Learn who we are and why we do what we do
While studying toward a finance degree at the University of Delaware, I decided to work toward a career helping others with their finances. I didn't quite know what that job would look like, but I figured it must exist. I assumed it would involve helping and educating.
In my senior year at Delaware, I interviewed at a few of the large household name financial services companies for roles they called "financial advisor." I assumed those would be the sort of financial planning careers I was thinking of. Unfortunately, I quickly realized those jobs were not about giving financial advice or guidance. Instead, they were just commissioned sales positions to sell the companies' products - life insurance, annuities and mutual funds. I was completely turned off by that and gave up on trying to find a financial planning job. I ended up getting a corporate job at a large insurance company.
After graduating college in 2000, I spent the next 19 years working for multiple global insurance, banking and brokerage firms. I worked in functions that involved the creation, risk management, trading, portfolio management and financing of many of the insurance and investment products and strategies used throughout the financial services industry. My roles included pension risk management, investment management, securities financing and investment fund analysis and diligence.
Along the way I went back to school - in 2004 I earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Rutgers Business School. I've also taught multiple semesters as an adjunct lecturer for the finance department of Rutgers Business School.
In 2016, I had an experience that reignited my desire to do personal financial planning. My mother was transitioning into retirement and was trying to figure out how best to claim her Social Security benefits. After getting different answers from different people - including different answers from within the Social Security Administration itself - I dug in and helped her research the relevant laws and regulations. We ultimately got to the correct answer and she was able to make the best claiming decision for her and her circumstances.
At that point, the proverbial light went off for me - helping people make decisions about their retirement finances was what I was supposed to be doing with my life. Since that point in 2016, I committed myself to getting educated on all things related to financial planning for retirement. In that journey, I obtained the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ ("CFP®") designation, the Retirement Income Certified Professional® ("RICP®") designation and the IRS Enrolled Agent ("EA") license.
In 2019, I left the institutional investment and banking world to launch Tenon Financial. I also started a separate tax return preparation and filing company, Tenon Tax Preparation. And I remain committed to sharing knowledge and helping educate others. I continue to teach at Rutgers Business School as a part-time lecturer, and started a free Facebook group, Taxes in Retirement, and a YouTube channel, Retirement Planning Demystified.
I'd greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with you in your retirement planning journey. But if not, I hope I can at least share some knowledge with you through one of my social media groups.
What's your view on life?I have a few:
What are you most likely doing on a Saturday night?Probably something local and low key with my wife, two daughters and some family friends. Hopefully it involves live music. I'm especially a sucker for a mandolin or a banjo.
What are your hobbies?
I've been passionate about woodworking since my early-20s. I'm also an avid road cyclist and runner. Additionally, I'm the proud "prop dad" for my daughters' competition dance team.
What's your most useful skill outside of financial planning? Building things. I've remodeled kitchens and bathrooms, re-wired and re-plumbed most of my house, built a deck and have designed and built numerous pieces of custom furniture. I also like to think I'm funny, though my wife often doesn't agree with me on this.
What's an interesting fun fact about yourself?I dabbled in stand-up comedy and performed a few times at Caroline's Comedy Club in Times Square. I was also a contestant on HGTV's All American Handyman, Season 2 (aired Fall 2011).