Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in finance but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Eric Amzalag, Founder of Peak Financial Planning, located in Canoga Park, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Peak Financial Planning offers household financial planning and investment management as a fee-only fiduciary advisor. We specialize in helping teachers and federal employees increase their retirement income and avoid running out of money. Peak Financial Planning is a fiduciary, which means we put your best interests first. We NEVER sell products or receive commissions. We ALWAYS operate with the utmost integrity and work hard to earn your trust. As a Fee-Only Advisory firm, we work on an hourly or retainer basis without outside forms of compensation. This removes the poor incentive structures that plague the financial advisory industry and lead to bad client outcomes.
Tell us about yourself
Hi - I'm Eric Amzalag, founder of Peak Financial Planning. While studying Economics and Accounting at the University of California, Santa Barbara, I knew I wanted a career of service to others. I didn't know what form that would take and began my search. I walked several paths, including real estate brokerage, marketing, and the family business, but none of them scratched the itch that I had to be a facilitator and educator. I began apprenticing as a formal financial planner and investment advisor at Ameriprise Financial. The experience did not last long - I had a conflict of values with the incentive model of appearing to provide financial advice when, in actuality, trying to sell insurance policies. I decided to leave the brokerage and insurance world to launch Peak Financial Planning.
I have completed the Certified Financial Planner coursework and am in the process of completing the RICP coursework. I believe it is my mission in life to help take complex problems and break them down into simple and manageable steps. Fear of the unknown paralyzes us into making ignorant or suboptimal decisions. By reducing uncertainty, I can help someone proactively create the financial life they always dreamed of.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Staying focused and accountable to myself. As a business owner, you are alone - there is no one above you to provide structure or accountability. You have to rely on self-discipline and internal motivation to move forward every day. I have been a business owner since 2014 and feel blessed and proud to have made it this far.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It is a great responsibility and burden to provide advice and recommendations on someone's behalf - especially in matters as consequential as retirement or personal finance. It can be a struggle to balance giving forward honest advice while knowing that you can never be absolutely certain of the outcome of your advice. Despite that, I do my best to share my honest feedback and advice, knowing that action is always better than stagnation.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Take action - action will reduce the uncertainty and anxiety you feel from the unknown that is ahead of you.
- Be proactive - don't wait for things to come to you.
- Find a mentor who has done it before you.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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