I often say that “my business is personal”. Why? Well, because for me, it is. As a Financial Advisor with over 20 years’ experience in financial services, I have had the pleasure of helping a lot of great people through various stages of their life. Looking back, many of the individuals that began as clients, have become close personal friends as well. Although I may deal with numbers all day, my clients are certainly not just a number to me.
As your Financial Advisor, I will certainly be getting to know quite a bit about you. Therefore, allow me to share a bit about myself.
I am a graduate of LaSalle Academy in Providence, attended the University of Rhode Island, and now reside in Johnston, RI. When I am not helping people with their financial planning, you will find me spending time with friends, family, and my son, Isaiah. I love to travel when time allows, and wine tasting and collecting is both a hobby and a passion of mine.
Although I am born and raised in RI, my father emigrated from Italy to Providence in 1963. When he left Italy for the promise of a better life in the US, he was dead broke…he actually borrowed $200 from his sister to pay for the move! Fast forward a few years, he met my mom, married her, and had me.
Although my parents started out with nothing, they were determined to live the American Dream…and they were not afraid to work for it. My dad started working in a factory, then got a second job as a mechanic. He had weekends off, so he filled those days by cutting lawns and shoveling snow in the winter. Eventually, his “side job” of cutting grass and shoveling snow turned into a full scale landscape construction business, and he did that full time.
In the mid 1980’s things were pretty good for my family. My dad had a thriving business making about $300,000 per year, my mom took care of the books (and me), and I went to school and helped my dad on the weekend.
One day, in 1989, my dad woke up blind. In both eyes. He had gone to bed the night before and could see fine. Next day, he wakes up totally blind. Can you imagine?
So now what? How can my dad run his landscaping business if he can’t see? He can’t see, drive, estimate jobs, work on the equipment, or meet with customers. I was just a 14-year-old kid and my mom could only help so much, so life as we knew it changed literally overnight.
Now that my father was disabled, his income shrunk abruptly. He was now trying to support his family with little to no income. As you can imagine, all the money he had saved throughout the years began to dwindle at a rapid rate. He had spent a lifetime working and sacrificing for his family, with the dreams of retiring and finally enjoying life, and now he “watched” it all slip away in a matter of a few short years.
The stress of the situation caused my dad to have a stroke, which later led to a heart attack, and ultimately his passing in 2001.
I know it’s a sad story, but what does any of this have to do with “why I do what I do”? Actually, it has a lot. Unfortunately, in the 1980’s there wasn’t a lot of access to information. There was no internet, not much consumer education, and not many financial advisors. Therefore, my parents pretty much stuck to what they knew…working hard and saving. But imagine if I was older. What if I had been able to advise them on how to protect their family and their future, like I do with my clients today?
Like I said, my dad woke up blind one day and his income stopped. What if he had disability income insurance? Dealing with his loss of vision would have still been awful, but at least his income would have continued. Had his income and his ability to support my mom and I continued, he probably would not have suffered a stroke due to the stress.
How about Life Insurance? If my parents knew about life insurance, they certainly would have put some in place. When my dad ultimately passed away, he would have been able to do so knowing that my mom and I would be fine, at least financially…instead of wondering how our lives were going to turn out.
How about investments? No one told my dad about the stock market and retirement accounts. If they did, I know he would have listened. If someone educated my parents on the value of putting some money to work in the stock market, so that some of their money could work FOR them, I am fairly certain that my dad would have taken the advice, and maybe taken a little time off as well to spend with his family.
Anyway, that’s why I do what I do. None of us can see the future, but we can certainly learn from the past. None of what happened was either of my parents’ fault. They simply didn’t have the access to information or a trusted advisor to point them in the right direction. But times have changed, and information is everywhere. I may no longer be able to help my parents, but I can do my best to make sure that my friends and clients leave our meetings in a better place than when they came in. Like I said, my business is personal.