Our Story – “Fire in our Belly”

Have you ever had a story so compelling you just had to let everyone know about it? Yup, same here. If you’re like us, you’ve already scrolled to see how long this article actually is and either decided to commit or move on to the next attention-grabbing photo on your timeline—so we’ll be brief. Millennial Financial Planning like many start-ups was born at the bar under glasses of whiskey (always neat).

Back-story

We’re at a conference in Baltimore which we previously agreed to room together because at $300 a night, and on an “eat what you kill” pay structure, you find ways to lower cost. We take that back, we had a quasi-salary based off of our AUM…nevertheless, you get the point. Like most who have ever withstood an agonizing day of Powerpoint presentations; it’s a cultural tradition to find the drinking gorge immediately at a day’s end (of course we took the time to place our ties in our pockets—we’re not savages).

There we sat with colleagues from around our region that also secretly grumbled and struggled as a new-age advisor. Undoubtedly, the Financial Sector has shifted below all of our feet and with the Googleverse upon us; prospects are self diagnosing the next bubble like 75% of people before a doctor’s visit. Yup, we are guilty as charged, and 75% is a made up stat to drive home our point. Regardless.

Tell me more

After two or three doubles, we decided to partner and take this thing head on. We agreed to join our practice, split commissions, and be the yin for each other’s yang. Off we went combining our offices, meeting clients, and presenting our idea to everyone. Might as well go through the suck together than alone was our logic. Who would’ve thunk it? People loved our 2 brains, 4 eyes, 2 hearts campaign!

We’ve since dropped 242 but it could come back…don’t tease us with a good time

Nevertheless, we did have lackluster support—“if it can increase revenue credit, go for it”. Long story short, this IS a radical idea. Financial Advisors typically don’t play well together. We get it, here are two good-idea fairies that may have shared a handful of conversations before Baltimore and now have solved an industry conundrum to create more revenue. Say what you will, we knew we had something on our hands. The fire had ignited. We lobbied to publish newsletters tailored to our specific market, spotlight people who were changemakers, and build plans based on a client’s need instead of what paid us. We assumed that if executed properly, it would spread like wildfire and we would run this town. So after a month or so of traveling the eastern seaboard and pushing our agenda we felt the angst brewing. We started to receive pushback on our ideas or even worse, no feedback at all.

Needless to say, we found another bar to brainstorm and had the proverbial, “parents just don’t understand” conversation. I’ll hold the details but let’s just say the company balked at creating a local 5k. Hold tight my friend; you’re at roughly 500 words, it’s almost over.

S**t, or get off the pot

Like adults we asked ourselves that rhetorical question; would you let two kids with 5 years of combined experience run rouge with so many potential compliance violations at stake? Our answer was NO. So…we quit. Our logic was simple, every client we started there was someone we could’ve created for MFP. There are a slew of details we’re skipping but that’s neither here nor there. We chose to get off the pot and chase our dream. That dream was to create a fee-only financial planning company tailored to our generation, millennials. Charge clients a reasonable fee and be there for them on all money matters.

Our vision was to create a model where we and our clients grew together. When we met John & Jane Doe, we taught them tactics to save, live, and invest. Our relationship would eventually evolve into sharing strategies to diversify, preserve, and protect. It made sense in our heads. Shoot for the moon and if you miss…

Time to tell the wife

Resigning is easy; be gracious for the opportunity, remain silent about your future and leave with a smile. Convincing your wife that everything is going to be fine with neither adequate savings nor any real entrepreneurial experience…HA! Surprisingly enough, they were both ultra chill about it. To be frank—they both were probably tired of hearing us complain. Now, with that being said, it’s not like we can go work at a Financial Institution while building MFP. Most importantly, whenever you leave a firm, there are noncompeting agreements to be mindful of. Fortunately our business model of “fee only” doesn’t conflict with theirs. In the meanwhile, we went out and got jobs.

Rob found a gig with an HR company and Chuck with a Home Solutions company. The experience was divine but it’ll need its own article to justify how much it was needed / how much we learned. Religiously, we burned the midnight oil! Late at night we drew up our business plan, assigned tasks for completion, and each morning after dropping the kids off to school—had our impromptu call about progress. We set hard dates and stuck to them. We remained silent about our progress. We remained humble about our passion. We never gave up on each other. The day we became an RIA with the state of Pennsylvania was the second most exciting day of MFP’s existence.

Cute, what’s the point

There’s a high probability if you finished this article, you didn’t do so because your life yearned for another “look at us story”. You most likely have a story to write and take it from us, you’re not crazy; “that fire in your belly will never subside… it’s not in your making nor was it mines” Dan Roccato, Professor [Personal Interview] (2016, June 5). If not careful , you will easily talk yourself out of your truth. Don’t let “it” define you. We know you all too well my friend. You have an accountant degree because it seemed suitable and honestly, it was. However, you visit art galas to marvel instead of networking over $12 wine and finger-food like the crowd. We see you, you stare at the strokes of their brush and think “is my work good enough to be here?”. Regardless if it is or isn’t , you want to be an artist, it secretly gets you out of the bed in the morning. We’ve already told you the second most important day of MFP’s existence. The most…you ask? Writing this article. In summary, you’ve read our story–hurry up and write yours. We’re all waiting on you.


“Our vision was to create a model where we and our clients grew together.”