The part of the Pete the Planner story that no one knows

I have some exciting news to share with you, and it’s important to know that my news affects you. You’ll be pleased to know that my news affects you in a very positive way. More on the news in just a moment, but first, some background information is necessary.

In 2005 I created something called Pete the Planner. It was a financial brand that was committed to helping anyone that needed financial help, not just investment help. Believe it or not, this meant that I had to run two very separate businesses. I had my investment practice and the Pete the Planner business. The Pete the Planner business has flourished over the last eight years. I’ve written four books, have a weekly radio show, and have spoken about personal finance all over the United States of America. On a shocking morning in January of 2012, I found out that Cision Media Services named me the fourth most influential personal finance broadcaster in the nation. My little side project had gotten big.

I created Pete the Planner because I wanted everyone to have access to help no matter their current financial standing. At the same time, as an investment professional I always wanted to provide the absolute best investment advice to my investment clients and the nearly $60 million that I invested for them. It is because of this I have decided to seek more investment help for them.  I’m very aware of the trust that they’ve placed in me over the years. It’s because of the responsibility that this trust created, that led me to this decision. I’m stepping out of the investment business.

I’ve enjoyed every minute of the last seven years of running both my investment practice and the whole Pete the Planner thing, but it created a nearly crippling number of challenges. Believe it or not, I built an entire financial advice company without ever offering investment guidance or advice publicly. Like many industries, the compliance requirements in the investment world are quite strict. In order to be allowed to do the whole Pete the Planner thing, I had to guarantee to my broker/dealer that I would never mention investing and/or solicit investment business publicly. This was no easy task, and required constant scrutiny and judgement despite the fact that I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong. The mission statement for the company in which I own is “to help as many people as humanly possible.” That mission statement was hard to fulfill when I had so many compliance restrictions. For instance, a few years ago I was nearly fined when Shepard Smith called me a “personal financial expert” instead of a “personal finance expert” live on Studio B on Fox News. As you can imagine, I wasn’t too happy that I was on the verge of being fined for something so ridiculous. I can cite hundreds of situations just like that over the last seven years. I don’t blame anyone, it was just the rules. I put up with it because I believed in the mission.

Another unique challenge was the perception of a lack of objectivity. When I give advice to someone during a speech, corporate presentation, or on Twitter, I hated thinking that someone felt my advice was in anyway tainted. One of the main fears of the human resource (HR) departments that I often serve with my Financial Wellness programming, is that I’m going to try to convert their employees into clients. As you might have guessed, I never actually did that, but the perception existed. Now that I’m completely out of the investment business, objectivity is no longer an issue.

So this is the score:

  • I neglected giving you investment advice (via the media or this blog) over the last seven years for several reasons, but the primary reason being I wasn’t allowed to.
  • I’m excited to say that I will now be sharing my investment advice with you.
  • I will now be able to publicly answer your investment related questions.
  • I will now be able to teach you more about the financial planning world. This includes tips on hiring a financial advisor, the best way to pay an advisor, and when is an advisor taking advantage of you.
  • I will continue to serve personal clients on a non-investment basis. The structure is very simple and very purposeful. My goal is to be the most grounded, current, and relevant personal finance expert on the planet. In my opinion, that means that I keep my finger on the pulse of the needs of the American financial consumer. That is why I will continue helping 200 families plan, budget, and goal-set. And in the spirit of my philosophy on the financial planning industry, all clients are charged only $500 ($250 for military) per year. The reality is that I can generally change someone’s financial life by $3,000 to $4,000 in the first hour meeting, but I refuse to charge more. It doesn’t take any more work to change the life of a family that makes $50,000 per year than it does to change the life of a family that makes $500,000 per year. I’ve worked with both. Trust me, although the mechanics are slightly different, the problems are generally the same. And consequently I can fix any of those problems for the same amount of money. And no, none of these clients will come from the companies that I do Financial Wellness programming for. If you’d care to take one of the final 50 or so spots, shoot us an email.
  • My primary focus is to deliver Financial Wellness curriculum in the workplace. I’m happy to say that I’ve been doing this for over three years now, and can list some of the best companies in America as clients. Pete the Planner is revolutionizing Financial Wellness curriculum in the workplace. I’m able to measure the financial health of a workforce, educate and train the workforce, and then remeasure financial health one year later. The results are mind-boggling. I’m able to tell any CFO or HR person exactly how much the net worth of their organization goes up over any time period. This information is invaluable, and the lives changed during the programming are unfathomable.
  • I handpicked the person that will manage the investments of my clients moving forward. The honest reality is that he’s a much better investment advisor than I ever was, and I’m excited to introduce him to my clients.
  • My securities licenses are now inactive. They will remain inactive for two years until I’m allowed to voluntarily surrender them. I’ll be able to do more good without the licenses, than with the licenses. In the meantime, I get to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about investing…without facing the long-arm of regulatory compliance.

I’ve been working towards this scenario for several years. And although we’ve made some amazing strides in the last seven years, I believe the next two years will be remarkable. I want to be a household name, not because of the fame, but because I believe that my financial methods can help cure what ills Americans today. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a lack of understanding of math is not what ills us. People need to be taught money differently. People must be motivated, inspired, and excited to make financial changes. I believe that I’m the man for the job. Thank you for your support in the past, and I’d certainly appreciate your support in the future.

16 thoughts on “The part of the Pete the Planner story that no one knows

  1. Pete,
    Nice, very nice. On the screen those words may not seem attractive, but in person spoken with a simple smile and confident tone they convey a degree of acknowledgement that someone (you) is doing the right thing b/c of a well thought out conviction. And since the public doesn’t see that very often it is refreshing. So, with a smile and confident tone, “nice, very nice.” Good luck with the new freedom and gig.

  2. I know the struggles of moving forward.. and wondering what will be. So I just want to congratulate/encourage you with this quote:

    “Progress always involves risk; you can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.”
    – Frederick Wilcox.


  3. Just having a savings-enthusiast, a spendthrift, a dollar-defender, is enough of a reminder to think about purchases before they get made.

  4. Pete,

    We spoke a few months ago and I am certainly looking forward to working with you and changing the way I view my finances. You are certainly a diamond in the ruff!


  5. Now, Pete is just as qualified as Ollie (on paper) to give financial advice!

    In all seriousness, this is awesome. It’s part of the craziness of our regulatory system, but it will be great to get even BETTER Pete the Planner tips here and elsewhere.

    Congratulations, sir!

  6. Pete! Congratulations on the transition. We thank you (and will keep thanking you!) for all of your help. We’re moving forward, and we think you’d be proud! Wishing you all the best…

    Courtney and Nathan

  7. Congratulations! I hope this will also give you more time to write another book.

    After following: 60 days to change. And just in chapter 1: Hunt and Gather; I found out that my house was under insured, I was over paying for car insurance and had terrible coverage, and didn’t have proper life insurance. After shopping around, I ended up with better insurance all around for almost the same cost The benefits of bundling with one company. Counting my debit card purchase and using cash has provided me with the “change” to save for the christmas challange. The corners of this book is dog eared and well worn. Thank you for great books. And in your : Avoid student loans. My daughter won a $1600.00 scholarship award to study abroad this spring. Thank you again for sharing your wisdom. Every coffee table should have your books as a gentle reminder to stay on task and strive to be debt free!.

  8. Well done Pete. Not an easy move and I can’t imagine the hurdles you’ve had to jump over (they’re bad enough for me and you had more scrutiny). Talk to you soon and best to you.

  9. Pete,

    Congratulations you have reached escape velocity, but then I always knew your personality and perseverance would lead to success. Now go out and set the world of financial, no, I mean finance, no, I mean both right.

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