JUST A FEW THOUGHTS AS FRED RETIRES
As Rita and I retire at the end of 2021, Rob asked me to write a Quarterly Commentary reflecting back on my career:
I started my financial career at CIGNA Financial Services in 1985. I learned a great deal under CIGNA’s training program. My career was gaining traction and over the next three years my client base grew substantially. One of the things I remember during that time was that West Texas crude oil was selling for $6 per barrel. Just to give some perspective, today West Texas crude is selling for $70.33 per barrel. As a person who grew up around the Oklahoma oil business, I felt like we should be able to make money with $6 per barrel oil. A number of my clients agreed, and later we were able to sell it for an average of approximately $50 per barrel.
In 1988 I was having a meeting with one of my clients when he asked me, “Fred, who do you work for, me or CIGNA?” Although I felt like the work I was doing was for my clients, I had to admit that I got my pay check from Cigna. His question continued to nag at me. That’s when I decided my business should be independent.
I left CIGNA in 1989, and in 1994 we registered our corporation as FINANCIAL PROFESSIONALS INCORPORATED. In the same year we leased an office at 4600 College Blvd. where we have been ever since. To say that starting a firm from scratch is scary would be the understatement of the year! The one thing I had going for me was my staff. Her name was Rita Overton. I can assure you that without her we never would have succeeded. We prayed every day as we ventured forward. It turned out she was not only the love of my life, but a helpmate who was raised with the work ethic of a farm family. With her handling the administrative work and me handling the financial planning, we put our shoulders to the wheel and began to get traction in our business. When we started we were licensed in 2 states, Kansas and Missouri. We never dreamed we would eventually be licensed in 26 states.
It was about that time that Rockhurst University offered us the opportunity to teach a financial planning course. It turned out to be very successful for us and for Rockhurst. Before long we were teaching at five more colleges. Many of you probably met us while attending our classes. We still teach today.
Over the years we have experienced a number of shocking events that have affected us and our clients:
1999 – Hysteria over Y2K
2001 – Terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D. C.
2005 – Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans
2008 – The subprime mortgage lending crises and the general decline of real estate values
A lot of financial planners left our industry during these difficult times, especially after 2008. But at Financial Professionals, Inc. we felt times like these were when our clients needed us the most.
Wes Grube and Nelson Hopper had long successful careers with our firm until they retired. They both contributed greatly to the growth of Financial Professionals, Inc., and they will always be remembered and appreciated.
In 2005 our son, Rob, joined us! What a joy it’s been to have him working alongside us on a daily basis. Over the last 16 years he has learned every aspect of our business and more. In 2015 Nick Kendall Joined us from another financial firm. Nick has blended in well with our people and strengthened our ability to serve our clients. Carolyn McCord has been with us for 15 years, and Stacy Huffhines has been with us for over 5 years. We can assure you that you will be in good hands with this staff.
As Rita and I move into retirement we want you to know that our greatest joy has been getting to know you, our clients. Many of you have been with us from the very beginning. Thank you for giving us your trust.