In 1992 I received my Certified Financial Planner CFP™ after spending 6 years consulting clients within the life insurance business. In 1992, the CFP™ designation was the recommended education for anyone thinking about building a solid foundation for a successful financial planning practice. A practicing CFP™ builds a solid financial plan around the concept of using investments as the catalyst for growing wealth and achieves client’s long range goals verses using life insurance as the platform of achieving the client’s objectives.
As a potential planning or investment client, you want to find true success in achieving your goals, by building a working relationship with an Advisor that is built on the “Trust Factor”. You must be comfortable discussing some uncomfortable subject matters like how you value money, family interaction, motivating factors for wealth accumulation and work environment. There are not many people that openly discuss these topics with a stranger; so, get comfortable with your Planner in the initial meeting to guarantee a successful outcome. Consider this meeting a job interview by both participating parties. Planning attacks your vulnerabilities and makes them palatable. Aspirations around finances that you otherwise would have never discussed become meaningful and possible. If you choose the right Planner; you will find it easy to tell your story; discuss your accomplishments, your goals and your long-range needs. Candid conversation leads to great outcomes.
My experiences, education, and business philosophy is an open book for clients to use in understanding how I can help them. “Financial planning or investing is a personal component of your life and confidentiality and proper attention from your Advisor will make your success more certain”.
I been married for almost 29 years and have two daughters in College. I appreciate family and was raised in a solid middle class household with two loving parents. My parents knew the importance of education, giving back to the community and fulfilling one’s ambition. My Dad was an Engineer and my Mom was a Chemist. Growing up, I lived where ever the next construction project was being built: Houston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. I graduated early from high school to work on the Alaska Pipeline for a year before attending Claremont McKenna College earning a Liberal Arts Degree. After graduation in 1981, I moved to Denver Colorado to pursue a career in government, with the idea of running for an elected office. In 2008, I was the Congressional Candidate in Colorado’s 7th Congressional Race.
If you lived in Denver during the early 80’s, you got to experience the ending of one of the many energy booms that came to Colorado. Unable to find a job in local government, I took a job as a Landman, leasing up property in the mid-west for Canadian Oil Companies. Oil prices crashed, the Canadians went back to Canada and I tried the political arena again. In 1982, I joined the Jack Swigert Campaign for the Colorado Congressional 6th District. Jack was one of the Apollo 13 Astronaut slated to land on the moon, but ran into mechanical problem on the flight and managed to get back to earth safely. Jack was impressive individual and won the race. I had always loved the NASA program since I was a kid living in Houston. My Dad would take us on Sunday drives through the neighborhoods where the original 7 astronauts lived: too cool. Unfortunately, during the campaign Jack was diagnosed with cancer, which led to his death prior to taking office. Another political experience ends, and I began looking for employment opportunities Colorado. I had always enjoyed the finance area and real estate.
At this point I had an offer to join my Dad and build homes up in Summit County during one of the worst real estate markets. I got my Real Estate License, entered the real estate development business, built a couple of homes, could not sell them and went broke. When the Canadians left with the oil money, and South Americans were caught up in their own recession, the second home business was not where you wanted to be. I held on for about three years working night jobs while doing construction during the day. The only good thing that came out of this period was meeting my wife.
In 1986, the only business left that I had an interest in was finance; 30 years later I still going strong. I started in life insurance and went to work for a Brokerage Firm that represented ITT Life. Back then, the biggest idea in life insurance with the concept of a cash value life insurance; a policy that provide not only life insurance but also had a portion of the premium going into cash value inside the policy. EF Hutton had come up with the concept to counter the idea of “buy term insurance and invest the difference”. I ended up opening a satellite office in Colorado Springs and recruited agents. This work experience opened my eyes to the world of financial planning. I cold called and went door to door introducing the cash value life insurance concept. Most of my client’s needs went well past what these life insurance policies could provide and I did not have the tool to assist them.
In 1989 I found two companies that were trying to figure out the fee based financial planning opportunity: The Acacia Group and American Express. I went with The Acacia Group and that is where I met my first CFP™ professional. I like the whole idea of building financial security through investments verses life insurance policies. After completing the two-year course to get the designation and in 1992, I spent the next 6 years at The Acacia Group getting the proper training under their Mentoring program. There is a science to working with clients, getting them to talk openly about their goals and aspirations and then implementing recommendations to achieve those goals. In the end, the key to success is staying engaged with the client though out the years by monitoring progress through annual reviews and adjustments to the plan when needed.
As you gain experience as a Financial Planner, you become even more aware of the need to be completely independent in your recommendation of products to meet your client’s needs. As a CFP™, you do not want to be restrained by a company you may work for and having to use their products. You want to have a full arsenal of financial products available in the market place to use in helping your clients. In 1995, I implemented this concept and went the independent route working for myself and implementing a fee based planning practice.
Then in 2000, I started JW Lerew and Company Inc. to complete the circle and clear my securities business through an independent brokerage firm: H., Beck Inc. To be honest with you, I like working with people that are like minded, serious about their planning needs and they are willing to put the work into their plan to help me meet their expectations. You cannot work all these years closely with clients on their most sacred goals, as well as handle their most valued assets without developing close relationships and all of this is built around the “Trust Factor”. This is how we work at JW Lerew and Company Inc. I personally invite you to find out more about us.