Your Financial Planning Team

Financial Planning starts with a story.

The New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994.  What does that have to do with financial planning?  I promise we’ll get there, but first let me tell you a little story.

The Rangers’ 1994 Stanley Cup run was my first exposure to hockey.  Calm down, my Hurricanes didn’t exist yet.  Yes, they existed as the Hartford Whalers, but we’re not counting that.

Growing up in eastern North Carolina, we were all about the “big three” sports of baseball, basketball, and football.  My friends were great about adapting the rules, so I could play in our neighborhood pickup games.  I was very blessed to grow up around people who were great at seeing me and not my disability.

Unfortunately, there weren’t many options available in organized sports for people with disabilities.  The few sports available were only for people who could use a manual wheelchair.  I have never had the strength to even use a manual chair, so competing at a high level wasn’t possible.  That’s when I heard about Powerhockey.

Financial Planning:  Finally, a sport for someone using an electric wheelchair!

If I was ever going to have the chance to play hockey, I thought it might be a good idea to start watching the sport.  I needed to learn about the game.  Of course, 1994 was before the internet and the instant access that we are accustomed to today.  All I could do was watch the Playoffs on television and learn what I could.

I was immediately drawn to the Rangers and their captain, Mark Messier.  As I learned more about Messier, I found that he was one of the greatest leaders the sport has ever known.  He quickly became the perfect fit for the position of Jonathan’s Hockey Hero.

When I started playing wheelchair hockey, I wore #11 and kept it my entire career because of Mark Messier.  Even when my parents would give me my beloved Hurricanes’ jerseys, they were customized with my name and #11.  I used to watch the Hurricanes play the Rangers hoping that Messier would get a hat trick, but the Hurricanes would win 4-3.

Financial Planning:  Meeting my hero!

Thanks to my friend and PNC Arena employee, Mrs. Judy Guerrero, I had the opportunity to meet my hero while in college.  At that time, Mrs. Judy didn’t really know me.  She was just going the extra mile to give me a priceless memory.

Of course, Mrs. Judy became a great friend and I was required to stop by and see her any time I was in the arena.  Seriously, I would receive notes on Facebook if I didn’t!  I’m always glad to see her and will always appreciate the special moment she gave me.  I cannot remember the exact date or even who won the game, but I’ll never forget my moment meeting Mark Messier.

Again, this happened before smartphones and social media, so I couldn’t post a selfie.  I didn’t need a picture anyway.  I did get his autograph though on a limited edition print and NO it is not for sale.

Later, when I was an intern with the Carolina Hurricanes, my supervisors, Anne Nelson and Bill Corcoran, took me down to ice level in order to watch Messier play up close.  Yes, I’m name dropping here, but they deserve my gratitude and some acknowledgement.  These small gestures fueled my passion for the game, which led me to create a wheelchair hockey program in North Carolina where I was able to play competitively for 15 years!

Financial Planning:  No One Wins Alone

Recently, I found that Mark Messier finally wrote a book.  I had read books and articles about him as a player, but this was finally his story.  Amazon actually recommended it to me, which is always creepy, but I don’t think I’ve ever hit the “Buy Now” button so fast in my life!

Messier’s book is called No One Wins Alone and, like with many other things, it got me thinking about financial planning.  See I told you I would get there.  Yes, the book is mostly about his hockey career, but Messier is very clear in the importance of everyone from the cab driver taking him to the arena to his


There’s a real life lesson in the book that we all need help.  For some reason I’ll never understand, people hate to ask for help.  We’ll beg and plead when we explode and can’t handle our lives anymore, but by then there may not be many options.  Why don’t we use a preemptive strike and limit our problems before they occur?

The perfect example is with our financial planning situation.

Money has always been a topic that isn’t discussed among friends.  Of course, that doesn’t count if you have that get rich quick pyramid scheme that can’t fail! (That’s sarcasm by the way!)

My parents always taught me that you don’t ask anyone how much they spent on a product or how much they get paid.  It was none of our business, which I agree with to a point.  However, if all parents are very strict about the topic of money, are we creating generations with no financial knowledge?  Are we already there?

It’s scary to think about isn’t it?  That’s why I believe financial planning is so important!  One of my greatest fears is that we’ll reach a point where all senior citizens rely completely on the government for their wellbeing.

I hope we all have long lives and we most definitely need to be prepared.  If we’re struggling with our household now, imagine the pressure on your children to meet their future family’s needs and pay your bills as well.  If you’re between 30 and 50 years old, then we should absolutely start thinking about that question.

Financial Planning:  The reality check.

I hate when people use fear to sell their products or services, so I don’t mean to do that here.  However, sometimes we need that reality check.  The time where companies provided pensions for their retired employees is long gone.  Even if they do, the pension probably won’t cover your retirement needs.

I know it’s scary, but we buy life insurance to protect our children in the event of our death.  Shouldn’t we do the same with our retirement plan?  It is another way for us to protect our children.

Our comfort in retirement lies squarely on the financial planning we do today.  The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone.

You absolutely need a financial planning team looking out for your best interests.

Your team should include an accountant, an attorney, and a financial planner.  All of these may not be affordable or even needed at first, which is why I provide different services for the different stages of your journey.  Feel free to check out my services here.

There is no room on your team for people, including friends and family, who will take advantage of you.  You also don’t have a roster spot for anyone who isn’t running toward the same goals.  One of my favorite things about Mark Messier is how he never wavered from his mission.  He played in order to win Stanley Cups and he wanted the entire locker room to feel the same.

When the Rangers won in 1994, they haven’t won in like 50 years.  The organization seemed to believe it would curse their season to even talk about the Stanley Cup.  Messier changed that immediately by having the division standings posted in the locker room.  I believe he did that because it’s hard to get anywhere when you don’t clearly define where you want to be.

Sounds like goal oriented financial planning to me!

I believe we have to be the same way with our financial plan.  We cannot be afraid to talk about our financial situation.  Also, it will be extremely difficult for us to ever get ahead if we don’t know which direction we want to go.

Unfortunately, people think financial planning is too expensive, but I would argue we can’t afford not to have a plan.  It’s not written in stone and you won’t be put in jail if the plan is not followed to the letter, but having a set of instructions for anything is usually helpful.

Most financial plans will include investment services at some point.  No, I cannot promise that each year you invest will be a positive year.  Actually, that’s why investments normally provide higher returns over time; because there are risks to investing.  As they say, “You want big rewards, you have to take big risks.”

Financial Planning:  Conclusion.

Mark Messier dedicated his life to hockey and played 25 years in the National Hockey League.  During that time, he won six Stanley Cups.  Does that mean his other seasons were failures?  Absolutely not!

We are so used to instant gratification that I think we can forget about preparation.  The work Messier put in throughout his career prepared him for the times where he ended the season as a champion.

The preparation for your desired future begins with financial planning.  Maybe you want to own a beach house.  They don’t just fall out of the sky.  By planning for it now, perhaps in twenty years you’ll be in a position to buy that vacation home.

Your goals may seem crazy or impossible right now, but that doesn’t mean you should just give up on them.  You just need the right people on your team.  You need people that are willing to take the journey with you, encourage you, and coach you as needed.

I cannot promise we’ll reach all of your goals, but I can promise you will always receive my best effort.  No one wins alone and I would be honored to be a part of your team.  Email me.


Jonathan Greeson is located west of 117 and south of E. Main St.
Jonathan Greeson is located west of 117 and south of E. Main St.

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Pikeville, NC 27863