A Little About Me

I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. I joined the Navy in 1988, the day after I turned 17. Home life was less than ideal and the military was my escape. 

I served eight years in the Navy from 1988 - 1996. Stationed in Japan, I was an AZ

(Aviation Maintenance Administration).

I was in an F-18 Squadron VFA-192 Aboard the U.S.S. Midway.

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Boot Camp - Orlando, FL - 1988
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Aboard USS Midway - 1989
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Re-enlistment - Naval Air Facility, Atsugi, Japan - March 1992
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USS Midway (CV-41) The Tip Of The Sword
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F/A-18C Hornet (VFA-192) World Famous Golden Dragons
SSHWFGD (Super Shit Hot World Famous Golden Dragons)

My Career

After my honorable discharge in 1996, I came back to the U.S. from my duty station in Japan. I went to a job fair the day I was discharged from the Navy at Naval Station, Great Lakes, IL. At the job fair, I met some representatives of First of America Bank. They were very impressed that I was at a job fair when I was discharged from active duty service less than two hours earlier. But for me, there was no time to waste, because I didn't have a place to live and needed to secure a job offer in order to find an apartment. I was there because I no longer had (three hots and a cot) as they say.  

I was hired at First of America Bank as an admin assistant, and I was also selling pagers at night at a small telemarketing firm. I told this to the bank broker who's office was near my desk at the bank. He asked me to make some calls for him, so I did. I was able to set two appointments for him. One of those appointments turned into a mutual fund sale. He told me I could be a stock broker. I had no knowledge of finance, but I also had no idea what I was going to do for a career. And being a stock broker sounded like it was a promising career. So I purchased the Series 7 study material and studied for six months. I passed the 250 question exam by six questions on my first attempt. It was one of the most glorious days of my life.

I spent about four years as a stock broker at Olde Discount Stockbrokers in Oak Lawn, IL (my hometown). After the dot com crash in 2001, I went back to the bank side, where I learned about fixed and indexed annuities as a bank broker.

I worked briefly at American Express in San Diego, about two years at Irving Financial working for a now good friend and great mentor (Justin), and stints at Allstate and State Farm. I also worked as a life insurance agent at Accuquote for about a year. I credit my mentor Chuck at Allstate for teaching me everything I know about universal life insurance. And I credit my mentor, Justin for showing me how to be an independent adviser. I also learned quite a bit about marketing and advertising from Justin.

I spent time outside of finance when I worked as a Benefits Authorizer at the Social Security Administration. 

I learned so many things from the great mentors I've had along the way, but I also learned what I did not want going forward. I did not want to work at a bank or brokerage firm, because of the inherent conflict of interest of having to produce sales while supposedly doing what's in the client's best interest at the same time.  

So eventually, I formulated an idea of taking all my experience from all the different areas of finance and starting my own solo practice. And so, for the last eight years, I've offered financial planning, investment advice and insurance services. Having done this for several years, I realize that as a solo practitioner, it is very challenging to be so many things to my clients. So now I only focus on insurance (life insurance, long-term care insurance, annuities and disability insurance). I am very happy with the path that led me to being an independent insurance broker, and it's equally satisfying to help my clients get the insurance they need to protect their families.

My Education

I passed my G.E.D. aboard the USS Midway in 1990.

 

I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Business from the University of Phoenix in 2005.

I earned the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) credential from the American College of Financial Services in 2020.