By Marty Kurtz, CFP®, Retired Founder of The Planning Center, Inc.
Twenty-three years is a long time. So much can change in twenty-three years. As a matter of fact, much has changed in twenty-three years.
The fall of 1997 was full of change! Technology was in the headlines as new names of companies appeared every day. IPO was a new buzz word and stock prices ran wild while the common belief was that stock prices and the value of stock options no longer were tied to earnings but were tied to some cryptic formula based on new ideas and digital services. Of course, this all proved to be false, profit and earnings in fact are the underlying principle building blocks on which corporate value is built and time proved this. Once again, the message of the day was to think about the future. So, the question should be: “what will things be like twenty or thirty or fifty years from now?” not “what will things be like in next quarter or next year or even five years from now?”
The question that arose when The Planning Center (TPC) was founded in 1998 was how do we build a relationship, a business, a strategy around life and money that expressed our main objective: sustainability that would last one, two or three lifetimes? Through this came a guiding principle that was this: “wouldn’t it be cool if in fifty years from now there were relationships built with different advisors and different clients but about the same money. How would we need to build a company that was centered around sustainability? How would you make decisions differently? What actions would you take? How would that impact the core decision making process?
So, over the last twenty three years many questions have been asked and decisions have been made around this new guiding principle of sustaining our client relationships twenty or fifty years from now. One of those questions has been as Founder of TPC; how long should I stay? The answer came about four years ago at age 65 in some work with my financial planner. The plan was to retire before age 70. I will be 70 on March 11, 2021. Like I stated in the title, I love it when a good plan comes together!
The reality is that a plan has been in play for a much longer timeframe. There are nine other shareholders today in TPC, all sharing in the responsibility of fulfilling our 50-year mission. There are new shareholders joining the group bringing us new energy and giving us the G-2 (Generation 2) and G-3 (Generation 3) sustainability that we need to fulfill the mission.
It has been a wonderful 23 years. Between the many relationships I’ve had with clients and the outstanding employees of TPC, and the relationships that I have made in the profession, I have been truly blessed. To TPC clients I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting – I firmly believe you are working with the best financial planning firm in the world. We have traveled many places and we have gathered best practices to build the finest processes and procedures. Those of you I have met and who know me have probably heard about my date of retirement (12/31/2020) and my desire to do work for those in need (pro bono), enjoy my seven grandchildren, and continue to serve the community as an active member on the corporate board of directors I sit on. After more than 20,000 client meetings it is time to retire.
I do love it when a good plan comes together! This is a great plan! This is a great company! Thank you for allowing me to work with you and your family over the years, it has truly been my pleasure.
Marty Kurtz, CFP®
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