One year ago this week, The Financial Zen Group opened for business.
Every morning I pinch myself because I can't believe it's real. I am living my dream. Opening my own RIA became my destiny in the Summer of 2005.
3 years prior, I had disgruntingly left my 90 hour/week investment banking job. I had had enough abuse. I was done with finance.
So I got a sales gig at Yahoo and I crushed it - President's Clubs and sales records and nice, fat commission checks. Within 6 months they promoted me to manage a sales team.
I successfully ran a team of 11 sales reps for the next 2.5 years. I loved my sales reps. I loved helping them grow and develop and reach their goals, both personally and professionally. I truly, deeply cared for them.
That's when I learned that I love helping people.
But something was wrong.
I loved helping my team, but I hated corporate politics (probably because I sucked at it). I could never come to terms with the insincerity of it. And unfortunately you have to be good at corporate politics to reach the upper echelon in any organization.
That's when I learned I needed to work for myself.
And finally, I missed finance. I really, really, REALLY missed finance. I LOVE finance. In retrospect, I wasn't done with finance when I left investment banking. I was just done with that job.
That's when I learned I had to "do" finance.
Isn't it amazing how the most obvious decisions in hindsight aren't so obvious when you're living through them?
Clearly I was destined to start my own financial planning firm. But I couldn't see it yet.
So I started soul searching the Summer of 2005. After months and months…and months… the light bulb finally went off.
Financial Planners help people. Check.
Financial Planners work for themselves. Check.
Financial Planners do finance (duh). Check.
And the rest is history. Well, actually the rest was 11 years of hell - penniless, sleepless nights of self-doubt, well-intentioned encouragement from friends and family to give up and not-so-well-intentioned encouragement from managers to forsake my principles for my job.
But all that is another tale for another time.
This week marks much more than my one-year business anniversary. It marks the one-year anniversary of living my dream.
And without all of you - my clients - who I care for even more deeply than my sales reps - I wouldn't be pinching myself every morning. So thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me help you and making me a part of your lives.
I can't wait to see where the next 12 years takes us!