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“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” - Psalm 27:13

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Plan, Invest, Live #1 How Visionary Got Started

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How did we get to the place where you are reading this, and I wrote it? I am no author. At least not yet. But you can bet if I ever write a book and then some one asks me what I do for a living I’ll make sure to raise one eyebrow higher than my other one and say in my deepest possible voice “I am an AUTHOR. I also help people plan, invest, and live.” Perhaps that story will one day be written, but for now I’ll stick to the original question. How did we get here? You and I connected by paper and pen (or some sort of binary code thingy that has not yet fully replaced paper and pen, but it is well on its way) It’s a great story. Let me tell you what happened.

To use a film term, this is Episode 1 (StarWars reference) of what I hope are many helpful writings(ramblings) to the world about planning, investing, and living. I will attempt to write frequently and cycle through those main headings, but I can imagine that I will sometimes get an idea and need to run with it, even if it is the wrong topic on the rotation. I hope to educate you and be of some real help to you, but also to put a smile on your face once in a while. Perhaps none of what I write will be new information to you, in which case I’ll just remind or entertain you instead. But perhaps the information will be really helpful for other people in your life, and you can pass the ideas on to them. I hope to do some good in a world that seems kind of ugly sometimes. There is so much sadness, mean spirited banter and other craziness in the world that I wanted to contribute in a positive way. I am not an English major, so I am sure that you’ll find some typos sometimes and probably a good number of grammar mistakes. For that I am sorry. Sadly, I cannot communicate much in any other language so this will have to do for now!

Anyway, it was a long time in the making. “It” was me leaving my job as a financial consultant for a very large brokerage house to start my own “gig”, “hang my own shingle”, as they say.

For years, I kept telling myself that I needed to help clients a different way. I was not satisfied with the way I was helping clients. I felt like I was in handcuffs, not able to be free to really help without a bias towards a particular investment or product type due to the directives and framework I had been given to work inside. I am extremely thankful to my old employer for the position I had, the vast knowledge and experience I gained over my 17 years there, but mainly for the relationships with the people I worked with and the clients that put their faith in me. I wanted to do more for people, these clients, who had become close friends of mine. I consider them family. But my fear of change kept me seated. I was stuck, or at least I felt like I was.

I was stuck between the crazy idea that I could start a company (I haven’t seen a lot of people successfully do it) and the fear of losing a steady paycheck. I was on the edge of a cliff, my fingers trying to grab the hang-glider of freedom helping clients the way I knew they should be treated, and the safety of my feet on the rock foundation of a large US corporation paying me a paycheck. My steady paycheck was kind of like a dividend I was entitled to every two weeks, if I played by their rules I could have my check. Well, after 16+ years I didn’t like all their rules. I understand why they have them and that those rules furthered their goals. But their rules did not often further my goals. So, I had to make my own rules.

I know that I should have figured that out on day one, but I didn’t. It was mutually beneficial for a long time. I learned so much. I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow in a relatively safe environment. But there was trouble brewing.

I love planes. That may sound random, but it’s not. I hope someday I’ll have the guts to fly one, or jump out of one. Planes are fascinating to me. We are fortunate to live very close to an Air Force base and there are often moments every week or so that the old F16s and new F18s get their practice runs in over our neighborhood, and it never gets old to me. I’ll stop whatever I am doing and watch them go by waiting for the sound of the engines to come a few seconds later. I love that! What a cool job! Someday I plan to visit Kitty Hawk, NC to see some of the historical monuments regarding flight. This is the birthplace of aviation, but many don’t realize that a lot of their planning was done back in Dayton, OH. Planes have come a long way since then. They are very safe, but when something goes wrong, it gets ugly fast.

One bad thing that can happen with airplanes is a stall. You may have seen that “stall” trick performed live at an airshow or seen it on television. This is where the plane flies straight up and then stops and falls back on itself and then the pilot seemingly restarts the engine while they are heading down to certain death. I am sure that you can picture it now. Well, that same feeling, that stall moment for my career with my former employer was in February 2016. That’s not a typo. Well over a year ago, I knew my days were numbered. I didn’t leave until January 2017, as I am a bit stubborn in some ways. But my “career plane” had “stalled” out right there, and it was time for something new. I tried to keep my head in the game, but it just wasn’t possible. I didn’t like the direction things were heading, and it was time to move on.

I spent several months looking at other possible roles within the company since there are very few firms in the industry I would feel comfortable working for, but none seemed like the right fit. Some of these roles were more transactional. I could help a person for 30 seconds and then never talk to them again, ever. How will I ever know that they are still on the right path if I don’t have more frequent contact with them? They need a coach, not just a transaction. That wasn’t the role for me. The stirring became louder and louder internally. We only get one chance to live and I didn’t think that would be very fulfilling long-term. I want to guide my clients along the path for a long time, as they cross milestones like getting married, having their first child, sending them off to college, changing jobs, helping a parent, retiring, re-tooling themselves for something greater, or to be there when they lose a parent, or a child. I didn’t want to just help a client place a trade in their account, because I need to know WHY we are doing that.

I started Visionary Planning & Investment, LLC because I wanted to help more people, meet more people, and keep working with them forever, “or until death do we part” (one of us… you or me.) But that is not entirely true. The importance of what we do together will leave a legacy. If we do a good job together we will have an impact far greater than just on the earth now. It will carry on beyond the death of either of us, and both of us impacting generations to come. Let’s get a plan, make sure the investments match the plan, and then monitor the plan frequently to make sure that we stay on plan, and then while we are waiting…let’s go get some stories!

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