Schedule A Call Client portal

A Q&A with Planning Capital’s Dave Emery


Meet Dave Emery, the newest member of the Planning Capital team. Dave has had a long-standing love of financial planning, which he first discovered during his early career as a Mechanical Engineer. Now, he comes to us after over 15 years in the financial planning industry. We sat down with him recently to talk life and work, and were equally impressed by his love for problem-solving and his compassion in dealing with the very real and human events that makeup a person’s financial life. We’re excited for you to get to know him a little better in this brief Q&A!

Q:   So just some basics, where are you from? Where are you living?  How’s your family doing?

A:  I grew up in northern Delaware, and currently live in Doylestown, PA. I’ve been married almost 32 years. I have two adult kids, a son who’s 27, and my daughter is 24.

Q:  How did you start off your career? Where did you go to college?

A:  I went to Lehigh University and majored in Mechanical Engineering. My first job was actually in the engineering field, and the parent company I worked for was Ingersoll Rand. I worked for them for about 18 years, selling anti-friction bearing products. I spent five-and-a-half years out in Cleveland selling for them, but even then I was doing some financial planning on the side. Then I got relocated back to Philadelphia, and in 2005, when [the company was sold], I decided that it was time for career change.

Q:  How does the education work for that, getting your CFP and moving into that industry while you’re still working in engineering?

A:  While I was in Cleveland, I got my Masters in Business Administration. I was already doing some financial planning on the side there, and I realized I wanted to get more technical. I found that to accomplish that you really need to have a Certified Financial Planning designation. So I started doing that when I came back to Philadelphia, and went through the courses and sat for the board test. I think it was 2003 when I passed the test, had the coursework done, the work experience, and was able to apply for my CFP designation.

Q:  What was the big interest in switching over to financial planning? It seems like there was a long gradual shift towards liking financial planning over engineering and sales.

A:  I think it’s a couple things. One was helping people. The other was the problem-solving side of it: understanding all the different puzzle pieces. Everyone’s financial life is different. How do you align the pieces to accomplish a goal that the client has?

It’s also a job that you can do forever (at least until you cognitively can’t!) It’s a young industry, a growing industry. And it has its challenges. Many people view financial planning as a ‘want to have’, and not as a ‘need to have’.

Q:  Do you think coming from engineering gave you any unique perspectives for financial planning?

A:  I think so. For one, it teaches you to think methodically.  It teaches you how to problem-solve, and that is a very good skill-set to have going into financial planning.  Like I said, all the different aspects of a person’s financial life – investments, risk management, cash flow – are pieces in the puzzle that you have to figure out how to align.

Q:  What are some of your core competencies? Which variables in the puzzle of a person’s financial life do you like dealing with the most?

A:  Definitely organizing people’s financial lives. People’s financial lives are dynamic, so every action impacts another action. Every family’s financial picture is different. There’s always something new, and I think that’s one of the things I like about it.

Q:  When do people usually come to you? 

A:  Usually there’s a pain or inflection point.  [For example] people want to send their kid to college, and their kid picks the school and it costs $50,000 a year.  And they don’t want to impact or change their lifestyle, but they still want their kid to be able to go to the best school they can. I used to refer to college as a speed bump on the way to retirement. You get this huge speed bump you have to get over with a huge outflow of money before you can think about retiring. So they usually come to me with some type of a life event, whether it be college, divorce, wanting to leave a job, and needing to understand how to plan for the next stage in life.

Q:  I know one of those pain points you’ve worked a lot with for clients has been divorce planning. Can you tell us how that ended up being a bit more of a focus for you?

A:  People going through a divorce – moreso than with any other kind of planning – they’re in pain. They come to the decision, and then they move forward because they have to. Usually, in relationships, there’s a dominant financial spouse and a nondominant financial spouse. And typically, the nondominant financial spouse is the one that will seek somebody like myself out to help them make sure they’re making the right decisions from a financial perspective. Most of the time, they’ve already started the process. Some of the emotional side is still there, but they want to make sure they’re being represented fairly and not getting taken advantage of. And what their life is going to look like financially coming out of a divorce. When people are going through something like that – a divorce – you have to be understanding and build a trusted relationship.

Q:  So what was the draw to come to Planning Capital Management?

A:  One of the big things was the team. Second was the culture and how they approach planning and managing money. If I were to build my own firm, I’d be doing the same thing. I’d be using the same planning software and the same aggregating software. And they’re growing, absolutely growing. Also the work-life balance side of things, which is important. It’s important for them, and it’s important for all the clients that we help, too.

Planning Capital Management Corp is a Registered Investment Advisor with the SEC, and we are held to a fiduciary standard with all of our clients. We offer full financial planning in conjunction with investment advice and portfolio management. Should you have any questions or concerns about current market conditions, or just general financial planning questions, schedule a call with us!