By Jason Silverberg, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®
Money. What does it mean? How does it work? Why are we all so obsessed with it? These were questions that I asked my parents when I was younger. At an early age, I learned about the inner workings of our financial system. I learned what Money was and why it was important. I also learned what it was like to not have any. All of these factors enhanced my perspective on what Money is its impact on society as a whole all the way down to a very personal level.
My story begins at the age of 13, when I had my Bar-Mitzvah. This monumental occasion represents a Jewish boy’s journey into manhood. It was a turning point in my childhood. I needed to learn my Hebrew verses and speak them in front of my family and friends. The reward was a big party and gifts. Maybe even some money.
My sights were set on this state of the art stereo system, with a dual cassette deck and a 3 CD carousel changer. Although, as a 13-year old, the biggest reward was just the relief of completion. No more extra tutoring, late night practice sessions, and the added pressure. Looking back, this was the first time that I struggled and persevered. It solidified the foundation for my work ethic.
The eventful day came and went and my loved ones were generous with their gifts. My parents helped me learn what to do with all the checks that I received. I setup my first bank account, endorsed the checks, and deposited the funds. From there, my dad encouraged me to invest most of the money. Since we earmarked the money for college, a few years away, we invested in the stock market.
I made a little money and caught the investing bug. I couldn’t believe that I was able to do this. It was so much fun. I bought a couple more stocks and made more money. I couldn’t lose. Sure enough, I saw my mutual funds drop. And drop. And drop. I experienced, in my early teens, what many people don’t experience until they're older. Loss Aversion. My parents coached me to stay invested and not to panic. After all, I didn't need the money right now.
The next day, I opened up the newspaper and all my investments were up. And up they went. After that, I added a couple more stocks to my portfolio. When I got my driver’s license, I decided to cash in my winnings to buy my first car.
A red 1996 Mazda Protégé. What a beauty. It wasn’t just a car, it represented more than that. It was the manifestation my hard work, late nights, careful planning, and sweat equity. I could go anywhere, do anything, and I guess had to pay for gas too.
I held a job for the majority of my high school years. My resume consisted of babysitting, serving frozen yogurt, developing pictures, and even running a bakery.
Around this time, my parents struggled to make their relationship work. They decided to split up. While it was for the best, it still was hard. They argued about a variety of different things, and money was a big factor. I heard bits and pieces of their conversation, which changed my perspective. I could now see how money affects a household and a relationship and how it wasn’t always good.
My dad moved out and now they were supporting two separate households. Money was tight again. My needs were always met by my parents. My wants were a different story.
I went to the University of Maryland and worked throughout school. I knew I wanted to work in a money related field so I took a job as a bank teller. I learned a lot about the banking system and the bigger role that money fits in the world. This was the missing piece to my understanding of money.
I did a lot of soul-searching during those years and put a lot of pressure on myself to commit to a career. I reflected back on the role money played in my life. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I finally determined that I wanted to help people make smart financial decisions. Financial Planning was the perfect fit.
I started my Financial Planning practice back in 2005. My mission is to serve as many people as I can to help them become the best versions of themselves. I know firsthand how money can impact a family. I hope to bring a brighter future to my clients and help them live financially free.
All my experiences have shaped who I am today. As a parent of two children, I now reflect back on my childhood. I pick and choose the best aspects of it and teach my kids similar principles. I’ve learned a lot and still have a lot to learn. I’m looking forward to giving them, and you, the same gift that my parents gave me. The gift of a financial education.
I’ve packaged up this knowledge all into an easy-to-read book. Whether you’re a newlywed or a pre-retiree, a new parent or a divorcee, this book has the advice you need to find the solution to your financial success. Pick up your copy of The Financial Planning Puzzle and let me know what you think. I can’t wait to hear how it’s changed the way you look at money.
Buy the book now on Amazon.com here.
If you’d like to discuss your own personal finances, you can email me directly at email@example.com or call me at 301-610-0071.
Jason Silverberg CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, specializes in comprehensive financial planning. His practice aims at helping families and small business owners to fit their financial pieces together to create financial freedom. He uses a values-based process to connect with his clients on a deeper level than most other advisors, diving into the "why" behind the numbers. He focuses on helping clients achieve and protect their goals through methodical investment strategies and calculated risk management and insurance solutions. Separate from the financial plan and our role as financial planner, we may recommend the purchase of specific investment or insurance products or accounts. These product recommendations are not part of the financial plan and you are under no obligation to follow them.
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