Carol Friedhoff, CPFÒ, EA, MS, PMP
Savvy Outcomes, Inc.
Tucson, Arizona; Dublin, OH; and Westlake, OH
Before becoming a financial planner, Carol Friedhoff had a long career in information technology. After majoring in math in college, she took a job with Bell Labs and moved to New Jersey and then later to Ohio. From there, she stepped into a variety of new roles, including management positions in which she oversaw projects for multiple companies. All the while, she was sharpening the skills she would need to start her own business. However, the final piece fell into place while she was a project manager for a medical software company. The job required her to go on site to implement the company’s system at hospitals in the region, which meant she often worked alone. Having the chance to develop that sense of autonomy made Carol realize that she was ready to venture out on her own.
When Carol opened Savvy Outcomes, she met with a broker, but the investments and annuities he was pushing didn’t make sense to her. She’d experienced first-hand the frustration of working with brokers. In the past, she’d purchased mutual funds as an investment for her son. When she looked at the commission, she realized the firm was not acting in her best interest. As she built the foundation for her practice, she knew she wanted something different for her own clients. That’s when she discovered the world of fee-only planning. “It was like moving from the dark side into the light,” she says of learning about NAPFA, the CFPÒ, and ACP.
Though the ACP model aligned well with the vision Carol had for her company, she waited to join. “I wanted to see what it would be like on my own,” she says. Though she was able to establish herself, ACP gave her the tools to be successful. “It was like night and day,” she says of becoming an ACP member. Not only did the model provide the structure she needed, it helped her realize that she wasn’t charging enough for the value she provided to her clients.
When Carol thinks back to her ACP training, she remembers being impressed by the quality of the education. “The training was intense, and it gave me the confidence I needed,” she says. “The educators were knowledgeable and there was so much support for us.” With ACP providing the foundation she needed, Carol was able to build a thriving practice.
As often happens in life, plans changed for Carol, who had been living in Ohio for over three decades. She decided to move to Tucson, Arizona. After building a practice in Ohio, it was difficult to face the prospect of restarting the process. “At the beginning, you’re like a train going up a hill,” she explains. “The climb is slow at first, but then you hit the top of the hill and you start to pick up speed. When we decided to move, I was just hitting the top of the hill and staring to coast.” Luckily, Carol had the ACP model and members to lean on. She moved in 2013 and since then has found plenty of opportunities to make connections in the local community. She’s part of the area rotary club and helps manage the finances of the Tucson Welcome Club. She’s also joined an ACP study group to get support from other planners. All this helped her make last year one of her best.
Within ACP, Carol has served on the Conference Committee, helping to shape the event for many years. She enjoys helping members generate ideas for conference sessions to create a unique experience for attendees. Watching the evolution of the organization over time has only solidified Carol’s commitment to ACP.