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How I Hung My Shingle And How I Plan on Keeping It There
The mindset was all about security. To be effective, this type of planning must be implemented well in advance of troubled times. Unfortunately, for many people, when the ressession hit, it was already too late to do any meaningful planning. Like all of you, I eventually weathered the storm. Partnering with Kennedy Berkley in 2011 allowed me to take on additonal finance-related work, and over the last nine years, my practice has grown into the corporate and estate-planning niche I originally envisioned. Business is once again good for my clients. It is fantastic to see many of you flourshing and growing your businesses and retirement accounts. While I love seeing newfound expansion, it’s also important to remember where we started. We are now seven years into a bull market, and it may continue for another 10 years or it may end tomorrow. No one truly knows when the next recession will hit. But if you want to do any type of preventive planning, the time to do so is now. The Great Recession wasn’t just a defining point for starting my business — it also taught me to never forget how important a safety net is. That goes beyond my practice; it holds true for you as well. Do you have a stable retirement plan? If you’re a business owner, have you diversified your structure? Do you know your risks? Where are your assets? Will your estate plan hold up if another recession hits? These are the questions I love to help people answer.
In 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen roughly 50 percent from its high in 2007. I am sure most of you remember it quite well, but with the Dow now currently above 25,000 (practically double its high from 2007), I feel it is important to revisit where we were just nine short years ago. 2009 also happened to be the year that I first hung my shingle. I was 27 at the time, and in my infinite wisdom, I thought why not start a business when the country was knee-deep in a financial meltdown? Truth be told, this was a decision of necessity above all else. Like many Americans at the time, I had no idea where my next mortgage payment was going to come from. When I started practicing law, law firms were shedding associates left and right. The few firms that were hiring certainly weren’t looking to beef up their corporate finance or
estate planning divisions. I had a law license and I had a degree, but there was nowhere for me to go with them. The only choice left was to start my firm, and while the pundits may claim that a recession is the best time to start a business, let me tell you … it ain’t all that fun. Starting off was bare bones. Sharon Weaver at Mission Financial Planning (bless her soul) let me use part of her office space, and all I needed to do next was build a client base. How hard could it be, right? My original plan went out the window. With my finance background, I wanted to focus the firm on estate and corporate planning, but the environment of the time meant that clients needed help with bankruptcy, asset protection, Medicaid, Medicare, and other preventive measures the law provides. No one was talking about business growth.
-John Thompson 913-214-1884 1
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