I always wanted to do exactly what I’m doing now – helping people plan and implement towards financial and career independence.
It started in earnest at my first internship, a non profit’s financial counseling branch. We specialized in credit counseling for people who really had nowhere else to go. Tough conversations and real stories abound, I’ve been chasing that sense of personal fulfillment ever since. I love helping people.
After a few experiences as an employee at large banks (i.e. Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank.) and helping manage the investments of both my university’s endowment and a Registered Investment Advisory practice out of the state of Washington, I came to a hard hitting realization.
Most of America hardly owned any investments to begin with, so focusing so much effort on growing already extremely large portfolios seemed like just helping the rich get richer. There was a larger problem not being addressed.
Myself asking Minneapolis Fed Chair, Neel Kashkari, a question.
Fourth grader me rapping about peace at an Iraq War march.
My Dad built a little library. I helped a little.
If I truly wanted to make the best use of my strategic skills and passion for meaningful large picture conversations, I’d need to widen the scope from just investment management to holistic financial planning.
I thought back to that first internship and my overall college experience. How I fought tooth and nail to ensure that my family’s experience with student and other debt didn’t follow me. My own and my family’s school of hard knocks and visits to my extended family in Sudan (where nearly half live in poverty) was etched into my brain.
To ensure I didn’t follow a path of decisions being made for me by circumstance and indecision, I decided to dedicate my life to helping those most susceptible to dead end jobs and a disengaging future. But to do that, I needed to make sure I was in a position to help, financially, emotionally, and mentally. So during college I slept on a couch, took nearly double the average class load to save money and finish college earlier, sold my blood plasma, and worked three jobs simultaneously, all to minimize student loans.
After all that, I graduated and got hired to work at a local financial planning firm, where we specialized on financial matters in addition to investments. However, I still felt as if something was missing. Between the lack of transparency in certain areas, client conversations that tended to remain surface level, and our inability to cater our pricing and services to the people that I had initially sought out to reach, I eventually came to the realization that it wasn’t a fit.
At that point, I was frustrated with the lack of financial and career independence in the African, entrepreneur, and younger community. I was frustrated with the American Dream mirage, seeming to always be just out of reach to those like me. Eventually, I decided creating a financial, career, and business advising firm where transparency, affordability, and personalization would always reign king, would be a worthy call, so much so that I have completed an education requirement and exam, which covers general financial planning principles, investment planning, retirement savings and income planning, risk management and insurance planning, tax planning, estate planning, professional conduct and regulation, and education planning. In addition, I’ve received my Enrolled Agent credential, the highest tax professional credential recognized by the IRS, covering the taxation of individuals and businesses, and the representation of clients before the IRS.
If you’re sick of the bullshit, I know you’ll find it a worthy call too.
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