Frances Goldman, CFP®, MBA, Frango Financial LLC
It’s no surprise that Fran Goldman didn’t go into financial planning right away. Before she learned about fee-only advising, Fran believed that financial advisors were working only to help make the rich richer. That didn’t fit with Fran’s values. She wanted to serve the community, and after graduating from the University of Michigan, she pitched herself into community-focused work—interning for a congressman and fundraising for a women’s organization. After earning her MBA from the University of Chicago, Fran returned to the public sector. For eight years, she served in the US Office of Management and Budget. In this role she learned the power of hard work and long hours, and she developed the work habits that would underpin the rest of her professional career.
Ready for a change, Fran left the US to spend two years working for the New Zealand Treasury. She immersed herself in Kiwi culture and connected with local people. When her contract ended, she traveled through Asia for six months and returned to Washington DC in search of a role that would allow her to work with an organization that spurred social change. That’s how she found her way to the New Israel Fund, an international organization dedicated to building a strong and democratic Israel rooted in the values of equality, inclusion, and social justice. For 12 years, Fran served as the CFO. After leaving the New Israel Fund, she continued to pursue work in social justice, serving as the CFO for several non-profit organizations.
Looking to shift gears, Fran took a break to reassess her future. At an awards luncheon, she heard a NAPFA member speak about fee-only financial planning, and her interest was piqued. Fran had an investment manager, but he was a stock picker, not a planner. Fran saw an opportunity to help—she knew people must struggle with their personal finances. Even with an MBA and years of professional experience as a CFO, she had plenty of questions herself. “I wondered how everyone else was figuring out their financial lives,” she says.
Fran earned her Certificate in Financial Planning from Georgetown University in 2008. When she talks about finding ACP, Fran explains that she stumbled upon the organization and found it was just what she needed. She happened to sit next to Chip Simon on an airport bus at a NAPFA conference. “I remember after telling him about myself, he looked at me and said, ‘You need ACP,’” Fran says. “And he was right.” During ACP training, Fran was impressed with the people she met—the other new planners, but also the trainers who were volunteering their time. The ethos of the ACP community, a volunteer-led organization, aligned perfectly with Fran’s values. She realized that she’d found a home in ACP as she bonded with colleagues who had integrity, financial competence, and a desire to focus on the human aspect of advising.
When Fran started her own company, she knew she wanted a name that had some personal resonance. She chose Frango Financial because it not only played on her own name, it was a nod to her past. Frango Mints were the signature mints of the iconic department store, Marshall Fields, in Fran’s hometown of Chicago. The name is an ode to the place that raised her and also serves as a reminder of the importance of personal connection. Every year, Fran sends a box of Frango Mints to all of her clients.
As Fran got her practice up and running, the ACP Success Program provided the meeting structure, the tools, and the confidence she needed. “I couldn’t have done it without ACP,” Fran says. She found prospective clients who had been ignored by traditional advisors—people who worked in the public and non-profit sectors and whose wealth was concentrated in their home and retirement accounts. “They had all these questions and concerns, but because they had no discretionary investable assets, they were being ignored by the rest of the financial services industry.” These clients became the core of Fran’s practice.
Over time Fran recruited a fair number of other advisors to ACP. Her enthusiasm about the fee-only model and her strong presence in the Washington community made her an ideal contact for people looking to start a career in financial advising. In fact, one of Fran’s friends, Pamela Khinda, followed Fran’s career path and joined her at Frango Financial in 2015.
As her practice grew, Fran stayed engaged with ACP. She joined the System Committee, becoming its chair and leading efforts to enhance the ACP system. With Fran’s leadership, the committee incorporated the concept of human capital into the ACP system, developed ACP’s Advanced Financial Directive, and established the ACP Business Continuity Program. Fran is an active contributor to member discussion forums and a trusted voice in the ACP community. When asked why she’s so dedicated to service, she talks about how the human aspect drives her, how the connections matter. “The richness and robustness of this work comes from other people—from colleagues and personal relationships,” she says.