My Story: A History of Serving Clients
Forming the Foundation
Ever since the young age of about 12, I’ve been at work serving others in whatever capacity I could at the time. At that young age, it was starting a neighborhood door-to-door car wash business with a friend. We quickly expanded to the local police department! It was a great start to a life-long entrepreneurial journey of serving others!
I started college at 17. To pay tuition, I turned a drafting talent, inherited and fostered from my father, into a summer income and ultimately a full-time job while going to college part-time. It took eight and a half years to finish college, but it got me started in the automotive machine tool design business. I also learned a good work/study balance and the value of a good paying job!
At 22, I bought my first home and became a landlord, a condominium, at 13.5% interest. I felt blessed, as mortgage rates soared to 16.6% shortly after. Rented it out to a woman with 2 small children. Entrepreneurial. Serving. The life-long pattern was taking shape.
Finally, with a degree in Mathematics and Computer Science, it was only fitting that I would turn my analytical abilities and automotive job experience into something truly meaningful. I started working as a programmer for a large computer company – and was outsourced to one of the Big 3 manufacturing plants. Back in automotive quickly! It didn’t take long for me to grow into the job and work with the manufacturing executives on their technical requirements, processes, and then lead the technical team to implement technical solutions.
I then moved to another large computer and Information Technology company, the largest in the world at the time, and began a 24+ year journey of serving automotive and supplier companies with IT solutions. As an Account Manager, Manager and ultimately a Client Executive, I thrived on serving my clients well. It abruptly ended in 2009 with the economic implosion resulting from the 2007/2008 financial crisis. My key client had gone bankrupt. And I was out of a high paying job.
Storming through a Crisis
Now I had a financial crisis of my own. In 2009, in Michigan, you couldn’t even get a job at McDonald’s. How would I survive on unemployment, about 10% of what I was previously making? Fortunately, I had taken and even led others through the Financial Peace University program. I knew how to budget, I had saved for emergencies. I had the cash to live on for about a year. I took that year to write a book on personal finance and it is still available today on Amazon.
2010 came fast and I had about $900 left in my checking account. I found a job! Whew! Now I was making about 20% of my previous salary. Now came a big financial decision. I did what most people didn’t. Most people in my situation were cashing out their 401(k)’s, retirement plans, etc. to keep their lifestyle going. I chose to change my lifestyle. I sold out. Sold the big home and one of the cars. Sold 2/3 of my belongings. Moved into an apartment for the first time in my life.
Norming the Ship
I was happy. I made it through a big mess. The next 5 years, the economy improved, my income slowly grew back and I was in the field of IT supporting automotive clients. However, I decided to change careers. I wanted to expand my knowledge of finance and turn it into a business of helping people reach their goals and avoid their own financial crisis. At night, I took college courses to obtain Master of Science in Finance, including a 6-course track in Personal Financial Planning.
Performing a Passion
In 2015, I started Kastler Financial Planning, an office of Garrett Investment Advisors, LLC, a fee-only financial planning firm, as a Financial Planner and Investment Advisor Representative. I chose the “fee-only” approach because I wanted to serve my clients as a fiduciary and give them consultative advice without product sales or commissions.
Read further about my Vision and Mission to serve clients as a fee-only financial consultant with the gifts God has given me throughout this exciting journey!