“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders.  Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” (Antoine de Saint-Exupery, French writer)

In 2002, we set out to help our clients win with their investments.  At the time, my business partner, Adam Zuercher, and I were 25 years old.  We had no clients, and thus, no assets to manage.  Using what meager savings we had accumulated at the time, we purchased a computer (one for me and Adam used his personal laptop), 2 phones, a subscription to Morningstar research and a couple Microsoft Office licenses.  And away we went.

Having been members of the community for a few years in our prior jobs as accountants at our respective CPA firms, we began to schedule lunches and attend networking opportunities to get the word out that we were in business, and were ready to help.  We also made our rounds talking with our family members for low hanging fruit, hoping they would entrust us to manage all or a portion of their assets.

And slowly…yet surely…one by one…clients began to sign up.  Our investment philosophy and planning techniques piqued prospective clients’ interests.  Our passion and desire to help them navigate their financial lives began to light up the room.  And slowly…yet surely…assets started to trickle in for us to manage.  Relationships began to build.  Our client’s goals of retirement or college for their children or legacy they sought to leave or charity the desired to support…all began to crystalize.  What had started as a snowflake, now joining with others…creating that desired ‘snowball’ effect.

Then, 2008.  Some call it The Great Financial Crisis.  I call it a Slow-Motion Train Wreck.  The markets didn’t dive all at once.  They dove consistently for 6 straight months.  Having lived through it, I can honestly say those were the longest 6 months in history.  Yet, somehow, through the work of our government regulators, and the hope of better days ahead in the mind of investors…the markets began to turn upward in March of 2009.  And slowly…yet surely…the market would completely regain all that it had lost by 2013.  And with the momentum of the markets on our side, and a consistent inflow of new clients, we were ready to make our first ‘big’ hire.  Adam and I had reached our capacity to not only serve our clients well, but also run and build a good business.  In the fall of 2013, our first Associate Wealth Advisor, Josh Robb, joined our team.

We didn’t tell him to ‘gather wood’ nor did we ‘give orders’.  Rather, we painted a picture of the vastness of the sea of underserved clients that we were positioned to help.  And slowly…yet surely…he began to sign up clients as well.  They put their trust and confidence in his knowledge and skillset that ensured they would accomplish their financial goals.

In 2013…Adam, myself, Josh and a part time Client Service Administrator…fresh off the markets having fully recovered from the Great Financial Crisis…set our sights, once again, on the endless sea of baby-boomers who were reaching retirement age by the droves.  And slowly…yet surely…we were able to help more…and more…and more clients on their journey to financial freedom.  Later that year, we would hire a Business Development Officer to aid in getting the word out on the remarkable service and enhanced investment returns we were providing clients.  In 2015, we hired an Operations Manager to assist with compliance and trading.  In 2018, we hired a full time Research Analyst to help us keep an eye on the markets and our investments.  In 2019, we onboarded an additional Associate Wealth Manager as our client count began to necessitate another advisor.  And in order to maintain the great service we were known for, in 2020 we hired an Executive Assistant to join our team.  In 2021, we hired an Administrative Assistant as the firm reached a point where our Client Service Administrator needed a helping hand.

And slowly…yet surely…our team has now grown to 11 members who put 2 feet on the ground each morning to serve over 300 clients in and around Findlay, Ohio and steward over $250 million in assets under management.  And with technology, our footprint has extended far beyond the confines of our geographical area as our brand is gaining traction and recognition on a much broader level.  We have 3 platforms (The Everyday Advisor, Tony Hixon and HZ Capital) where our advisors seek to educate clients on financial matters and a weekly podcast (The Invested Dads) for those who desire to consume content by listening on their morning drive or workout.

And it doesn’t stop there.  This week, we onboarded another team member…a Life Coach.  Knowing that our advisors excel at the numbers side of retirement, our Life Coach will now help with the softer, nonfinancial side of retirement.  Our team of Financial Advisors will ensure that our clients have enough money to sleep at night, and our Life Coach will help ensure they have enough purpose to get up in the morning.  He will help us serve our clients during their transition from their successful careers, into a meaningful retirement.  {More info to come on this new service soon!}

And later this fall, my book Retirement Stepping Stones will release.

And we’re not stopping there.  We have a remarkable firm, our investment philosophy has stood the test of time, our service is second to none.  We’ve helped so many, yet we aren’t done.  There’s so many more to serve, so many more need our help.  A vast number of retirees are unprepared for what’s next.

But we’re ready.  Our firm is ready.  With God’s help, Adam and I have built the ship.  Our ship mates are manning the vessel, with eyes straining toward the horizon.  Some think we set sail in 2002.  The truth is, we set sail today.  And tomorrow…and the next day.  Each day a new adventure.  Each day yearning to help others.

The vast and endless sea awaits…