Beyond the Money

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We all know that we shouldn’t believe everything we hear and read, but we can’t help ourselves…particularly when the things we hear and read support our opinions and biases.

I am fascinated with human behavior, particularly when it intersects with money. In pursuit of the “right” financial decision, people often (unintentionally) overlook and underestimate the impact it will have on the most important parts of the equation…the stuff that doesn’t show up on the spreadsheets.

I write about this paradox and what people can do about it. This blog is intended as a space to organize and clarify thoughts, think out loud and call-out nonsense.

And let’s face it – the financial services industry is full of nonsense. They pummel us with print ads and commercials touting strength, integrity and trust, then have to get bailed out for poor (financial!!) management and bury some of the most important details we should be aware of in fine print.

At the end of the day, financial services companies make money by creating stuff for you to buy, or getting you worked up enough about something to act. In a capitalist society, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, as they are in business to earn a profit. But as consumers of those goods and services, it is our duty to understand what they really are in order to make good decisions.

We can try blame the products in our financial life as flawed or misleading, but the reality is that they are products…they only do what they are designed to do. However, they get misrepresented, misunderstood and therefore, misused. People make bad decisions with them.

Financial success is about consistent progress, not perfection. And it’s almost never about the money.

I am the Managing Partner at Pitzl Financial in Minneapolis, the husband of a wonderful wife and father of two incredible children. My life purpose centers around the latter and I am very fortunate that my career supports that.

My role at our firm provides the opportunity to put all the things I write about here in practice with our clients. I love what I do, work with an extremely talented team, and have amazing clients that share their life stories (good and bad) with us every day. My work is mentally and emotionally stimulating, and therefore, very rewarding.

There is a subset of the financial services industry that delivers advice. Some work for the industry and some work in it. As an advisor and planner working in the industry, my role is to act as a buffer between the people selling financial products and the people buying it…to help people sort through the noise and nonsense.

I am a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I have been heavily involved in the Financial Planning Association for the better part of the last decade. In the recent past, I had the privilege and honor to serve our profession as the national President and Chairman of FPA NexGen, along with several other task forces, committees and advisory boards for the FPA.

My balancing act centers around my wife, Becky, and our son, Ben. I thoroughly enjoy reading and writing about things that challenge the status quo, and enjoy distance running when the sidewalks and streets aren’t covered with ice and snow. I am a very amateur chef and pretend to know a lot more about about wine, beer and tequila than I really do. I also maintain a single digit handicap in golf and can be found lumbering around the rink with my old man’s league hockey team.


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