My Story to Becoming a Financial Planner
As a principal and financial advisor at Armstrong, Fleming & Moore, Inc., I provide my clients personalized and comprehensive financial planning advice to get them on a path where finances are no longer a worry in their lives. Despite growing up with no dreams of being a financial advisor, events transpired when I was younger that helped shape my future.
While I was in high school, my father’s company was sold. He received a substantial amount of money, probably enough that he could have retired comfortably. With money no longer an issue, he struggled with occupying his free time since he no longer had to go to work every day. The other shoe dropped when the firm he chose to help manage the proceeds turned out to be a complete fraud. While we still would have been okay financially, this led my father to make a series of bad choices to recoup some of those losses, putting us in an even deeper hole. To this day, I don’t know for sure how much trouble we were in as the story depended on which parent I talked to. I was not sure if we were going to have to move or if I would be able to go to college. This created such a rift that my parents eventually divorced.
After seeing firsthand the devastating effects bad financial decisions can have on a family, I really wanted to learn how to manage my own money to make sure that never happened to me. Initially, I was looking at colleges that offered engineering degrees, I shifted towards my focus to business/finance programs. Spending most of my life in the suburbs, I always wanted to live in a city environment, so I attended George Washington University, located just a few blocks from the White House in downtown Washington, DC. Given our financial uncertainty at the time, the fact that they offered a scholarship cemented the decision for me. Little did I know that the business and finance classes weren’t going to help me as much as I thought, and it wasn’t until I went out into the real world that I would learn more practical skills to manage my finances.
The summer before my junior year, I was looking for a full-time summer job so I could stay in the DC area. I eventually found a job with my current firm Armstrong, Fleming, & Moore, Inc. as an intern. Admittedly, it wasn’t exciting. But even though I was just converting our paper files to electronic documents, I knew the firm managed clients’ investments, so it gave me a foot in the door. While I was there, I learned that managing clients’ investment portfolios was just one part of the job, and it opened my eyes to the whole concept of financial planning.
After graduating from college, I accepted a full-time job in the operations department. Over the next decade or so, I accepted more and more responsibilities and eventually started working directly with clients as a lead financial advisor. In order to better serve my clients and help them avoid the mistakes my father made, I obtained the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification. It was a rigorous but rewarding process that gave me the knowledge and skills for a fulfilling career.
After a day at the office (or working from home), I relax by working out, going for a run or jumping on the Peloton bike. Occasionally, I hit the golf course to scatter some golf balls into the woods, and during the summer there’s nothing better than floating in the pool with a cold beverage. I am a passionate fan of the New York Jets and Notre Dame football teams, as well as the New Jersey Devils hockey team. I still honor my Canadian heritage (I was born in Toronto) so if there’s a Canadian team in the NHL hockey playoffs and the Devils are eliminated, you know who I am cheering for.