In September 1978, I opened the doors to my tax practice in my garage at home. While being a little far removed from a “Tax Expert”, I could spell T-A-X forward and backward and there was an intense desire to excel and make a difference in people’s lives. That intensity drove me to learn by constant reading and study to really become a skilled professional that could help people, studying and passing my Enrolled Agent’s exam administered by IRS.
As the years passed, I found that a strange thing was happening. While a confirmed Introvert, I discovered I really enjoyed working with people and reached the place I wanted to work with them throughout the year and involve myself with more of their lives than just taxes. This led me to pursue Certification as a Financial Planner (CFP®). Wow! Much tougher than I envisioned, but dogged pursuit produced results and I moved into the new world of helping people in all kinds of financial matters.
As the firm grew and matured, I realized there was more than I could do alone, so as circumstances evolved in 2007, I began to consider the career path of my daughter. She was smart, (two Masters Degrees), caring and accomplished in her own field and while somewhat dubious as to the relationship between counseling and financial planning, agreed to join me for a 5 year trial run. That time soon passed and because “Dad is always right”, she studied and passed her Certification as a Financial Planner ™ in short time, feeling it was where she belonged. Now I can confidently say that she is exceptionally mature in the field, having absorbed much more than I ever knew and is ever carrying more of the planning load.
In 2012, I re-discovered Sherryle, my youngest. Even though Sherryle had worked with me on and off for most of 30 years, I think she had a certain mindset of, “I don’t want to be on the front lines or work that hard to be a professional. I’m just a Mom”, attitude. I convinced her that with her many years of experience and fighting in the trenches with me, she was already quite accomplished, just not recognized. So, with great reservation, she began the arduous process of studying for the Enrolled Agents Exam and passed on the first try! So, she has risen to become the primary tax preparer and expert, with me joining in and accessing my memory bank on the more complex and arcane returns.
All that to say, I have now managed to work myself into a wonderful situation whereby Shelby carries the primary Financial Planning work, Sherryle does most of the tax work, so what is left for me to do?
Most would say “Retire”, but here’s what I’ve discovered. I began this journey with a destination in mind, but I reached that a while back. I have begun to realize the real goal for me is to Enjoy the Journey.
While always interested and involved in the investment world, I now have the freedom to immerse myself in charts and graphs, company conference calls and reports. In addition, there is the greater Economy to try to understand and all of its implications on investments. And so, this has become my world. I discipline myself, due to grave risk of injury by wife Sugar, to take off 10 days to 2 weeks during each holiday and maybe a few extra along the way, but even then, in today’s mobile world, I am able to keep abreast of changing economic conditions.
The accomplishment of Robert Marchand, who rode a bicycle for 14 miles in 1 hour at the age of 105 is on my mind as I write. To me it says the main objective is to Keep Moving. And so I shall, as long as it is fun. I’ve insisted the Team always be on alert as to any abnormal actions or indications on my part to protect our clients from harm by any possible ineptitude…but they tell me all is well at the moment.