable policies for them, and remain friends with many to this day.
Later I worked with an independent life insurance agent, and that led to helping clients with investment and retirement plans. I needed to be licensed to do this, so I studied for and received all the licenses and certifications necessary to be a top financial advisor and planner.
Then I decided to take a risk and go out on my own because I’d become very skilled at strategically customizing plans and selecting the most appropriate products necessary to implement those plans. Also, with my mom, there was a need and, finally, an opportunity for me to help her manage her finances and plan for retirement. I wanted to bring my skills and experience to the community as well because it was clear that most people wanted to have a retirement nest egg but had little idea how to start or to make necessary adjustments as they grew older and as their life circumstances changed.
For example, most didn’t know how to reduce or even avoid paying taxes in retirement. Most didn’t know that Social Security and Medicare have avoidable “tax traps,” or that they should plan how and when to use taxable, tax-deferred, and tax-free asset buckets to manage their income and tax brackets efficiently. Most didn’t know that they could use certain life insurance policies to pay for their long-term care if they don’t have LTC insurance. I recognized a need and felt it important to help folks by sharing information and showing them how to act on it.
I had learned at a young age to listen attentively, and that made it easy for me to be a holistic planner: I take into account a client’s lifestyle and family, health status, financial situation and goals, desired retirement age, the legacy they want to leave, and so on, rather than just recommend products based on what clients think they need. I continue holistic planning to this day.
I soon began specializing in financial planning for people who are 5-10 years away from retirement and for those already retired. I started out with a few life insurance clients who soon became investment clients. They in turn referred me to others, and those new clients referred me, and on it went. I was really helping people, and my practice grew!
If you were to ask my clients why they are with me – and many have been for decades - they’d say it’s because I am consistently approachable, trustworthy, reliable, skilled and a great listener. Paying attention to what they tell me and how they answer my questions is incredibly important to holistic planning. My clients would also say that I’m hands-on with regular account reviews and check-in calls, and that I always advocate for their best interests as a fiduciary. I work in close partnership with my clients and develop lasting, multi-generational relationships that are built on trust and superior service. New clients can rest assured that these same principles and ethics apply to them as well.
Besides working together, my wife Karen and I enjoy supporting our Philly teams, traveling, and visiting with our kids. In the summers we can be found at our favorite South Jersey beach. In the winters we are avid Flyers (season ticket holders) and Eagles fans.
Licenses, Certifications, Professional Memberships:
- Federal Retirement ConsultantSM
- PA Life & Health Insurance License
- FINRA Series 6
- FINRA Series 7
- FINRA Series 24
- FINRA Series 63
- FINRA Series 65
- Million Dollar Round Table®