Troy Von Haefen, CFP
Von Haefen Financial Management
Long before Troy Von Haefen became an advisor, he learned from the other side how important financial planning could be. Growing up in Victoria, Texas, Troy’s family didn’t have much. “My parents were not good with money,” he says. He recalls feeling embarrassed not by the fact that they couldn’t afford much, but by the fact that his parents so often mismanaged what they did have. “That has been a motivator for me,” Troy says as he considers the arc of his own life. Though he didn’t pursue finance right away, making wise decisions with money became the through-line of his career.
The first in his family to attend college, Troy pursued a degree in music. This is where his two passions began to intertwine. He joined a band as a guitarist and naturally fell into the role of managing the band’s finances. After graduating, he moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music. Even though the industry provided a measure of instability, Troy was intent on being a good steward of his money. He witnessed a lot of poor financial decisions by others in the business, and he knew he wanted to do things differently. He educated himself about the world of finance. “I was the guy on the tour bus reading the Wall Street Journal,” he says. Often other musicians would seek him out with questions and Troy was happy to share what he’d learned.
Once Troy got married, he began to consider what it would be like to move on from the music industry. Being a guitarist had allowed him to do some amazing things, but now it didn’t give him the freedom to spend time at home. When he had his first child, he made the decision to start thinking about his next move, and when his second child came, he knew he was ready. His natural affinity for finances and helping people made financial planning a great fit.
As he began to craft plans for his transition, Troy found himself drawn to the fee-only model. “I wanted to set up a practice as ethical and unbiased as possible,” he says. He knew he didn’t want to be part of the “churn and burn” mentality of a national firm, so he started to put the pieces in place to open his own practice. He stepped back from his music to pursue a business degree, and he got his CFPÒ.
When Troy opened his own practice, he kept things simple at first by not taking on taxes. As work began to pick up, he discovered ACP from a former member. “I liked everything about ACP,” Troy says. “Here was a whole system to rely on. It was great for someone like me who had limited experience, no family history in the industry, and no desire to work in the corporate world,” he says. With ACP behind him, Troy jumped in head-first.
During training Troy was able to see the ACP process laid out. “It was so great to be learning with boots on the ground—to be taking the philosophy and actually implementing it into real life,” he says. One of the big takeaways for Troy was coming to understand planning as a continual process. “Life is always moving and throwing you curveballs. It’s easy to think planning is about perfecting something, but it’s more than that. It’s about applying these ideas as perfectly as you can within the unpredictability of the real world. It’s both a science and an art,” he says
For Troy, ACP provided the tools he needed to be successful. Where at the beginning of his career he relied on ACP to help provide direction, recently the roles have reversed some. Now with a thriving practice, Troy has dedicated himself to helping ACP chart its course for the future. Troy is excited to help ACP grow in the right way—by staying true to its core philosophy of fee-only planning and fostering a diverse community of advisors. He believes in the power ACP has to support individual practices and to change the conversation in the industry as a whole.
Troy served on the first System Committee, helping to craft the charter. More recently he’s served on the Compensation Committee. “I’m really proud of the work we’ve done there. I learned so much, and I think we’ve helped a lot of advisors calibrate their practices to become more efficient and effective,” he says.