As Memorial Day approaches, we at Financial Perspectives want to extend our sincere wish that you and your family have a safe and happy holiday. It is a truly special time of year that offers not only the beginning of summer (which is a pretty big deal for those of us in Minnesota), but also a time of reflection and gratitude. Traditionally, this holiday represents a tribute to our military heroes who have given their lives defending freedom. However, it’s also a time to remember those who have left a lasting memory in each of our lives. That said, for this Memorial Day, I would like to pay tribute to the founder of FP, Michael T. Dugan.
My brother Mike was an incredible man. He was blessed with an intoxicating personality and brains to boot. He loved helping people and knew that his talents and holistic approach to financial planning could benefit many. In 1986, he started Financial Perspectives. For many years, he worked hard to build a financial planning firm anchored in the core principles of honesty and integrity. He was a pioneer in the holistic approach. He knew that the best way to help someone was to first understand the whole picture. By offering assistance in estate planning, insurance and taxes, in addition to investments, he would be able to deliver comprehensive advice that genuinely made a difference in the lives of others. He was a visionary in this field and I feel privileged to have worked with him for eleven years.
In 1994, Mike approached me about joining the firm. The original plan discussed was that I would take over when he turned age fifty, which would have been in January of 2006. This proposal would give us twelve years together to make the transition, at which time Mike would quietly depart to become a kindergarten teacher. His love of children and desire to give back was always his personal goal. As life goes, it didn’t entirely work out as planned. I took the helm at FP, but Mike never became a kindergarten teacher. As many of you know, he passed away in 2005 at the young age of 49 from complications related to Scleroderma. During his final days, Mike was able to share with me an ultimate wish. He wanted his life’s work to extend beyond him. He wanted to make sure that the people who had trusted him with their financial future would continue to receive the same level of service he had provided. I was nervous. Mike told me I was more than ready to carry on his legacy. He reminded me that I had been running the firm throughout his illness for the previous four years. He had an unwavering logic in his approach to life which I truly believe was a gift. On one of the last days he could speak, I was at the hospital visiting him. It was late March at the peak of tax season. He looked at me smiling and said, “Get out of here and go do your job”. That memory is a driving force for me every day.
It has been ten years since Mike passed. FP has continued to grow thanks to the trust you have placed in all of us at the firm. I have been blessed with an incredible group of colleagues who bring varying opinions to each situation with the unified goal of client success. We are extremely honored to work for you and we do our best to continue to deliver sound advice based on our holistic approach. While no one can predict what the next 10 years will bring, my hope is that I will be able to write to you about the twenty year anniversary of Mike’s death and the continuation of his legacy. I am proud of Financial Perspectives and I think Mike would be pleased.
Everyone has a special story about a person who has touched their soul. It could be a parent or grandparent, a child or sibling, a teacher or coach, a veteran. Whomever that may be, the impression left upon us often becomes part of what defines us. That’s why Memorial Day is such a precious holiday. It gives each of us the opportunity to reflect on those who have died. It allows us to remember, not just the veterans, but all who have died after making a difference in our lives. If more time was spent acknowledging their accomplishments, perhaps we as a nation could come together a little better than we have lately. The approach we choose in moving forward should be driven by our respect for those from the past. It’s that simple. Please take a moment this holiday to acknowledge an important person in your life.
From all of us at FP, we wish you a safe and happy Memorial Day.
Daniel J. Dugan