CD Financial January 2019

Give us a call! 949.359.5100




30270 Rancho Viejo Road Suite D San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Why I Plotted My Own Course


T he journey to opening CD Financial began with a request from my wife, Angie. It had nothing to do with me starting a business or even entering the financial sector. Instead, it was based on moving somewhere with a less severe winter. We were living in Philadelphia at the time when I received a job offer in California. It was perfect timing, as Angie had endured more than enough of the East Coast’s weather. “I’ve given you 10 years in the snow,” she told me. “I think it’s time we move somewhere warmer.” She’s Southern, after all. After landing in California, I began working for a rather large financial advisory firm. It was during that time that I realized our federal workforce was grossly underserved by the industry. The federal retirement system is its own animal and requires expertise that most financial planners simply do not have. After working with these folks and coming to appreciate their daily contributions in assisting the government’s smooth operation, I had a newfound respect and admiration for them. I decided that I wanted to focus on helping them prepare for the retirement of their dreams. To do that, I knew I needed to become a fiduciary and run my own practice. A fiduciary is somebody who, by law, must always act in the best interest of their clients. As scary as that sounds, only about 15 percent of people who call themselves financial advisors or planners are required to hold themselves to the fiduciary standard. How many fiduciaries understand the federal retirement system in any depth, though? Likely far less than 1 percent of all advisors. See what I mean by underserved? “While working at other firms, I asked questions about why we were offering only certain products and not others. The response I’d hear most often was, ‘Stop asking questions and don’t worry about it.’ Well, I want to worry about it.”

The second requirement was that I’d run a totally independent practice whose only goal was to provide the best possible retirement plan for our clients. While working at other firms, I asked questions about why we were offering only certain products and not others. The response I’d hear most often was, “Stop asking questions and don’t worry about it.”Well, I want to worry about it. I believe I have a responsibility to turn over every possible stone if there’s a chance it will benefit my clients. I wanted to operate in their best interest, not the best interest of a huge organization. No more influencing of the financial instruments we were going to use by some outside force. To do that, I had to do it on my own. And so, CD Financial was born. We’ve been operating since 2010, with a particular focus on helping public-sector employees, though we do work with clients in private-sector jobs as well. Our goal is to provide clients clarity about their future and jointly develop a written retirement income plan, allowing them to retire with confidence. There are so many misconceptions about federal employees — some of my clients are even sheepish to admit they work for the IRS — and it’s important that everyone who walks through our doors feels comfortable, welcome, and cared for. When I’m not working, I spend a lot of time as a volunteer minister with my congregation doing community outreach work with those who are struggling. It’s incredibly meaningful to be able to help in whatever small way I can. I also love hanging out with Angie and our three wonderful children. While Angie spearheaded our move to California, I’ve found the Pacific ocean to be my home away from home. Any chance I get, you’ll find me stand-up paddle-boarding, swimming, or simply enjoying the beauty of the seaside. I’m looking forward to sharing more of my story with you over the coming months. And I can’t wait to hear yours when you come into our office. After all, retirement isn’t just about dollars and cents. It’s about living the best possible life after your career is done.

-Charles Dzama


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