Celebrating 20+ Years in Business!

On November 22nd 1994, while still a school teacher, I sat for my Series 6 securities exam and passed the test.  Little did I know where it would lead me, but here I am today with a nice little business near Cleveland, Ohio.  Since that first exam, I have passed the Series 26 exam (1997), the Series 63 (1998), and a rigorous securities law exam - the Series 65 (2006).  I am far from what I consider a “success”, but definitely feel that we are on the right path.

Thankful acknowledgments:

First, my wife Jennifer.  She has been beside me since we met in 1998.  And she was all I needed for motivation.  Exactly 365 days after she and I met, I learned that I had “qualified for the ring”, an award given to those with earnings over $100,000/yr.  Coincidence?

Since then, like any business, we've had our ups and downs, but my loyal and faithful wife has been there with me from Day One.  Thank you, Jennifer Haddix-Morgan.  I love you so very much!

To my dad, Bill Morgan.  Thank you, dad, for your life-long guidance and for directing me to Youngstown State University to play college football for the Penguins.  A fortunate chain of events while at YSU led to a career in investment management.  The contacts I gained there are invaluable, both in business and in life.  While entertaining a few colleges for scholarship offers, it was my dad who said, “You're going to YSU because of the football staff.”  Mind you, this was 13 years before Jim Tressel and the whole staff coached the Ohio State Buckeyes, before Mark Dantonio coached at Michigan State, and before Mark Snyder coached at Marshall.  What a prescient view my dad had of the staff there!  Thanks, dad!

To my mom, Sharon Morgan.  Mom's love for teaching children is likely the reason why I got my degree in education and first became a teacher.  That guidance and her love for family made me a better person.  And though she expressed surprise (and maybe some disappointment at first) at my career change 20 years ago, she always showed interest in my growth, knowing that I needed to find my path and whatever career I chose, that it was important that I love it.  I do.  Thanks, mom!

To my long-time business partner, Brian Olah.  In 1994, he and I first had lunch together in a McDonald's after meeting at a business conference.  We soon shared an office the size of a closet, and each had a desk in opposite corners.  The room was so small that our chairs backed up to each other, and only one of us could get in/out at a time!  With two desks, two chairs, and two phones, we both were so fiercely independent that we wouldn't even share paper!  But we shared ideas, and we do to this day.  Thanks, Brian Olah!  We are only half-way done, partner.

To my long-time college friend, and now business partner, Dan Ciolek.  He and I used to attend college parties together (no details here), but afterwards our paths separated.  Unbeknownst to each of us, we both passed our Series 6 exams in 1994.  We later learned that fact and became competitive with each other.  In 2010, Dan left his former company and joined our branch office.  Thanks, Dan Ciolek!  We, too, are only getting started!

To my other business partners, John Swain, Don Paroda, Bob Barnes, and Jerry Goldberg: We are building a great business together.  As an office, we are licensed in 20 states with nearly 500 households served.  Collectively, we have 177 years in the business, with the most being 34 years and the least 19 years.  I am proud that we work together on ideas and better ways to serve our clients.  Thanks John, Don, Bob, and Jerry!  I truly enjoy our collaboration.

Thanks to my clients!  Though I am not allowed to name you here, you know who you are, and I greatly appreciate your business.  My partners and staff work hard to provide quality investment advice and investment direction for your hard-earned money.  Long ago we set out to build our business model on the service side rather than the transaction side, because we believe that yields a much better investment experience.  Thanks, clients!

I must also thank a very special woman, without whom I may literally not be here, Marilyn Moore.  She is my birth mother.  We connected in 2014 after the state of Ohio released adoption records.  The complete story is quite amazing, and I suspect will be made into a TV movie someday.  For the sake of brevity here, let me just simply say I am so grateful to her and the several difficult choices she made on my behalf.  Thanks, Marilyn!

We serve middle-American families of modest investment accounts, focusing on retirement savings.  We seek out like-minded clients with good attitudes on accounts as small as $1000, and yes, we serve a few millionaires.  Our average household account size is about $125,000, and probably half our client base is education-career related.  The other half are small business owners, friends, and family.  We carefully interview our prospective clients, and will gladly do the same for referrals that are provided to us. 

But enough of the commercial. 

A quote that has always been in my mind is “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,” from Confucius.  I feel like I am living this quote every day.  I am grateful to have found a career that I love, and one in which I control the direction and success (or lack thereof).  I feel honored to have known, worked with, and learnt lessons from you all.  Here's to the next 20 years and far beyond!


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