August 3, 2019

Sam Gorelick, CFP® | Associate Financial Planner

I am a native New Yorker, lifetime environmental justice advocate, and I spent years of my adult life studying anti-capitalist, feminist, and anti-racist philosophy. I am happiest with my hands in the soil growing vegetables, in the mountains on a trail somewhere, or racing cars in open road rallies. My interests take me to far-flung places, but New York is where I am rooted.

What does any of this have to do with financial planning? I ended up with a job at a wealth management firm because of chance and circumstance.

I had been working for my mom, she owned a full service real estate firm of her own, which she had successfully run for nearly 30 years. My dad and my brother worked for her too. Due to no fault of her own, my mom lost the business very suddenly. My family was unprepared for the immediate loss of income. My parents worked very hard their whole lives just to have to make an entire lifestyle change right at retirement age.

I consistently held a job from the time I was in high school until the day my mom lost her business. Having never been unemployed, I reached out to friends for any job leads. A friend knew of a wealth management firm that was hiring and offered to forward my resume along. I didn’t particularly want the job, I could never imagine myself in the financial services industry.

I was offered the job within hours of my first interview. I accepted because it was time to step-up and do the responsible thing for my family. Also, work is work, right?

When I first started I was good with numbers, but I had no idea what the difference is between a traditional and Roth IRA (who is Roth?). After about 8 months I began taking the prerequisite classes to register for the CFP® exam. All throughout the classes I would learn things that made me think to myself, ‘if only I’d known this I could’ve helped my family.’

That’s when I realized I could use my position in this profession to help people avoid some of the financial mistakes I couldn’t help my family to avoid. I finally understood how I could infect people with the knowledge they need – not just to survive – but to thrive in the biased and unfair system we live in. I always thought I would do this by teaching people how to grow and preserve their own fruits and vegetables, but instead I’m accomplishing it by giving clients the tools they need to live fulfilling lives in an unjust world.

Accomplishing this at a wealth management gig is an uphill battle. The world of wealth management is about making the rich richer, and keeping more money in the hands of fewer people. When I found out that Brunch & Budget was hiring, I knew I had to apply for the job – finally somewhere I can fully be myself and work with people in a meaningful way!

When we put financial power in the hands of more of the disenfranchised, we will begin to see the tides rise in favor of racial, social, and environmental justice. I am beyond thrilled to be part of an amazing team that allows me to work towards this.