By Matt Sivertsen, CFP®, CeFT®, Sr Financial Planner
As our name suggests, at The Planning Center we like to focus on planning for the future. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary this month, it’s a rare chance to stop and reflect on the past. The business got its start in 1998 when our founder, Marty Kurtz, decided to break away from a successful career in the insurance industry and launch an independent financial planning firm. Since then, The Planning Center (TPC) has grown and changed in many ways, and yet the founding principles have stayed the same. Marty’s vision was to serve as a guide to clients as they sought control over their finances and navigated life’s many transitions. He understood success demanded strong client relationships and a dedication to the highest standard of service. These have always been core values at TPC, and they remain at the heart of our business today.
TPC’s 25-Year Evolution
One of the reasons Marty started his own firm was that he didn’t want to be a salesperson who depended on commissions. He believed the sales-model was prone to conflicts of interests, and he noticed the importance of helping clients with financial planning and being able to make educated and informed decisions with their lives. By the time Eric Kies and I came on board 20 years ago, TPC was moving rapidly towards a fee-only model. Over the years, changes to the business were evaluated by whether they would increase the firm’s ability to deliver better service and outcomes for clients.
1998-2003 Marty launches TPC in Moline, IL and moves away from product sales, towards fee-for-service. He makes an early acquisition of a firm based out of Iowa City, IA.
2003-2008 TPC adopts the fiduciary model with fee-only service, eliminating product sales and reducing conflicts of interest. Expands services, systems, and brings portfolio trading in house.
2008-2013 TPC moves to a retainer model, eliminating more possible conflicts of interest, while also adding tax planning services and adds more planners and staff
2013-2018 TPC merges with like-minded partners, increasing its geographic footprint and client base by adding offices in Chicago, IL, Minneapolis, MN, New Orleans, LA, Fresno, CA, and Anchorage, AK. (Acknowledgement goes out as well to Cicily & Michelle Maton, John Longstaff, J.J. Sessions, and Jude Boudreaux for being like-minded and similarly rooted in founding their firms that merged into TPC!)
2018-2023 The firm adds full-time professional staff including a Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Compliance Manager, and an experienced Trade Desk Associate, freeing the growing professional and operations teams to focus primarily on clients.
We have always had a 50 year vision of helping families with life and money, and proof of TPC’s success is that 25 years into that story many of our client relationships span two and even three generations in their families. TPC provides a common thread to these families, by helping each generation develop its own long-term strategy, while helping the larger family deal with the challenges of managing and transferring generational wealth.
Understanding Unique Needs of Each Client
Over the years I’ve gained a real appreciation for the unique view each of us has towards money. We all understand that we need money to pay for goods, services, and taxes, but our feelings towards money and the values we have about it can be so different, and that’s what I love about my work. I don’t tell clients what they need to do with their money. Instead, I listen carefully to what they tell me and then I help them make decisions that align with their viewpoints, their values, and their lives. I’ve had clients with very similar financial profiles make very different decisions with their money because of their unique perspectives, experiences, and goals.
Committed to the Highest Standard of Service and Accountability
When Marty started the business 25 years ago, he was ahead of his time in recognizing that the best client service meant eliminating conflicts of interest. TPC’s fee-only fiduciary model is acknowledged as the ultimate standard of care today. As fiduciaries, we are held to the highest standards of regulation with the most stringent requirements and the greatest accountability. The fiduciary model also frees advisors to help clients see what’s possible, and when they need it, to guide them through life’s ups and downs while making steady progress towards their financial goals.
We’re called The Planning Center for a reason. For 25 years TPC has helped clients build wealth and navigate life’s transitions. It’s a mission we look forward to fulfilling for the next 25 years and beyond!
If you would like to learn more about The Planning Center’s holistic approach to financial planning and the benefits of working with a dedicated fee-only fiduciary, give us a call. We’re ready to help you plan for the future of your dreams.