So this is it.
A goal set 15 years ago has come to light. Today, I open the doors to Smart Path Wealth Management. Let’s take a quick look at why it took so darn long.
It was my junior year of undergrad where I took my first investment class. The professor introduced the class to Warren Buffett and his investing philosophy. It was a fairly simple philosophy: find a quality company, wait for a deal, be aggressive when that deal comes, and hold on tight. This worked for me. It fit my lifestyle since I too was a tightwad that only bought stuff when it was on sale.
After my introduction to Buffett, I dove headfirst into learning more. I read every book I could about investing and personal finance. I loved this stuff. I couldn’t get enough.
I also learned that unlike most jobs, with investing, the less you work, the better off you are. Making money in the market seemed easy. It was more about discipline than smarts. Both help but some of the smartest people in the world were terrible investors. They didn’t have the mental fortitude. However, this was my strength.
I finally knew what I wanted to do in life. Help people make money.
During my senior year, I interviewed with some of the largest insurance and mutual fund companies in the nation. I quickly learned that their best interests were not their clients’ best interests. I was dumbfounded to learn that most advisors’ goals were to sell inferior insurance products and mutual funds to middle-income individuals. For most people, whole-life insurance was an awful fit and the mutual funds charged outrageous fees. Those same funds also failed to beat the performance of lower cost index funds, costing savers thousands of dollars over the long-term. The lower cost funds did not pay out a commission so although they were a much better option, they were never recommended to clients.
There went that dream.
Instead of helping people manage money I chose to continue to put smiles on people’s faces by delivering them piping hot pizza and wings. The job paid the bills and helped get me through college. It was also here where I stumbled upon a competitor’s pizza place for sale.
My father owned a small business and his story is an inspiration that also made me want to work for myself. I performed some due diligence on the restaurant, ran a discounted cash flow analysis which I learned from studying Buffet, and was aggressive in getting a deal done. After scrounging up as much money as I could from family who were willing to take a chance on me, I was the proud owner of my own pizza joint.
I spent 6 great years running a restaurant. I got to work closely with my family, managed dozens of great kids who loved life, and had customers from all walks of life that were not only fun, but an inspiration to me and everyone around them. However, something was missing. It wasn’t my passion.
To make a long story short, I sold the pizza place and went back to grad school to get further training in the investment world. I received a Master’s degree in Financial Analysis and Investment Management. Unfortunately, graduation occurred during the financial crisis. All of a sudden, nobody wanted to invest, I was competing with Harvard grads who just got laid off from Lehman Brothers, and Wall Street was more hated than North Korea (and rightfully so).
There went that dream.
The next 7 years were spent in the corporate world. Bean counting was cool. It paid well. Once again, the people I worked with were great. However, when they would walk by my dimly lit cube and ask why a certain business unit’s margins were down half a percent, they would most likely hear me go off on a tangent about Facebook’s IPO, Roth IRA’s, 529 plans, and tax strategies. I heard this in return:
“Dude, you don’t belong here. Go do what you love.”
It took a while but I finally listened. I gave up the steady salary and benefits. No longer will I have cushy 40-hour work weeks or paid holidays. However, I do get something far more rewarding. The opportunity to see the joy in people’s faces when they reach their goals.
So this was my first blog post and it was basically about me. It’s a good opportunity to tell my story. However, from this point forward, all blog posts, emails, and phone conversations will be about the most important person in your life – you.
I look forward to not only helping you learn the best place to park your hard-earned money but also learning about your families, your career, your hobbies, and your goals.
It took a while but the wait was well worth it. Now — time to get to work!