Meet Michael, the maestro of wealth management and the virtuoso behind the scenes at Cogent Strategic Wealth. Living a life that’s a delightful blend of financial wizardry and a hearty sense of humor, Michael finds great joy in leading his team and his clients to success.
Teaming up with his wife, Colleen, the duo has mastered the art of turning financial planning into a grand adventure filled with joy, security, and opportunities for their lively bunch. As Michael often says, “Life is meant to be lived, and lived well.”
In 2023, they popped the metaphorical champagne to celebrate a monumental achievement – their youngest, Ryan, emerged from the collegiate cocoon, armed with a degree from St. Louis University and a job as a mechanical engineer in a Chicago-based manufacturing company. Michael and Colleen checked off their parenting bucket list goal: raising and educating their kids by the time the youngest hit 22 with three kids graduating in 4 years each. Meanwhile, their older siblings, Samantha and Matthew, are carving out their own success stories in a Seattle-based wealth management firm and a Park Ridge, Illinois, family office, respectively. All three, like a well-choreographed comedy, have found their stage in the bustling city of Chicago.
This journey of financial triumph isn’t just a serious numbers game; it’s a rollercoaster of love, laughter, and a commitment to creating a future filled with extraordinary experiences. Michael, with his charismatic voice, explains their unique approach to strategic wealth – it’s not just about crunching numbers; it’s about aligning financial decisions with dreams and desires, ensuring the highest likelihood of turning them all into reality.
And did they get some confirmation bias from Bill Perkins’ book, “Die with Zero.” Michael’s laughter echoes as he shares some key takeaways from Perkins’ guidelines:
- Invest in experiences that yield long-lasting memories: Forget material possessions; Michael and Colleen prioritize experiences that bring joy and create cherished memories, like that one-time the family went canyoneering and each repelled down 130 cliffs of red sandstone, Colleen included.
- Prioritize health and well-being: Knowing that age is the ultimate party pooper, the couple embraces a proactive approach to living a healthy lifestyle, ensuring they can out-dance their kids at family gatherings.
- Give generously before you go: Instead of leaving their kids a financial treasure map, Michael and Colleen believe in giving when the gifts can have an impact, all while supporting causes close to their hearts and witnessing the impact firsthand, because philanthropy should be a live show, not a posthumous encore.
- Balance current enjoyment with later gratification: Mastering the art of balancing the present with the future, the couple ensures that their financial decisions contribute to both immediate enjoyment and long-term satisfaction, just like Michael’s hilarious dad-jokes.
- View investing as a tool for independence and optionality: Investing isn’t just about accumulating wealth; it’s a means to create a pool of durable resources that provide financial independence and a multitude of life options, like deciding whether to spend retirement in the big city, the high desert, or the mountains. Why not all three?
As their children flourish in their careers and lives, Michael and Colleen find themselves at a juncture filled with emotions—pride, joy, and a touch of nostalgia. The freedom and independence earned after dedicating 27 years to raising a wonderful family evoke a mix of emotions—gratitude for the journey and excitement for the adventures ahead.
Their intentional decision-making and purposeful allocation of time reflect a commitment to savoring life’s every hilarious moment or challenging times with those who matter most. As they navigate this new chapter, Michael and Colleen hope to serve as an inspiration, encouraging others to embrace not just strategic wealth planning but also the profound beauty of creating a life rich in love, laughter, and lasting memories. Get ready for the encore, folks – this financial journey is far from over!