Why I Do What I Do

by Michael Vaughn, CFP®

My journey to the world of financial planning wasn’t always clear-cut and obvious. In fact, I started out in an entirely different career that I thought I would have until I retired. But as is common with life, I was thrown an unexpected wrench in my plans and I took a leap of faith. That was over two decades ago, and here’s why I wish it happened sooner. 

Getting Started

While I was in college, I joined the military. An experience I still look back on with pride, it gave me invaluable training and practical experience. As an officer in the military, I developed a strong skill set in the areas of tactics, strategy, and planning. It was something I truly enjoyed doing, but at the time, I couldn’t quite see how to apply it outside of the military. 

I began my professional career in Human Resources. It was a steady job that I liked well enough. I thought I had found my forever career—until a corporate merger meant I would have to leave the Springfield area to keep my position. I decided it was time for a career change.

It was important to me that we could stay in an area near our family and friends, and I also wanted to use my skills and talents to not only help others, but to also provide a stable lifestyle for my family. 

Since I always had an interest in investing and had read a few books on the subject from the local library, my interest was piqued by the idea of professional planning and investing. At the time, I viewed the “profession” as more of a “sales” job than as a client advocate. Nevertheless, I began studying for my required licenses and certifications while still at the corporate HR position. Then the time came to decide: move and stay at my current job with a good salary and benefits, or leap into the unknown world of investments.

I decided to take the leap.

My Career Today

I interviewed with a few national investment firms that many people would recognize. And, as I’d expected, they were basically “sales” jobs with little room for planning or advice. I told myself that if I was going to do this long-term, I wanted to be independent. I didn’t want any corporate suit telling me what to push, how to “convince” people they needed something that wasn’t in their best interests in order to meet sales-goals quotas. 

I wanted to give solid advice and let clients see all their options. Plus, I wanted to know that what I was doing was not just an income, that it was really helping people manage some of the most important aspects of their lives. 

That fierce drive to be independent, along with the desire to give people the advice they need to make those life-altering decisions with confidence, has been what propels me in my profession. From the very start, I knew I wanted to be a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional because it shows clients that you have the competence and you are committed to putting their needs first. 

I have been in this profession for over two decades now, but I still wish I had started four or five decades ago because I am so passionate about what I do. I thoroughly enjoy coming to work every day. I continue to do what I do because it is the perfect mix of helping and meeting people combined with using the analytical and strategy skills I learned through my time in the military, my CFP® studies, and my self-study over the years.  

Learn More

If you’re ready to work with a financial planner who is passionate about helping clients achieve their financial goals and committed to putting your needs first, I would love to hear from you! Schedule your complimentary introductory meeting by emailing me at [email protected], calling (417) 351-2942, or using my online calendar.

About Michael

Michael Vaughn is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and Vice President at Pinnacle Family Advisors (PFA) with 21 years of industry experience. Before joining the PFA family, he served clients with investment management and retirement planning at The Mutual Fund Store for 14 years. Michael graduated from Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management and earned his CFP® certification in 2004. He also served 20 years in the Missouri National Guard, retiring in 2007 as a Major. He currently volunteers on the board of directors for Good Dads and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Michael is married to Lori and they have two daughters. To learn more about Michael, connect with him on LinkedIn.