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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

People can do just about anything they want if they want it bad enough. I graduated from the University of Montana five years later and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps to become a pilot. After 13 years of serving our country, American Eagle Airlines hired me as a commercial airline pilot.   As a new commercial co-pilot flying a small airplane for a small airline, the pay was also small. So I started looking for a way to supplement my income. After suppressing 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. Aircrews typically have time off at hotels when they are traveling. I used my free time to study. 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 while working for the airline.

The Fork in the Road

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

  • 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 deepened. I learned that the Bible had a lot (over 2,350 verses) about money and stewardship. My desire to help others learn and practice good personal financial stewardship grew. As I met other successful, ethical, and capable advisors, I sensed that their motivations, worldview, and counsel differed from mine. Could I be successful in this business by following Christian bases principles? Thanks to men like Larry Burkett, Howard Dayton, and Ronald Blue, I realized that the answer was an absolute 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 enjoy life truly, 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 earned a livable wage even though I still flew for a commuter airline. Is making a career change at age 52 a sage thing to do? At the time, the 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 full-time career in financial services and part-time lay-ministry. Therefore, 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 at Chicago O’Hare International Airport for the last time.

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 continued to be an unfortunate experience for me, and I can only imagine it was for her. I believe God had a reason for allowing this to happen in our lives. I know my faith walk has deepened radically for the better, but there continued to be a void I had to fill.

Lessons Learned, Life Purpose Revealed

Life became a long, dark tunnel that took me four years to escape. Finally, in 2014 as I turned 60, I felt ready to go for a long walk and think about life and how I wanted to spend the rest of it. The path I walked

was an ancient one. Over the past 1,000 years, millions of people from all over the world have walked it. Like me, I can imagine that most walked it hoping to fill a void in their hearts or find answers to questions they weren’t sure how to ask. Twenty-eight days and 450 miles later, I completed the Camino de Santiago across the northwest of Spain. I didn’t have the answer to my question about living my remaining years, but I felt a definite a new spring in my step.

About three months later, I believe God gave me an answer. He said, “Go and do it again but this time, give testimony of me to those who will accept it.” (Of course, that is a paraphrase, and there are additional details, but I won’t bore you with them here.) That is not me, I thought. I had never done such a thing. He told me not to worry about it and that He would teach me.

So in 2015, I went again, and He taught me, and life hasn’t been the same since. Although my life path has been many things, good and bad, I believe one thing is sure. God has orchestrated all of the trails and trials to bring me to this very place at this exact time to due precisely what I am doing. So therefore, I offer a valuable service to my clients in exchange for pay so that I can go back to the Camino de Santiago and do it again and again as long as I am able.

As of the Spring of 2022, I have traveled to Europe fifteen times and have walked and biked about 3,200 miles. I love my new life of sharing the Gospel wherever there is an opportunity.

Thanks to all of you who have entrusted me with your investments and preparing your income tax filings. Because of you, I can travel and share this newfound faith, hope, and love I have.


                                                                  Somewhere Along the Way                    Santiago de Compostela, Spain

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

Jeff Robinson E.A., CFP®, CKA



Conveniently Located

FFS is located south of Minneapolis in Burnsville, MN.

*Jeffry L. Robinson, Advisory Representative, Securities offered through Avantax Investment Investment ServicesSM, Member FINRA, SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Avantax Advisory ServicesSM