cheesy professional pic from my insurance days!
Hi, I’m Chad.
I was born and raised in the great state of Georgia, where I currently live with my beautiful wife and two awesome kids (4 and 1). The ruler of our domain is a 10 year old miniature dachshund, she also doubles as our vacuum cleaner while chasing around the kids.
I have done and seen many things, but my passion for helping people has always stood true. I love learning new things, especially if I can help teach someone else for their benefit. I enjoy being around good people and learning from them, it just makes my day that much better.
After graduating high school and taking a year off, I had two options 1: continue down the career path of a bartender in a nice tourist town (I made a lot of money for 19) or 2: get my butt in college somewhere. Thankfully I chose #2 with the help and persuasion of others, but I had no money, so what to do?
I joined the US Navy. When asked what job I would like to have, I asked if there was anything in the medical field. I liked the idea of helping people and possibly getting paid a bunch to do it. Well, they told me I could be a Hospital Corpsman and that the job came with a $40,000 Navy College Fund…BINGO!
I left for boot camp in November of 2000 and stayed on active duty until October of 2005. I traveled all over the world, lived in some great locations, met wonderful life long friends, and stumbled upon the one girl who didn’t drive me crazy. It was during this time that I started taking an interest in finance and investing. I began to read everything I could get my hands on, and I started helping others understand things like retirement accounts, mutual funds, compound interest, etc. By this time I knew that pursuing the medical field after the Navy was not something I wanted to do (I was tired of bodily fluids) so I decided to get my finance degree.
My plan worked…If I moved back to Georgia for school I could take advantage of the Hope Scholarship that was funded by our lottery. I did, and it paid for my classes and most books, but I also received the GI Bill from the Navy and the additional college fund they gave me when I signed up. Win for me!
I graduated in 2009 with a finance degree (yes, kids you can actually get a 4 year degree in 4 years) right after the great financial collapse…great timing right? I have to mention that while in school I worked full time at a local country club as a cart guy, pro-shop attendant, golf operations manager, and then assistant to the head pro (yes, kids you can work and go to school at the same time, too). My last semester I took an unpaid internship with a local investment firm and since I was used to getting paid and I still wanted to spend money I took out my max student loan for my last semester. (What a dummy. That thing is still following me around.)
I lucked out in that my good friend’s family business needed help in the southeast as a regional manager. I was gone a good bit from home while working at different locations, so when we found out that we were pregnant with our first child, I knew that I would need to look for something else. This is when I was recruited to join a well established life insurance company as an agent. It was great, I got to meet one-on-one with awesome families to help them do some planning and address their needs. The problem was that I was really good at selling term life insurance, but never really sold whole life or the front loaded high-fee mutual funds (which make agents a lot more money than term products do). This put us in some tight situations some months since I was paid entirely by commission, I just was not going to sell a product to someone that I would never buy myself.
After getting all of my licenses, I thought the answer was moving to an independent financial planning firm who did not sell products but charged a fee to manage portfolios for clients. It was a great experience and it exposed me to planning techniques of some high net worth individuals. I spent most of my time assisting planners with their clients, running cash flow and holdings reports, making trades, updating financial plans, etc. I realized that this was not the career track I wanted, I just didn’t feel like I was making an impact with people. Let’s face it, most of those clients had already made it and I was just moving money around for them. I really liked the people I worked with, but I knew I had to pursue something different.
Fortunately, I had spent the last 3 years being heavily involved with our local non-profit organizations on various boards, fundraising events and planning committees. I decided to ask a person I trusted to help me break into a career in that field…I could help people who needed and appreciated my help. A few days later I was offered a position at that person’s organization helping young adults that wanted to pursue their GED, gain workplace skills, financial coaching, certifications, and help with job placement and career tracks. It is a great feeling being able to make a difference in these young adult’s lives.
So, why this blog now? I feel like I have something to offer that might help at least one person or family out there that I would otherwise never meet. I now know that I spent too much time focusing on the investment part of finance and was ignorant on the personal side of finance. I started investing in mutual funds and stocks when I was 20, But I did no other planning. Never budgeted, never had an emergency fund, spent freely when money was in the account (sometimes more)! And it ended up costing me big time. All of the money I invested in those early days in retirement accounts are all gone. I used them for what I deemed were emergencies over the last few years.
Well, no more! We have a plan. Our goal is to be financially independent – we want to control our time, we want to do meaningful work, and we want to be great role models for our kids. This blog will help keep us on our plan and hopefully inspire some others. Please join us on our journey and share your voice and questions in the comment section of the posts. I will be glad to help in any way I can.
Thanks for reading!