SUCCESSION AND SUCCESS Reflections on My Presidency
“The future ain’t what it used to be.”
firm. We saw an amazing amount of growth during that decade — in fact, it was almost too much. When the new millennium rolled around, it felt like we were outrunning our headlights. To really take our services to the next level, we needed to offer more comprehensive asset-management services. Then, in 2003, I met Chris Cousins. Unlike other members of our team, this young man loved everything to do with portfolio management. We brought Chris onboard, and he immediately got to work using his skills to complement Financial Architects’ macroeconomic approach. Over time, it became clear that, beyond his professional talents, Chris had a flair for leadership, and he quickly took on more responsibilities here at the firm. This laid the seeds for our succession plan. Chris joining our leadership was like attaching the final leg to a three-legged stool. It was evident to me that we had assembled a dream team, and it was time to think about the then-distant future. It may sound strange to plan on stepping down from a company years in advance, but, when you are entrusted with the financial well- being of so many families, you have a moral obligation to ensure any changing of the guard is as smooth as possible. You see, we are passionate about never losing a client. For us to be successful in that goal, Financial Architects must not only survive; it must thrive into the future.
And to thrive, a firm has to outlast any one individual — a client, an advisor, or yes, the founder. Put simply, I can’t do this when I’m 80, nor should you want me to. That’s why I took the time all those years ago to prepare Chris and Pat to step into my shoes. The last thing I wanted was some outside individual or company stepping in to run Financial Architects. I couldn’t be happier with this succession. Two long-serving members of Financial Architects with whom I’ve worked personally are taking the next big step in their successful careers. Both have earned the confidence of our entire team by running their own divisions within the company. They are proven leaders who display our values and are deeply familiar with our clients and processes. There simply are no better people for the job. Of course, there will be change. As economies shift, old products become obsolete, and new ones come on the market. Financial Architects methods will continue to adapt. For example, we didn’t have exchange-traded funds 25 years ago, and now they’re everywhere. Who knows what we’ll have in 10 years? I certainly don’t, but I do know this succession gives our firm the energy, vision, and flexibility to capitalize on these changes when they come. The other difference you’ll likely notice is the speed of Financial Architects’ growth. Chris and Pat will have the opportunity to
In May of this year, we completed the internal ownership change at Financial Architects, Inc. The planned succession
of our firm’s leadership has been in motion for the past five years, and I’m excited by Chris’ and Pat’s plans for the future. Still, while reaching this milestone, I can’t help but reflect on the past and how much this journey has meant to me. Thinking back to 1985 when it was just Turner Thompson and me against the world, it almost would seem impossible that the Financial Architects of today is the same firm. Back in those days, it was just us doing everything to run the office. Now we have an amazing team of architects and a talented support team aiding clients every single day. I have no doubt this incredible growth is thanks in large part to the two who are now taking the helm of our company. The wind really began to fill our sails in 1990 when a young Pat Marody joined our ranks. Early on, we could see he had the talent to become an effective advisor. But what struck me the most was our ideals about good financial stewardship, keeping family first, and doing the right thing were very much in line. Indeed, he became like a brother to me as we bounced ideas off each other and charted the future of the
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go further and faster than I can now. Indeed, over the past three years, I’ve learned a lot from both of them. I cannot wait to see what they can do now that they’re steering the ship. What won’t change is the original vision of this company. Empowering Financial Freedom has been the bedrock that supports this firm since its founding in 1985. Both Chris and Pat share my conviction regarding the importance of running a values-driven firm that puts the needs of the client first. So, while the routes we use and the speed at which we travel may be shifting, the destination remains the same. You have my word on that. Ironically, I’m in no great hurry to retire. I love what I do. Every day for the past 40-plus years, I’ve been able to wake up and look forward to engaging in the lives of our clients and our team at FAI. For my personal clients, many of you have been meeting with Nick Sanchez over the past few years, so we may deliver continuity of value to you. Nick and I work closely to make sure we empower you toward your potential. I’m not moving out; I’m simply moving over. So I’m acting on what I’ve advised countless clients in similar situations to do: Retire to a different role. For the next three years, I’ll be a consultant to Financial Architects, there to help Chris and Pat with those “What do we do about this?” questions. I couldn’t be prouder to find myself working for the men I’ve watched become leaders these past few decades. Turner and I never would have imagined this little firm would become the success it is today. The people we advise are well beyond needing the bare-bones financial advice you’ll find on TV talk shows. Our best clients are already doing well with their lifestyle and money before we meet. To bring real value to them, we have to earn, nurture, and grow trust. The fact that so many of these incredible individuals have given us their votes of confidence over the years is deeply humbling. And, of course, I want to close by saying I couldn’t be prouder of the team we’ve built. The talent we’ve been able to attract over the years takes my breath away. In an industry with high turnover rates, we’ve managed to remain a workplace worth sticking around for. Pat said it best in a recent staff meeting, explaining how he had plenty of offers from other companies over the past 30 years: “I would never consider leaving,” he said, “because of the culture.” Hearing those words, I knew I’d succeeded in making Financial Architects a success.
DOG MOVIES FOR DOG DAYS Beat the Heat With a Canine Movie Marathon
We’re well into the dog days of summer, the hottest, most humid days of the year. These weeks have nothing to do with real dogs; they were nicknamed after the “dog star” Sirius by the Greeks to reflect the hottest time of the year following the star’s heliacal rise. Still, it’s a pretty good excuse to escape the heat with a dog movie marathon. Here are the films we recommend. ‘AIR BUD’ Most people remember “Air Bud” for the wild loophole, “Ain’t no rule says a dog can’t play basketball,” but this movie is about much more than a dog playing ball. After the death of his father, 12-year- old Josh Framm feels depressed and distant from his family. Enter a stray golden retriever named Buddy, who teaches Josh how to open his heart again. The two bond and learn lessons in overcoming loss, fighting for what you love, and, yes, playing basketball. “Air Bud” spawned a number of sequels and spin-off movies, but this first film is a true classic. ‘LADY AND THE TRAMP’ “Lady and the Tramp” is the classic story of two dogs who come from different worlds: the refined, loyal Lady and the rogue with a heart of gold, Tramp. This movie has music, laughs, and a spaghetti scene that rivals the balcony monologues from “Romeo and Juliet.” One of the few animated Disney classics about animals that won’t have you in tears, this is a movie the whole family can enjoy together. ‘HOMEWARD BOUND: THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY’ Looking for a bit more action in your animal movies? “Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey” delivers! After three beloved pets are left behind when their family goes on vacation, they trek across the Sierra Nevada wilderness to be reunited with the humans they love. Their adventure has thrills, close calls, and a heartwarming ending that will make you want to hug your pets close. When it’s too hot to go outside, make some popcorn and enjoy these great movies with your family. Don’t worry, none of the dogs die at the end.
Thanks for an incredible journey,
The information contained in this newsletter is derived from sources believed to be accurate. You should discuss any legal, tax, or financial matters with the appropriate professional. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Registered Representatives offer Securities through The O.N. Equity Sales Company, Member FINRA/SIPC (www.FINRA.org/ and www.SIPC.org). Investment Advisory Services offered through O.N. Investment Management Company and FAI Advisors, Inc., Financial Architects, Inc., and FAI Advisors, Inc. are not subsidiaries or affiliates of The O.N. Equity Sales Company or O.N. Investment Management Company. We have representatives currently registered in the following states: AL, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, LA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, NC, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TX, VA, WA, and WI.
Take a Break
Contrary to Popular Belief
Solution on Page 4
As Ken mentions on this month’s cover, there’s a reason our architects’ advice often differs from what you might see on TV. Indeed, thanks in large part to Mr. Grace’s vision, we’ve never been known to conform to an idea or strategy simply because it’s seen as “popular wisdom.” Here are just a few reasons why we take this approach.
ABOVE AVERAGE ADVISING
ROASTED CORN SALSA
When news anchors, talk show guests, and other “talking heads” give financial advice, they tend to cast as wide a net as possible. After all, if the majority of their viewership can’t use the information, they may tune out. And, as unfortunate as it is, most Americans simply aren’t saving for retirement. That’s why so much of the advice that gets broadcast is directed at simple percentage-based saving tips and uncomplicated plans like 401(K)s — they get the job done for the average Joe. But, if you’ve come to Financial Architects and your assets are above average, you need a financial plan that takes that into account. Because the bulk of popular financial wisdom out there is directed at those without many assets, it leads those that have successfully built their wealth to be overly frugal. While it never hurts to be conscientious with your money, being too cautious will keep you from many of your goals. At Financial Architects, we believe in building wealth while reducing risk — contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to make a choice between the two. The last pitfall of subscribing to run-of-the-mill financial advice is you can lose sight of why you’re building wealth in the first place. You don’t save money just to watch the numbers in your accounts go up — you want those dollars to work for you, not the other way around. This is why we use the phrase “wealth enjoyment” instead of “retirement” here at Financial Architects. You’ve worked hard to earn what you have, so why not put it towards your dreams? From the start, Financial Architects has focused on finding the best possible avenues for our clients to build their wealth. We owe this legacy to Ken and his steadfast belief in critical thinking. AVOIDING ‘GROUPTHINK’ REMEMBER WHY YOU SAVE
Corn is plentiful during the summer months, and this easy-to-make salsa is sure to be a hit at your next get-together.
1. Heat a cast-iron skillet to high. Char corn, turning occasionally, for 10–14 minutes until kernels begin to blacken in spots. 2. Using a sharp knife, remove corn kernels from cobs and transfer to a large mixing bowl. 3. With a wooden spoon or potato masher, gently crush corn to release starch and juices. 4. Add jalapeño, onion, tomato, and cilantro. Mix to combine. 5. Top with lime juice and season with salt. 6. Serve alongside your favorite tortilla chips. • 2 medium ears of corn, shucked • 1 jalapeño or Fresno chile, seeded and thinly sliced • 1/2 red onion, diced • 1 large tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped • 1/4 bunch cilantro leaves, sliced • Juice of 1 lime • Kosher salt, to taste DIRECTIONS
Inspired by Nom Nom Paleo
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Inside This Issue 1 | Succession and Success 2 | Succession and Success (continued) 2 | The Best Movies About Dogs 3 | Why We Do Things Differently at FAI 3 | Roasted Corn Salsa 4 | Not Your Average Vacation Lodgings
America’sWeirdest Airbnbs THIS AIN’T MOTEL 6!
When Airbnb was founded a little over a decade ago, the developers hoped to provide an alternative to traditional travel accommodations. Today, with annual revenue in the billions, the service is an industry unto itself. While most people use Airbnb to “live like a local” while traveling, you can find some truly wacky lodging options if you spend some time searching the platform. Here are just a few of the many contenders for the title of “Weirdest Airbnb in the U.S.” For ease of searching, the listings here have the same titles as they do on Airbnb. BRAND NEW STUDIO EARTHSHIP TAOS, NEW MEXICO Earthships, houses run by clean energy and featuring reused materials, are a fixture of the Taos area. This one, which looks almost like a crashing wave with a living space in its undertow, combines the rustic charm of truly getting away from it
all with modern amenities like Wi-Fi and in- home laundry. It’s a truly unique living space surrounded by pristine nature and not far from the historic Taos Pueblo. MANCAVE APARTMENT/AIRPLANE HANGAR GENEVA, FLORIDA Airbnb super hosts Dan and Deborah have no shortage of quirky properties for rent — including yurts and treehouses — but their apartment fashioned out of an airplane hangar surely takes the cake. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was a theme restaurant featuring eclectic aviation. Memorabilia lines the walls with a bar front and center, and the bed is in a loft high above the ground. DOG BARK PARK INN B&B COTTONWOOD, IDAHO As you approach the Dog Bark Park Inn, you won’t have to guess if you’re in the right place. After
all, how many buildings are shaped like beagles? When describing the space on Airbnb, the hosts make no bones about who this rental is aimed for. “Stay in a giant dog!” they say. In addition to being inside a massive wooden dog, you’ll find canine- themed games, books, and more. Talk about ruffing it.
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