I’ve now hit a stage in life where I laugh at myself all the time. It’s not that I’m particularly funny or witty. It’s more a byproduct of becoming more self-aware and owning my unique behaviors. For as long as I can remember financial anxiety has played a dominating role and got in the way of me living my best life. Today its psychologically freeing, but there were times when it was a little embarrassing.
The first meal I cooked for my wife when we were dating was boiled chicken legs on a bed of white rice with iceberg lettuce. You can’t cheaper than that. I rarely allowed myself to enjoy small treats or conveniences because I was afraid it would ruin my financial goals. My old Honda Civic looked like it rolled over in a ditch, but I didn’t have a car payment. I could go on and on.
Becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER Professional ™ led to my most important professional and personal growth. Who knew that coordinating my finances, understanding the why and how would provide the sense of control I needed to take my anxiety from an 8 to a 2. Hess Financial was established because the places I worked for in the past were always so focused on the transactional element of personal finance, but we were designed for people who wanted a much more life impacting relationship with money.
I like to say it all started with a bike. This bike pictured here was not financially attainable to me as an eleven-year-old kid in the 1970’s no matter how many aluminum cans I recycled and odd jobs I got. A massive evolution in bikes was taking place and I was stuck with my orange banana seat monster that had been rewelded countless times. I was crushed of course, but it motivated me to be the best steward of my resources as possible. Just recently I discovered an original 1979 bike on eBay, and it now hangs in my office. It’s my “Rosebud” if you get that Citizen Kane movie reference.
Economics at Rutgers University fascinated me. I loved how weakness in one area of the economy could simultaneously be a catalyst for opportunity somewhere else. The world wasn’t as chaotic and unorganized as I thought. With some discipline and analysis, it meant that better outcomes were possible. Financial Psychology fascinated me as well. It’s hard to go against our natural tendencies to be fearful or greedy, but if you could harness those emotions, you could increase your odds of success there too. I was hooked because I loved Monopoly and I knew this was a game I could win.
Personally, I really enjoy challenging myself, so outside of the office I have pursued many interests. Many originate from my passion for demanding sports. I was a pole-vaulter in college, A marathoner in my 30’s, an Ironman in my 40’s, and today you will find me mostly on a bike riding all over our beautiful Shenandoah Valley. My wife and I have recently started doing Backroad’s cycling adventures to scratch our travel itch. I’ve also rekindled my passion for speaking German. Weekly I speak to Wilhelm, Volker, and Holger. My children are now grown and independent, so I’ve replaced them at home with a tractor that never talks back. I love digging holes and moving things around. Life is good.