The journey I took towards starting my own company was definitely not a typical one, but it has been amazing, and extremely rewarding.
I thoroughly love my job. In fact, becoming a financial advisor is the 4th best decision I ever made (see wife and kids below for decisions 1-3). I have successfully grown as a person, advisor, and business owner, over the last 15 years. It’s all thanks to two hugely influential figures in my life. They both served as direct influences on my career.
The first was my grandmother, who went back to work at the age of 53 after my grandfather suddenly passed away. She worked for 12 years to earn a pension to supplement social security and remain an independent, self-sufficient person.
She spent the rest of her life scrimping and scraping to pay the bills, yet somehow always managed to give her grandchildren and great-grandchildren a little something for our birthdays and Christmas. More impressive still, she hosted lunch every single Sunday for the entire family for 31 years.
The second person was a professor I had in the MBA program at Penn State. He not only convinced me I could become a financial planner and investment advisor, but that I should start my own business from the outset. His encouragement and direction were invaluable in getting my career and Great Oak Wealth Management, where it is today.
After college, I worked for a Fortune 500 company. It was exciting to work in a corporate environment. Unfortunately, the excitement faded and was replaced by dread after years of benefit cuts and workforce reductions… the typical corporate story. That’s when I decided to bring the fun back and pursue my dream. I started J. H. White Financial in 2004.
I became a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, professional in 2008. I don’t know who was happier when I found out I had passed, my family or me. I don’t think they could have put up with me studying for months again. Then, always looking to expand my horizons and focus on my specialty of tax planning, I sat for the Enrolled Agent exams in 2018 and 2019.
In 2021, I rebranded J.H. White Financial into Great Oak Wealth Management. I didn’t want to be the face of the firm, especially with a face like this. Seriously, though, the firm had grown and expanded. It was important to present our team approach to financial planning.
Why Great Oak Wealth Management? First, there is a local significance. Almost 100 years ago, a science teacher from Philadelphia identified and documented surviving trees that were alive when William Penn arrived in 1682. One of the less than 100 trees believed to remain, a beautiful 350-year-old white oak, locally referred to as the Great Oak, is located down the street from my home.
Secondly, it was important to present our team approach to financial planning and an oak tree – especially this Great Oak, which is sturdy, long-lasting, and broad – well, that matches perfectly with what we’re trying to accomplish with Great Oak Wealth Management.
Kim and I currently live in North Coventry Township. We have two boys, two dogs, and a few chickens. When I’m not working, I like to hike, travel, exercise, and beat the kids in different sports while I still can. I’m also on the North Coventry Township planning commission.