Why I get up in the morning: I look forward every day to the challenges and opportunities that come from connecting with our clients and their situations. My goal is to help them feel confident that their financial life is well taken care of, now and for the future. I enjoy staying abreast of the many facets of financial planning — investments, insurance, cash flow, taxes, etc. I am keenly aware of how important a person’s financial plan is in relation to their life as a whole. As a trusted financial advisor, I am in a unique position to help people focus on the things that really matter to them.
How I got here: I was an international finance major at American University when my favorite finance professor pushed me to think hard about my career choice. Dr. John Benjamin told me it was the second most important decision I could make, after picking a spouse or partner. Pointing out that I had both an aptitude for finance and a strong desire to help people, my professor suggested that I consider becoming a Professional Certified Financial Planner™. After graduating and working for several years in non-profit development, I heeded Dr. Benjamin’s advice, completed the coursework and passed the CFP® exam, and in 2007 joined AFS.
What I do really well: I bring the critical details together to form the big picture. I have the expertise and follow-through to help craft, implement, and renew a successful financial plan. I connect with individuals and families to help them make wise financial decisions and achieve greater peace of mind when it comes to their finances. In today’s uncertain economy, financial planning has become increasingly important. With an overwhelming number of options for saving and investing, managing finances can be difficult. I strive to make complex financial topics understandable and turn uncertain aspirations into achievable results.
At AFS, I love helping clients with their entire financial plan, from retirement and education planning to tax and legacy issues. I feel the most valuable experience for clients is to work with an experienced team of consultants capable of delivering expert advice across a myriad of financial planning topics. I feel fortunate I landed at a firm where I not only learn from everyone around me but get to enjoy the time spent with clients as well.
What I’m most interested in for the retirement industry today: How to retire comfortably in a “New Normal” economy – for almost anyone in the Baby Boomer generation, retirement is their most pressing financial concern. And for non-Baby Boomers, retirement will soon become their biggest financial issue. Making an already difficult life event even more challenging is what is often referred to as the “New Normal,” or a new definition for the economic landscape. This implies that our future, and our retirements, will likely include lower expected market returns and may force us to reassess our expectations for spending. Our job as financial planners is to help people prepare for, transition into, and live through a comfortable retirement.
Who I am really: I am married to Beth, a social worker, whom I met in Spain while she was studying abroad and I was taking a year off from college. After graduation, Beth and I lived in Argentina, studying Spanish in Buenos Aires and working in the southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia. I also volunteered to help with micro-lending through the Grameen Foundation, making small business loans to women to give them a path out of poverty. Never a coffee drinker, I discovered a love for maté, a tea that is the national drink of Argentina, and now it’s my morning beverage of choice.
Our love of travel has taken our family to other places, like Vanuatu, Peru, New Zealand, the Turks, and Caicos, and even a trip to Belize with our then-infant son, Leo, and a trip to Austria with Leo and his baby sister Elena. We have lived in Northeast D.C. since 2008 and can view the Capitol dome from the end of our block. On weekends, Beth, Leo, Elena, and I love exploring the city. We usually try to walk everywhere we go and love the kid-friendly nature of the many parks and museums available outside our door. In my spare time, I am known to cheer loudly for the Oregon Ducks (I was born and raised on the Oregon Coast and attended many Ducks football and basketball games with my dad). I also enjoy break dancing and playing from my collection of vinyl records.
Beth and I believe strongly in giving back to the community. I’ve been fortunate my whole life, and know that not everyone has that kind of support. Since 2008, I have served as a board member with A Wider Circle, an amazing organization that helps lift people out of poverty.