During my adult life, money got very complicated. I can almost remember the exact day it occurred to me. I was sitting with a well-educated client and her well-educated husband who, by their own admission, were absolutely clueless about how to handle their money. The marriage was under stress, no one was sleeping, and both appeared before me feeling foolish, stupid, and humiliated. This was all stuff they “felt” they should know, but they didn’t. How could that be? They were smart. How had they missed this information? They had good jobs. But little did anyone know that things were just starting to get complicated.
By the 1980’s the choices had become too numerous, the language oblique, the advisors not really advising, and the personal responsibilities piling up as a few ordinary people started to realize that more and more was falling on them. Pensions were beginning to disappear, 401(k)’s had been introduced, and soon the majority of the working population would be fending for itself to build up its own retirement savings. Many people learned that the difference between a “defined benefit” plan a “defined contribution” plan was a lot – and it was not in their favor.
Most ordinary people did not really catch onto this for another decade. By the 1990’s everyone was getting familiar with their 401(k) but it would not sink in until they tried to retire at 62 or 65 that 401(k)s were not the same as pensions. It then fell to people like me to look them in the eyes and say, “the opposite of retirement is work.”
But the truth is, there weren’t a lot of people like me. In fact, there wasn’t anyone else in town. I had started a practice where I met with people, examined their financial condition, and gave them advice on how to use their money more efficiently, how to handle their risk, pay off their debts, increase their saving, and get answers to their questions. I took no money under management. I sold no products. I was not affiliated with any organization. I educated clients on types of investments but I did not advise them on their investing decisions. With enough education, clients made decisions with which they were comfortable. I charged an hourly fee for my services. I had no competition. None. I hoped I’d have an army of competition, an army of professionals out there doing what I was doing for a reasonable hourly fee, but it never happened. The need was so great that I had a steady stream of clients for thirty years, all finding me by word of mouth. I was not in the book. I did not advertise.
One day about five years ago, I got a call from Sarah Catherine. Someone had put her in touch with me. She was very interested in what I was doing and felt passionately about helping those who fell into the biggest demographic: people who had less than $500,000 in assets. Many of these people had a desire to learn but needed guidance and education in order to make good decisions for themselves. These folks needed “translators,” for lack of a better word. Trusted advisors who were independent, who didn’t sell products, who took no kickbacks from affiliates, and who didn’t make their money off their client’s savings.
APTUS FINANCIAL is Sarah Catherine’s answer to helping people plan reliably for their futures while not overlooking their present. I am proud to be a part of this and I am passionate about the APTUS philosophy. We are independent. We sell no products. We charge a clear price for our services for which you will receive a clear invoice; we don’t charge fees that you can’t find on your statements. Join us and see what it’s like to get independent financial advice