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The Company that is Changing the World of Finance

The Company that is Changing the World of Finance

Tony Aguilar

Today, we interviewed Tony Aguilar, the Gen-Y Finance Guy, to discuss his business, Amiti Advising.

Tony, tell us a little bit about Amiti Advising.

Well, Amiti Advising is the first affordable financial planning firm that is focused on young professionals, young families, and college students. We launched this May, but have worked on the business structure and plan since last fall.

When you say financial planning firm, what is that you really do?

That’s a really good question. Most people actually don’t really know what financial planning is and we’re not your typical financial planning firm. Basically, we help our customers get a grip on their finances at an early age. Within our financial plans we design a solid budget, a savings plan, and a debt-repayment plan. In addition, we help our customers build an emergency fund, build and repair their credit, and offer investment guidance, and insurance products.

Why did you start your company?

There are a few reasons why I started Amiti. I got the idea when I was a financial advisor at a large corporate firm. I had a lot of friends and family members who wanted my help, but they did not have enough in assets or could not afford our fees. They really didn’t want investment advice, tax planning, estate planning or insurance products, which is what a traditional financial planning company does. They wanted help with things that seem really basic like budgeting, saving, paying off credit cards and student loans, choosing employer benefits, investing in their 401k’s, and opening IRA’s. Well this stuff really isn’t basic when no one teaches it. Personal finance is one of the most important parts of our life that we will use every single day, but nowhere is it taught. Not in grade school, not in high school, or in college. I was a finance major and I was never taught 1 day about personal finance.

My entire generation was being ignored by my industry, because we didn’t make enough money or we didn’t have enough saved up. It’s ridiculous. Why will a recent college grad with $35k in debt need a $1,000 financial plan that is focused on investing and insurance?

I wanted to create a company that allowed young professionals and college students to get a grip on their finances at an early age. This will allow us to prevent many of the mistakes that our parents and grandparents made and allow us take advantage of every opportunity that is in front of us.

How are you different from any other financial planning firm?

Well, most financial planning firms focus on investments and insurance products. You either have to have a certain amount of assets to invest or you have to pay a really high fee to get advice. This doesn’t make sense for a young professional who is dealing with student loans, credit cards, and saving for a house.

We focus on helping our customers build a strong financial foundation, first and foremost. This means we help them put together a solid budget, build an emergency, create a debt-repayment plan, repair & build their credit, and provide them with insurance that is adequate for them.

As we create this solid foundation we design a savings plan for their future home, a new car, vacations, or whatever their goals are. In addition to this, we start looking for opportunities to start investing efficiently in their 401k’s and Roth IRA’s for retirement. We do not focus all of our energy on investing.

You said your fees are affordable. How affordable are they?

Very. We charge $25/month for college students, $35/month for individuals, and $55 for couples. Customers do have the option of paying the annual fee up front, but the monthly rates just fit so nicely into their budgets. This includes their financial plan, guidance, and advice for the rest of the year. They can come to us with any questions or ask for advice at no additional charge. I think the most important part is our accountability partnership. We make sure that each and every plan we design for a customer is working. Some customers need us to call them weekly others every three months. It really depends on their needs.

What does Amiti mean?

The Company that is Changing the World of FinanceAmity, with a ‘y’, means friendship. As a financial planner you get to know more about your clients than most of their family and friends, so you develop more than a client/advisor relationship. It is more like a friendship and many cases it feels like you become part of their family. So, the word amity just fits with what we are doing.

How was it financed?

We are a bootstrapping machine. I have funded the entire business with savings and income from other sources. Now, we are surviving from our revenue.

What free online or offline tools do you use?

Well let me just start shooting out everything that comes to mind. I’m sure I’ll miss some, but I’ll blurt them out as I remember:

Facebook, Twitter, TweetDeck, Short-Stack Labs (our Facebook landing page), Gmail, Google Docs, Square for payments, well, it’s not free, but it is a lot cheaper than getting a credit card machine or using PayPal. Evernote, WiseStamp, LinkedIn, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com (we recommend it for every one of our clients), Gimp, MailChimp, and FourSquare.

Speaking of which, you can find us at:

www.LiveYoungLiveSmart.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/amitiadvising

Twitter @AmitiAdvising & @TonyAguilar

LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonyaguilarjr

Check out our Live Young | Live Smart™ Blog at

www.youtube.com/amitiadvising

Here are some of our latest video blogs:

Should You Save or Pay-Off Debt

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwgpSMuJ6DY&feature=player_profilepage#t=1s

Credit Report vs Credit Score

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qktOyXgrofM

How many people are currently working at Amiti Advising?

There are two of us who run the daily operations. I focus on the financial advising aspect, and my partner Ruben Cantu handles the business development and marketing. We have a couple of interns who have helped us tremendously. School just started so we’re looking for a few more to help with our social media and college campus presence.

What is the best advice you never got?

My dad once said, “do what makes you happy.” I’m sure he doesn’t know those are the words I live by, but they are the reason I started Amiti Advising. I think I should tell him! Too many people spend their life doing things that don’t make them happy. It really doesn’t make sense to me. It kind of goes along with the quote, “how you spend your days is, of course, how you spend your life.” I’m not sure who said it, but it’s a simple reality. If I’m doing something I love everyday that makes me happy, I will have a happy life. Happiness is the most important thing in the world to me. And through Amiti I’m helping people achieve their dreams and goals, which are the things that make them happy. I love it.

What almost killed your business in the start?

I think I was trying to make everything perfect, without actually brining in any business. I was focused on making sure the website, content, and a bunch of other small things were perfect. I spent a lot of time on them instead of marketing and holding meetings. I realized there is a difference between being busy and being productive. It’s surprising how quickly the days and weeks go by when you’re doing busy work and you really don’t make any progress. Stay focused on the productive stuff.

What is the one thing that you did right?

(laughing) I think we picked the perfect market. Our services are exactly what our generation needs.

What type of marketing or advertising do you do?

Fortunately, we haven’t really needed to do much marketing. We’ve really focused on word of mouth and social media. Next month we’re starting our seminar series SmartChange™ to start spreading the word. We have created seminars that are tailored for certain demographics like, young professional women, college students, high school students, couples, parents, and gay & lesbian couples. This will allow us to work with many specific demographics within our market.

This fall we’ll be working with many organizations, communities, and colleges around the central Texas area.

What would make your business more “Successful”?

Well, the more people we help the more successful we are. It’s just a matter of getting our name and what we do out there. If organizations and schools allow us to present our seminars to their members and students that would make us more “successful.” The organizations and schools are providing a great benefit to their members and we’re helping them get in control of their finances. Many will become customers of Amiti. It’s a win win for everyone.

Tony, thank you so much for your time today.

It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

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