We have a special treat for you this week–an interview with Obsidian founder Patrick Carroll. You’ll love hearing about his unconventional childhood and how it’s influenced his career.
Before we get to Patrick, we would like to address a couple of questions that we have been getting and thought everyone could benefit from our thoughts.
First, there is, of course, a major political election on the horizon in November. Not only is the presidency in play, but many states will also be voting for senators, representatives, and governors. We have heard from people wondering how that might affect the economy.
Remember that we have a presidential election every four years. While our personal political beliefs might influence our economic outlook and perception that a presidential election is a big turning point, simply electing a new president or other government officials is not the only factor. Presidents influence policy, but their policy changes are often met with challenges in the legislative and judicial branches.
Other factors (particularly this year with COVID-19) could have a bigger effect on financial markets. As your financial planners, we craft plans for you that are meant to span many presidential terms, congressional sessions, and ride the waves. Give us a call if you have questions about your plan, and we’ll be happy to talk you through it.
The second question we receive relate to the CARES Act and what will happen. Lawmakers are deadlocked on whether to pass a Phase 4. Among the changes under consideration are:
- Another round of stimulus checks (the first round was in Phase 3)
- A payroll tax cut, a new idea being considered by the White House
- Liability shields for businesses against coronavirus impacts
- Workplace safety standards (steps taken by businesses vary widely)
- Additional funding for state and local governments (more than one million public-sector employees have been laid off since the outbreak)
This is an unusual time, especially because proposals can get confused in our minds with existing rules. Always feel free to reach out with questions and know that we are keeping tabs on the situation.
Now for our interview with Patrick!
Tell us a little bit about how you grew up. It’s certainly unusual.
As a child I traveled all over the world and the country because my father worked for the state department. I was born in the Philippines. We lived in Hungary, Iran, Burma, and Laos, each for two or three years. There, we would get ingrained in the local cultures. I learned to make friends with new people easily.
How did that influence your path in life?
When you run a business, you must be comfortable with changing situations. Moving every two years made me comfortable knowing that there is always something new around the corner and not to be afraid of it. Things are constantly changing, and I like embracing new things, cultures, ideas all the time–it helps you run a business because running a business when you’re stuck in your ways doesn’t usually work.
What led you to start your business?
I like people, and I enjoy helping them. I started my firm because I wanted to advise people based on what was best for them and the businesses they own.
I earned my CFP® in the late 80s because I believe in the advice model. Now, our firm has three CFP®s on staff. We also hire people out of the accounting profession to help develop our client’s plans.
Our clients are extremely important to us. We love to see them accomplish their goals. We help them through all their different life questions, and it helps to have a variety of backgrounds in the office. We take great care to customize our plans to fit the individual’s unique goals.
Another thing we like to do is to hire interns because we want to build the next generation of planners. We had two great summer interns this year.
This year we have helped people and their businesses through COVID to get assistance and not panic. When you are trying to manage your finances, you’re so close to it that you can have a hard time making decisions. We get on the phone with people and help them make well-informed decisions about whatever it is in life they are considering. That’s what keeps me going; it’s what I love to do. I even wrote a book about it.
What are some places you’ve traveled?
We usually take one to two big trips every year. Unfortunately, Spain and Portugal got pushed back to next year. We’ve been to Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, Galapagos, and a Tanzanian safari. I’ll always remember being in tents in Tanzania in the middle of the Serengeti. One evening they had a birthday cake for my daughter’s 16th birthday and a guy on the trip turning 90. Now I want to have my 90th birthday in the Serengeti.
Aside from travel, how do you spend your time outside of work?
I am a big food lover. Julie and I are members of La Chaine des Rotisseurs–a group for foodies. We go to special restaurants. It’s all orchestrated, usually involving pairings with wine or some other beverage. We love that. I like to cook, and we have a smoker. I did a brisket a couple of weeks ago, and we love to entertain.
I love to read. Right now, I’m on The Complete Short Stories of Hemingway. I can always find something to do, even in lockdown, because I can still cook and read.
I’ve always believed in exercise, so I have a workout room in the basement and use it every morning. Last week I took the morning off, my daughter and I hiked the Billy Goat Trail. It was probably 95 degrees, but it was fun. It’s good to balance; the love of food with being active.