In the fall of 2008 I had just moved my small family across the country. We were 1,000 miles from anyone we knew, my wife was 8 months pregnant with our second daughter, I had no job and, after deciding not to go to medical school, no idea what I wanted to do professionally. Since we were in the midst of a major recession, I spent a lot of time researching things and trying to position my family so we could endure another financial shock if it came. A discussion with a coworker at the time led me to explore options for working with people and their money.
In the movie A Knight’s Tale the main character believes that he can “change his stars.” He believed that though he was a commoner he could become a knight, and though most would say it was impossible he achieved it. What interested me in this field was a belief that anyone can improve their financial situation, regardless of how dire their circumstances seem. I have experienced the hopelessness that can accompany prolonged financial struggles and seen how it can affect family relationships. Often people feel trapped with no way out. I’ve also seen that despair turn to excitement and determination when someone realizes their reach is longer than they thought.
My why is an opportunity to help others change their stars. For some that may mean finding an exit from generations of living at or near poverty. To others it may be ending a personal debt cycle or changing behaviors to stop living paycheck to paycheck and begin saving and building wealth. We’re each on our own road and whatever the application to our individual situations, I firmly believe that we can all change our stars.
Thomas Duffany, AFC®