Richard Ropelewski CFP®, MBA
I think my training and education at the U.S. Air Force Academy, followed by my work in the Air Force ingrained in me a sense of mission. I had the privilege of working for some excellent leaders and managers, and that background and the people with whom I worked had a deep impact on how I arrived at financial planning as a calling.
Following six-years in the military I went to graduate school in New York City for my MBA; after which I worked at several consulting firms and later at IBM. I worked with some wonderful people, but the professional nirvana I was hoping for after business school did not occur.
My wife, the brains in our relationship, commented “will you figure out what you want to do when you grow up”. Taking some time to reflect on the work I had done in the Air Force, I realized the drive and passion of working on something “bigger”, was missing. Doing some self-assessment, I kept coming back to the idea of teaching. We did not have kids at that point so the thought of being in a classroom with 20 six-year olds who can smell fear was a little intimidating. The other option I considered was teaching college, but looking into it further it was going to be more about research and writing; wonderful work but it did not check off the boxes I wanted.
Checking teaching off the list, financial planning was another profession I had considered. It still included elements of teaching along with the quantitative aspects I enjoy as a die-hard analytical type per all the Myers-Briggs type tests. It was also consistent with the collaboration and involvement in something meaningful I had enjoyed from my Air Force days.
While I will never cure the common cold or help eliminate world hunger, I believe the work we are doing for our clients has a substantial impact on their financial and personal lives. If we are doing our job right we get to know them, understand their priorities and help them achieve their personal and professional goals.
It took me a few years to find that something “bigger”, but I consider myself very fortunate to do something that I truly love every day.
When not working with clients I love traveling and watching my kids sporting activities.
Some other random and hopefully helpful facts about what makes me tick:
My first date with my wife Martha was a Red Sox game; two of the best parts of my life (at least after 2004 for the Red Sox, a lot earlier for my wife).
I consider chocolate a food group.
I also enjoy history and golf, and I am a huge Bruce Springsteen fan.