JOE DELANEY, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF LIFEGUARD WEALTH, LOOKS BACK ON THE FIRST TEN AMAZING YEARS OF THE FIRM AND AHEAD TO MANY MORE JUST LIKE THEM.
It was New Year’s Eve, and tomorrow would be 2012. As I gathered with friends to raise a glass, the year coming to a close was marked by great economic unrest. A year of dramatic challenges to the status quo.
It was the perfect time to make the most exciting announcement of my professional life.
I probably wasn’t thinking consciously about how the U.S. had nearly defaulted on its debt, the downgrading of the country’s credit rating, or the hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protestors arrested in New York City that fall. But it was all a fitting backdrop.
Much like my view of the nation at large, the firm I was working for was a good one but with a few practices that I didn’t fully agree with. They sold life insurance and annuities for commission. The incentive this created to aggressively sell these products left a lousy taste in my mouth.
As I explained to my friends on that New Year’s Eve, there was only one way I could be the kind of advisor I wanted to be: a fee-only fiduciary, no conflicts of interest, successful only if my clients were successful.
I announced that I was going to start my own firm in six months. And I would call it Wealth Plus.
It all came true. Well, except for two things:
“Lifeguard Wealth literally saved our drowning financial life! Joe has done so much more than just manage our investments. With Joe’s professional guidance, he pushed us to get our estate in order and with other related financial ‘health’ issues giving us a sense of security with great discretion and comfort.” - client since 2016
The first was the name. I later chose Lifeguard Wealth, inspired by my days as a Laguna Beach lifeguard in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
As a lifeguard, I was never afraid to jump in to help people in distress. And I really enjoyed running the Junior Guard program, educating the next generation of lifeguards about ocean safety and how to have fun at the beach.
The name Lifeguard Wealth perfectly suited my vision of a fiduciary firm where clients could feel as safe and secure as beachgoers do when the lifeguard is on duty. Where you can enter the turbulent waters of challenging markets with confidence, get help making difficult decisions, and chart a course to financial success, with the knowledge that your financial future is protected.
The second thing I got wrong was that I would launch the firm in six months. Thankfully, I was only off by 12 days!
I am forever grateful to a number of clients I had previously worked with who followed me to Lifeguard Wealth on July 12, 2012. They’ve been there since the beginning to grow with us. (To those clients, thank you for your unwavering support!)
“I trust Joe to advise us on all things financial as he takes his fiduciary responsibility seriously and I implicitly trust him.” - client since 2012
Today, I am proud to look back on 10 years of witnessing the Lifeguard Wealth vision come to life and grow as we work hard to help our clients flourish.
- We serve 45 clients and counting, helping individuals and families from retirement age to the next generation live their best lives, financially and holistically.
- We’ve hosted 20 events over the years with wonderfully inspirational and educational content that provide great opportunities for clients to gather and connect.
- We have made donations to 65 client-nominated charities, expanding their impact. This is one of my favorite ways to support our clients.
My only regret is not starting sooner!
“We are new to Lifeguard Wealth but I wanted to thank you so much for your guidance, advice and prudent approach to wealth management. Last night’s event was fascinating! We really appreciate you putting on educational events of that nature and quality. Her insightful words rang very true for me and affirmed all the reasons that I sought you out. You have already helped me a great deal and I am so happy that I made this change in my life. I think it is really great that you host talks like this and I hope you continue to do so in the future.” - client since 2021
As I pledged to do from the beginning, we have adhered to the highest ethical standards. From being transparent about our fee structure to earning clean audit reports in 2015 and again in 2022 from The Department of Financial Protection and Innovation, we’re serious about approaching our work with unsurpassed integrity.
Some might call the minutiae of meticulously organizing documents to prepare for an audit “work.” I might have agreed when I was honing those skills back in the 1980s as a CPA at KPMG. And I would probably use the same word to describe my first decade as a financial advisor working at someone else’s firm, too.
But since July 12, 2012, the saying has been true for me, “When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
“My wife and I consider ourselves fortunate to have Joe and Lifeguard Wealth on our side. He’s done well by us and we are grateful for his stewardship.” - client since 2018
The world is still full of economic unrest and uncertainty, but I firmly believe we all have a stretch of shoreline we can do something about. At least I know that I’m doing all I can from my financial lifeguard tower to help my clients live their best lives.
And it’s not just my work. It’s my pleasure!
To all the friends and family who supported us from the beginning, and to all the clients who have believed in the vision of Lifeguard Wealth, thank you for 10 wonderful years. Let’s raise another glass to many more to come!
“Following a few significant life events, my husband and I decided it was time to become more strategic with our finances. While that decision was pretty easy, the how of becoming more financially savvy mystified us. Joe and his team have been patient, supportive, encouraging, educating and fun throughout the process. It’s comforting to know that we have multiple professionals in our corner who are looking out for our best and who will patiently explain things when we have questions or confusion. We are so grateful for Joe and the Lifeguard Wealth team!” - client since 2021
The opinions expressed by myself and other featured authors are their own and may not accurately reflect those of Lifeguard Wealth. This article is for general information only and is not intended to serve as specific financial, accounting or tax advice.