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The Origin, Journey and Destination

Jeff Robinson and the building of Family Financial Services.

Business training at age 11? Absurd!

But, in the days when Spencer Gifts was a novelty retailer by mail order only, I was taking orders and selling novelties on the playground. That is, of course, until my teacher told me I couldn't do that anymore. It seems I was always selling something. Whether it was flower seeds, candy, Christmas cards for fundraising or Christmas gift bows I made myself, I learned at an early age how to earn my way. In retrospect, I can now see that I had a natural affinity to organize, coordinate, and execute. As fate would have it, I did not go to business school. Actually, I had no plans to pursue a higher education at all. No one in my immediate or extended family had gone to college, so it didn't even cross my mind. I was a "C" high school student at best.

I was working at my Dad's gas station when my older brother (a U.S. Marine Corps jet pilot) came home from Viet Nam and asked me what I was going to do (for a living). I knew only one thing. I didn't want to work for my Dad in the gas station for ever. He suggested I consider joining the Marines as a pilot. My initial response was, "Who me? Don't you have to be smart to fly a plane?"

Career Lesson Number One

A person can do just about anything they want, if they want it bad enough. Five years later I graduated from the University of Montana and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps to become a pilot. After 13 years of serving our country, I was hired as a commercial airline pilot. As a new commercial co-pilot, flying a small airplane for a small airline, the pay was small as well. I started looking for a way to supplement my income. After having suppressed the business side of my brain for almost 20 years, I decided to re-engage it. My natural affinity for numbers and problem solving led me to income tax preparation. As I continued to fly, my downtime at hotel overnights was spent with my nose in the books. After two years of studying taxes and passing a four part exam administered by the IRS, I received the designation of Enrolled Agent. In 1992 I founded Family Financial Services. After seven more years of study, testing, licensing, and experience I earned the Certified Financial Planner certificate… all, while I continued to fly for the airline.

The Fork in the Road

With eight years of experience behind me, I felt that I was ready to be a practicing financial planner, but had two questions that needed to be answered.

  • As a financial advisor*, could one successfully integrate their beliefs into how they run their business and the counsel they offer?
  • If so, how?

During this time (2001), my faith as a Christian was deepening and I learned that the Bible had a lot (over 2,350 verses) to say about money and stewardship. My desire to help others learn and practice good personal financial stewardship was growing. As I met other successful advisors, who were ethical and very capable, I sensed that their motivations, world view, and counsel were simply different than mine. Could I be successful in this business by following Christian bases principles? Thanks to men like Larry BurkettHoward Dayton, and Ronald Blue, I realized that the answer was absolutely yes! In 2005 I became a Charter Member when Ronald Blue founded Christian Financial Professionals Network (later renamed Kingdom Advisors). After completing the inaugural Core Training course I became the first Qualified Member in Minnesota. It was becoming very obvious to me that this was my true passion.

Career Lesson Number Two

If you want to truly enjoy life, do what you love. Remember, at this point, I was still flying and had been enjoying it for almost 30 years. Did I love it? Not really. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the industry had undergone some fundamental changes and flying had become rather stressful. Besides, I found myself somewhere other than home four days per week. I was earning a livable wage even though I still flew for a commuter airline. Is making a career change at age 52 a very wise thing to do? At the time, mandatory retirement age for pilots was 60, and I did not have a pension.

In 2007, in light of my sense of purpose, calling, passions, and a desire to truly enjoy the remainder of my life, my wife and I decided it would be best to leave aviation and pursue a new fulltime career and ministry. My last flight as a commercial airline captain was June 15th, 2007. This photo records the traditional Retirement Water Cannon Farewell Salute as I taxied in for the last time at Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Today, as a small group leader, I host a monthly meeting of other Kingdom Advisors who are also learning what it means to integrate their Christian beliefs into their own personal finances, their business and counsel. YOU, by the way, are welcome to visit us anytime. We meet every second Tuesday of the month, 8 to 9:30 AM at my office. I have also led local business owners through the course "Business By The Book" by Crown Financial Ministries. In 2010 I started a three year Coaching Program with Ron Blue and enrolled in the Kingdom Advisors Family Wealth Counselor course.

Life Lesson, Life Loss

Unfortunately life took a left turn in December of 2010. I lost my wife. Out of respect for her I will not go into any details. But it was, and continues to be a very sad experience for me and I can only imagine that it was for her also. I do believe God had a reason for allowing this to happen in our lives. For me, I know my faith walk has deepened radically for the better but there continues to be a void that I am learning to deal with.

I did complete the Coaching Program and Family Wealth Counselor Course. Since then I have also completed the Biblically Responsible Investing course.

It is my goal to build and pass on a financial services firm which is fundamentally different; one which operates by faith, is sustained by grace, shares Biblical principles, models good stewardship, and cultivates a culture of generosity throughout the communities I have the privilege of serving.

For more information about Family Financial Services, your call or email inquiry is welcome.

Jeff Robinson E.A., CFP®, QKA

Conveniently Located

FFS is located just south of Minneapolis in Burnsville, MN.

*Jeff Robinson, Securities offered through H.D. Vest Investment ServicesSM, Member SIPC, *Advisory services offered through H.D. Vest Advisory ServicesSM, 1500 McAndrews Rd West, Suite 219, Burnsville, MN 55337 952-890-6611.

Family Financial Services is not a registered broker/dealer or independent investment advisory firm.