Hi, I’m Jude, the newest partner at The Planning Center! Great to meet you! You look amazing in 2D. During the past year, my wife and I made two huge decisions: first, to merge the firm we created, Upperline Financial Planning in New Orleans, with The Planning Center, and second, with the invaluable support and guidance of my wife, to renovate our home there. (Here’s some free advice–taking on two major projects like this at the same time maybe isn’t the best decision.)
I have known The Planning Center for many years through one of my closest friends and study group members, Eric Kies, CFP®, Partner/President/CCO of TPC. I have spent many hours with him and Marty Kurtz, the founding partner of The Planning Center. They counseled me as I was contemplating starting my own financial planning firm in New Orleans after 10 years in the industry with Janus Mutual Funds, MassMutual, and ultimately five years as Director of Financial Planning of Bellingrath Wealth Management.
I believed in the pricing model that The Planning Center was innovating, and decided to copy that model into my own planning firm. I wanted to find out if a fee-only financial planning firm could serve a broader group of clients than was typically believed. Their innovative pricing structure was key to my belief that it could.
Only a few years before I started Upperline Financial Planning, my wife and I purchased the home we began renovating this summer. We loved the location, loved the community, and knew there were some things we would like to change about it in good time. Over the years, our family grew and we knew the space we were living in, while still wonderful, wasn’t going to support the future we envisioned for our family and ourselves.
Similarly, my solo firm was growing, doing well, and meeting many of our needs. As our team and client base continued to grow, it seemed more and more obvious to me that my firm was in need of a renovation as well. To do that, I could have tried to do it on my own, or I could find another way to innovate and grow to meet the needs of our clients.
Around that time, my friend Eric approached me wondering if we were still interested in spending a lot of time in Chicago. Aequus Wealth Management Resources had recently merged with The Planning Center and they were looking for someone to work in the Chicago office as well. This was a really attractive option, as my wife grew up on the north side of Chicago (Rogers Park, for you locals) and her parents, sister, and family are still there. We had always envisioned a life that would allow us to live in Chicago during the summer and spend quality family time, and not to live in New Orleans during June, July, and August because of the high humidity.
I am writing this article now as a partner in The Planning Center, and as a homeowner about to move back into his home with his family. It’s not easy to undertake these major projects and to leave the familiar. However, it is more easily done when you can clearly see the benefits and believe in the team that is supporting you.
We’ve had a fantastic contractor working on our home renovation, even with the problems that inevitably come up in a major renovation. The Upperline team’s experience in working with The Planning Center’s team over the 18 months we spent working out the details of our merger was similarly positive. We worked together and got through the difficulties together in an effort to build something that is greater than we could build on our own.
I’m thrilled to be a part of a firm that has so many other excellent practitioners, skilled professionals, and committed team members. We’re working through the final punch list on both the home and business renovation projects now. Come on by and see the new place sometime. We think you’ll like it.
Jude Boudreaux, CFP®, is a Partner and Sr. Financial Planner in the New Orleans and Chicago offices of The Planning Center, a fee-only financial planning and wealth management firm. Email him at: email@example.com.