On October 1st thirty years ago, TAAG began when a 28-year-old Cincinnati newcomer became a self-employed Certified Financial Planner.
No one really knew what a CFP® was back then, which was obvious when I told people what I was doing, and especially when I submitted my resignation letter to my then-boss. “I had a buddy once who tried to sell insurance, and he quit after a year,” he shared with me.
I spent the first-year contacting everyone who knew me from my years in accounting and banking and explained why they would want to work with a person who puts their clients’ interest first, rather than someone who claimed they provided financial planning ‘for free.’ It was tough at first.
There were people who gave me a chance and others who supported me. A managing partner at a CPA firm asked me to review proposals sent to him by brokers and insurance agents until he was comfortable with my work, then referred people to me. A business owner chose to work with me and referred his newly widowed sister, which led to a cascade of referrals from others. My former secretary decided to leave the bank where we’d worked together, take a smaller paycheck to work by my side, and help me get stated. I am extremely grateful to these people and all the others who believed in me, some of whom are still clients and supporters of TAAG today.
Over the years, experience began to teach people the value of having a financial plan as well.
Before the Great Recession of 2007 – 2009 we helped our clients through the fear of the September 11, 2001 attacks and the market shut-down that followed. The run-up of technology stocks and their collapse in early 2000 forced many prospective retirees to reevaluate their plans to retire. Prior to the technology bubble, we coped with the global stock market crash in October, 1997, an 18% drop in the Dow after Iraq invaded Kuwait and oil prices rose in 1990, and the fallout from the Savings and Loan Crisis.
It was an exciting 30-year period in the global markets, and people were able to see over time that a plan helped them survive the tough times and still do the things they wanted to do for themselves and their loved ones. Our existing clients became examples of the value of planning and TAAG’s disciplined investment process, and they shared their experience with others who became clients as well.
The next 30 years will likely be equally exciting and difficult to predict, and the way we deliver financial planning advice and manage portfolios will change as well. When we began in 1988 a financial plan was a thick book of paper that took a word processor, a Hewlett-Packard calculator and a week to prepare – and was outdated in a month. Today we update plans live and on-screen in meetings with our clients and deliver net-worth reports and the expected success of their financial plan in seconds on their phones. What hasn’t changed over all these years is TAAG’s focus on treating our clients like family and putting their interests first at all times.
I admit I was scared when I quit my job to go out on my own and provide a service that few understood. After all these years, I am grateful that I followed my own plan and went on to help others build and follow theirs as well. I look forward to many, many more years to come here at TAAG!