PDS Planning Employee Spotlight – Jamie Menges
As a Shareholder and Wealth Manager for PDS Planning, Jamie Menges, CFP® and CPA, is responsible for managing clients, leading the firm’s marketing and business development efforts, and like any small business owner, assisting with firm strategy and day-to-day management.
His work doesn’t end there, however. He is quick to point out that, “…as one of the taller people at the firm, I’m often asked to change light bulbs and get stuff off the higher shelves. I also take a fair amount of grief from Rita on a regular basis.”
Jamie began his career with Crowe Chizek (now just Crowe) in 1999 after graduating from Miami University with a Bachelor of Science in Business, majoring in Accounting and Finance. He worked in their Organizational Systems Management practice for about one year before he decided to join Principal Financial Group and start his journey to becoming a financial advisor.
In June 2007, Jamie joined Investment Partners in Dublin for six years before “the opportunity to join PDS Planning was just too good to pass up,” in February 2013. Since he began working with clients in 2000, his focus was always on maintaining independence for his clients. “Throughout my career, I recognized I wanted to deliver financial advice without any affiliation to another financial service provider, such as a broker/dealer.”
So when the opportunity to do just that at PDS arose, and because of the reputation Bob Hamilton and Bob Cochran had established from the beginning, joining the team was an easy decision. He goes on to say, “After meeting Rita and the rest of the team, like all of our clients, I quickly realized these were good people.”
Jamie remembers, “I had a prominent estate planning attorney tell me, upon finding out I was joining PDS, “I’d wish you luck Jamie, but with those folks, you won’t need it.”
At PDS, we are proud to have a team of forward-thinking leaders and to count Jamie among them. We recently had the opportunity to talk with Jamie about his career with PDS, as well as about how he spends his time away from work.
How do you think PDS is different from other financial planning firms?
Without reservation, I would tell you it’s our people. But every shareholder at every firm would tell you that. However, at PDS, when we talk about the things we do for clients, and our focus on only worrying about what’s best for our clients, our team is passionate about that idea. And when we talk about our charitable foundation, PDS CARES, our team embodies the mission of serving the communities we live and work in. This firm is not just about dollars and cents.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our approach to client fees. We are one of the only firms of our scale that we can find nationally that charges their clients a fee based on the time, resources, and value we provide, stated in a fixed, flat dollar amount rather than charging our clients based upon the amount of assets they have to invest. Compared to our peers, this is a unique difference and one that in almost all cases creates significant compound wealth for our clients they would not realize at other firms.
What do you see on the horizon for the financial planning industry?
I think we need to not only keep up with the constant technical updates (tax, legal, insurance, etc.), but we need to continually improve our skills when dealing with client emotions. It’s commonly said that “money is emotional.” It’s my belief that money isn’t the emotional part, it’s the story behind what the money is for that is emotional.
Helping our clients make purposeful decisions is not always easy because we’re taught from a young age the ABCs (or is it 123s?) of money like it is somehow a simple formula. However, as we age and accumulate wealth, we are faced with decisions that have an impact on ourselves, our loved ones, and the causes we care about. The formula is not always a simple one; in fact, often there is no formula!
So how can we have meaningful conversations with clients to help counsel them to reach their goals and have peace of mind in the process? It drives our every motivation and when we succeed, and a client gives us a heartfelt ‘thank you’ – there is no greater reward.
Yes, technology will continue to evolve, but one thing the pandemic taught us – clients want personal relationships because money is a personal topic. I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of our industry. And at PDS, we have a vision, we are taking very intentional steps to reach our vision, and we’re doing it with a sense of urgency, with every decision geared towards improving client outcomes.
Tell us about your family.
My son Evan will be 14 this March and I am so proud of the young man he has become. My daughter Caitlyn, 11 last December, lights up my day, every day. Both are wonderful students in school, and excel in their athletic endeavors. People often ask how proud I am of their success. I always answer “I’m happy for their success. I’m proud of the effort they put in and the way they treat others.”
But let me assure you the reason they have turned out so well is because of the person I am fortunate to share my life with. My wife Terri is the kindest, most sincere, patient (opposites attract!), and beautiful person I know. She is always “in the moment” with our family. Too often, we all have regrets for missing things or being distracted during life’s great moments. Not Terri – she’s present every day with them. For example, when I get a Man-Cold, I’m down for the count. Nothing keeps her down, she’s right there, celebrating every moment for our family. I’m just in awe of all 3 of them.
When you are not working, how do you like to spend your free time?
I love reading and just started using a Kindle after fighting the movement for at least a decade. I was the person saying “but I like the sturdy feel of a book.” Sometimes, when we open ourselves up to change, we might just like what we find. I don’t know what I’m going to do with all the shelf space now. (You can still look smart carrying a Kindle, right?)
I also have had the privilege of coaching almost all of my kid’s youth athletic teams. Family considerations aside, NOTHING beats being part of a team. I’ve learned so much about myself coaching youth and I’ve always tried to teach the kids more than the fundamentals of the game, focusing on helping them find within themselves the determination to be great, in whatever they do.
I saw a quote just the other day “Good coaches can change a game. Great ones can change a life.” I know what my dad did for me in youth athletics and the impact my high school basketball coach had on me. I can only hope someday one of these former athletes thinks of me and smiles.
And it’s been said I play a fair amount of golf. Though I believe this has been exaggerated over the years, I do get to play a lot, especially now with my son Evan, who has a burning passion for the game. For anyone betting on a match between Evan and I, put your money on the kid. My dream foursome would be with Evan, my dad, and Bobby Jones.
Share your involvement with PDS Cares.
CARES is something I’m really proud of. Since its founding in 2014, it has made a financial impact on over 100 charities. This is something I help administer for the firm so I see all the names of organizations we touch through the Employee Discretionary Gift Program, an opportunity for our employees to direct dollars to charities of their choice with no other requirement than our paperwork.
Having a foundation that allows our employees to give money away is pretty cool. And the volunteer opportunities have been really eye-opening. If you’ve never volunteered at The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, I highly recommend it. It’s very humbling to see families facing such tough circumstances with their children. To see what RMHC does for those folks is really powerful.
One of my personal goals is to ensure that PDS CARES is financially viable long after I and the other current shareholders are gone. I’d be very proud to see CARES making an impact long after my days at PDS.
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