Up Close: Ben Boettcher
Q. What first got you interested in financial planning?
A. My initial plan in college was to go into Physical Therapy so I could help people get better. But after one year of science classes, I realized I didn’t really love that coursework. But economics, statistics, finance, and business courses really interested me. It also didn’t hurt that I got As in those classes as it came more naturally and I had to kill myself to get a good grade in Chemistry classes.
With no clear career path in mind, I planned to go on and get an MBA. The best schools require work experience. I took a job with a local investment and insurance firm with the intent to just go on to graduate school after a couple years.
I quickly learned that in general, this country does not do a good job teaching about investing, planning for your financial future, and what is required to reach financial goals and success. I saw that I could help people — just like I’d hoped to as a physical therapist.
Q. What do you think people “get wrong” with their relationship with money?
A. There is a fallacy that more money will always mean more happiness. The joy of my career is helping people find happiness with what they have….regardless of the amount. When you ask someone what they would do if they had three years to live, I’ve never heard someone say “make more money.” Our goal should be to make money a servant to accomplishing our life goals, not make us a servant to our money.
Q. What is your go-to advice for people who want to better manage their money?
A. Manage greed and emotions. The biggest financial mistakes I’ve seen are driven by greed and emotions. These lead someone to be undisciplined and potentially detract from their core goals. This is the crux of why planning is so critical. When we have a sound plan in place and the temptations of greed or the swings of emotion come along, we have a foundation to evaluate each decision and manage the greed and emotion so we don’t make that unrecoverable mistake.
Q. How do you try to instill your “money values” in your children?
A. We do a number of things in our home that we hope are teaching values. For example, we only pay for jobs around the house if our children commit to doing the following: save 50% of what they earn towards their education and donate some percentage towards charity. They can then use the remainder for their own interests. They don’t get paid for babysitting or mowing the lawn if they don’t commit to those requirements. Anytime one of our kids find something they want to spend their money on, we do our best to encourage them to think about it and wait a week. It is interesting how that $50 Steph Curry jersey is less attractive a week after the championship trophy ceremony is over. We’re by no means perfect, but we are trying.
Q. What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?
A. With five children, there are a lot of ways to spend a Saturday. My favorite is on the rare Saturday when no one has something scheduled and we slip out of town and do a hike.
Q. What’s your favorite part of being a member of the Helmstar team?
A. My favorite thing as an owner of this firm is when a team member offers a suggestion for how we can improve something for our clients. Everyone on this team cares about each other, about their work, about being the best we can and about trying to serve our clients better and create a better experience for them every day.