Why I Started My Own Firm

Brandon R. Amaral, CFP®, EA
Brandon R. Amaral, CFP®, EA

Founder & Financial Planner, Amaral Financial Planning

Whether I’m meeting with a prospective client or another financial planner, I often get asked the same question, “Why did you start your own firm?” While I could talk about the standard reasons, such as bad bosses, low pay, and lack of opportunity, my needs and desires actually boiled down to one thing: Freedom.

The freedom to charge the fees that I believe are appropriate and fair (not to help pay for a lavish lifestyle or second home). The freedom to work with clients to help them build wealth and achieve financial independence (not to work with the already wealthy). The freedom to spend as much time with my family as I want (and not miss important milestones in my daughter’s life).

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Here are the reasons why I started my own firm:

Charging fair fees

One of the biggest issues I’ve struggled with in my career as a financial planner is the fee that is charged for advice. Call me crazy, but the 1% management fee with a $1 Million dollar minimum standard just didn’t sit well with me. Recent surveys found that 64% of people were living paycheck to paycheck. How can we expect to help those who need it if they can’t afford it?

While I’m well aware that my fees are far more affordable than the majority of financial planners, I am perfectly okay with this. If Uber and Airbnb can disrupt the taxi and hotel industries, isn’t it time that we also disrupt financial services?

Helping build wealth

Raise your hand if you’ve ever said “I don’t have enough money to work with a financial planner yet”. Huh? That’s like saying I’m not fit enough to hire a personal trainer. The purpose of financial planning is to help you learn and build good financial habits, not bill outrageous fees for the already wealthy.

For years now, my goal has not been to work with the wealthiest people in town, but to help create and build wealth for people. Because of this, I primarily work with Millennial clients (if you are between ages 25 and 41, I’m talking about you). I also offer a monthly subscription model to make it easier for clients to pay.

Making family a priority

Family has always been very important to me. As my wife and I were preparing to start our own, we had decided that we were not willing to let jobs control our lives. The tipping point for me came when I almost missed the birth of our first child because I was on a work trip. As I raced home to meet my wife at the hospital, it became clear that I needed to make a change.

Shortly after our daughter Amelia was born, we made the decision to start Amaral Financial Planning. While there were financial and career risks involved, I was not willing to risk missing her take her first steps or say her first word (yes, it was Dada) for a job that didn’t care about me, because life is far too short.

While these reasons are very personal to me, you may also have similar feelings about your work situation. If you would like to work with a financial planner to walk you through your options, I would love to help you!

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Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only, and should not be considered advice or recommendations. All opinions expressed herein are solely those of Amaral Financial Planning, LLC, unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made to another parties’ informational accuracy or completeness. You should consult your financial advisor, tax professional or legal counsel prior to implementation.