There are times when I wonder how I got to be so lucky. I have a wonderful family, good health and work that I truly enjoy. On top of that, this month I get to celebrate five years of being my own boss. While it’s been far from easy, it’s absolutely been fun, or at least mostly fun.
Back in 2014 my family and I had finally made the decision I’d been pondering for a couple of years – to go out on my own and start Ridgeview Financial Planning. Deciding to open your own business is tough anytime, but as the primary wage earner in our household with two young kids it was a huge risk. Fortunately, it’s been paying off and all the tension is starting to ease a bit.
But the first year or so was pretty rocky. Trouble started right out of the gate when I was sued by my former firm. In a strange twist, the lawsuit information showed up on our wedding anniversary in late-August, less than a month after having opened shop. I came to find out this was a pattern used by brokerage firms to, essentially, scare the crap out of anyone who leaves to start their own business. What followed was a year of back-and-forth that caused a ton of anxiety for my family and me but ultimately led to a whole lot of nothing (no money owed, no fault on my part, just lots of legal fees…).
While I was still going at full steam that first year, business really perked up once the lawsuit was settled. I moved into my first office after working from home, eventually moving into a slightly better office a year later. And then, after a couple of tries at working with virtual assistants, last summer I hired a real local person, Brayden, whom many of you have interacted with.
All told, it’s been a great five years and I’m eagerly awaiting the next five and beyond. To celebrate this anniversary, as well as our 20yr wedding anniversary (my wife is amazing for putting up with me this long), as I’ve done in the past, I’m taking a few weeks off from writing this weekly blog. We’re also taking a vacation! I’ll still be monitoring everything and will be accessible via email and phone if necessary, just won’t be setting any meetings.
I am extremely grateful for and humbled by the trust you place in me as your financial planner. It is my honor to be your partner on the journey and I hope to be so for many years to come.
With thanks and gratitude,
Have questions? Ask me. I can help.
Independence Day and the days around it have been a time of reflection for me in recent years. It was just about five years ago that I declared my own personal independence by resigning from the brokerage industry where I had worked since 2003.
As you can imagine, this was a difficult decision to make. I was the primary earner in our family and our two kids, ages 8 and 12 at the time, needed more stability than typically comes with a parent starting a new business. But it was (and is) important to me to work with clients more effectively and, following many discussions with my amazing wife, we decided it was worth the risk to go out on my own.
After feeling the swift kick from my employer when I resigned, I got to work and after a few rough months I was up and running full steam. One of the first things I did was to join a group you’ve likely heard of, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). This is an elite group and I had my sights set on membership from the very beginning.
To be a NAPFA member you must:
- Be a Certified Financial Planner in good standing
- Provide holistic financial planning services
- Work in a fee-only capacity (receiving zero commissions or other monies from third parties)
- Sign a fiduciary oath
After applying for membership and submitting a financial plan for peer review I was granted membership a few months after I started my practice. Since then I’ve been doing my continuing education (another requirement) and have generally been plugging along working with clients.
Recently the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill aimed at modernizing and promoting retirement savings. There hasn’t been a major update to the retirement landscape since the Pension Protection Act of 2006, so meaningful movement here is overdue. Known as the “Secure Act”, the legislation passed the House in late-May but has stalled in the Senate.
Some of the details have started to bubble up to major media outlets and several of you have asked about it, so let’s have an update, shall we?
Even in a bitterly divided Congress it’s still possible to get something done. Or at least done halfway. The Secure Act passed 417-3 in the House and was apparently getting fast-tracked through the Senate and to President Trump’s desk for signature when it was held up by two senators. The issues causing delay, apparently, have to do with expansions to how 529 plan dollars could be used by parents to fund homeschool and religious schooling. These are political hot buttons for some and worthy of holding up otherwise popular legislation. Others have wondered why political issues with education savings accounts should impede legislation aimed at retirement accounts, but that’s Washington, right?
Here’s a review of the “major” would-be changes –
The age for starting required minimum distributions (RMD) would be moved from 70.5 to 72. This would let retirement money accumulate a little more and adjusts for longer life expectancies since the 1960’s when the current law was written.
IRA contributions would be allowed to continue past age 70.5 for the same reason. Folks are living longer, and many are still working well past 70. It doesn’t make sense to disincentivize continued retirement savings for those not yet retired.