From the outside, starting my own independent financial planning firm may look a little crazy…and maybe it is. Getting set up with your own Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm is not for the faint of heart. You submit yourself to background checks, pay consultants thousands of dollars to help you navigate the complex registration process, create multiple business structures, and in the process turn your normal day to day on its head. And this is just to get to day one of the firm.
Once the firm is up and going, you sign yourself up thousands of dollars more in technology costs, more consulting fees to ensure you don’t run afoul of the regulations set out by the Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner, and all the other hats that my fellow small business owners know all too well.
So, the question remains…why on earth would I sign up for all of that while simultaneously walking away from a career as an advisor with the Knights of Columbus that has been such a blessing to my family, and where I truly enjoyed both my colleagues and clients alike?
Ultimately the answer to why I started my own firm can be simplified down into two categories: The ability to better serve my clients and the ability to better serve my family. I think it’s worth it to more deeply explore both to better understand my rationale.
Better Serving Clients
One of the most attractive tenets of owning my own firm is having the freedom and capacity to represent my clients and their interests while not being limited to one parent organization and the products that they have manufactured. This change will allow me to go from representing one organization to now having the capacity to work with thousands of financial services companies in order to seek out the best possible solution for my clients.
Additionally, I was previously limited to utilizing the technology provided by my previous firm. While technology will undoubtedly be one of the firm’s largest costs, this change allows me to choose from the vast array of technologies that exist to help provide the best possible experience. Throughout my research I have been very impressed by the different tech solutions, and I am excited for my clients to have such a user-friendly experience.
One thing that I am most excited for on this journey is the opportunity to provide more educational content not only to my clients, but also to the general public. I plan to publish a blog, record video content, and regularly put on seminars, all with the aim of providing value to those whom I serve. Previously compliance made these things too cumbersome to produce.
While compliance doesn’t go away, I am now the one who gets the final say on the production of any content. I don’t take this responsibility lightly, but I am confident that the years I have spent investing in my education as well as the time and diligence preparing the content will bring value to my clients and others at no cost.
Better Serving Family
While there is no doubt that I am excited about better serving my clients, it would be dishonest to say that was the primary driver for this change. As many of you reading this probably know, my wife and I are parents to six children, and we are blessed to have Liz stay at home with them full-time. I fully recognize that my work as a financial planner is impactful in a very tangible way and thus is very important. However, my responsibilities as a husband and father have eternal consequences and as such are infinitely more important.
While working for the Knights of Columbus has provided me with a great deal of flexibility, I began to find it very difficult to limit my working hours to just the daytime, and as my children have started to get more involved in activities my career and my responsibilities to my family have come into conflict more frequently than I am willing to accept.
Keeping on the family theme, I have always ascribed to the belief that my children will model my behavior. This is obviously a sword that cuts both ways and I have failed to be a good model more often than I would like to admit. With that being said, I want my children to have the courage and confidence to go after what they determine is best for themselves, and someday, their families too. As I am the sole income earner for our family of eight, you can reasonably assume the feelings this change evokes. It is my sincere hope that when my children happen upon scary or difficult situations in the future that they can use my actions as a model to help guide them.
Let's Get This Party Started
I am incredibly excited to launch QED Wealth Solutions, and it is my sincere belief that through this firm that I can better serve clients, better serve my family, and be a force for good within my local community.