We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Rahn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I worked at a large financial services firm for about a decade and found myself constantly wanting to improve or change the service model that clients experienced. In a large organization, change can be difficult if it happens at all. My goal was (and is) to provide the highest level of advice and service at a fair cost. Given that I was not able to impact these decisions directly, I took a leap of faith to create The Sum. Being an entrepreneur allows me to make all decisions that directly impact the experience my clients receive. It was challenging to start, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
What should our readers know about your business?
o As a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm, most people think that we do investment management and they are right. However, this is only one piece of the puzzle. At The Sum we provide comprehensive financial planning for our clients. This includes retirement planning, income planning, investment planning, tax planning, estate planning, insurance planning, and risk management. In short, we help our clients make better financial decisions through applied financial planning. o There are many great RIA firms in Houston and I believe there are a few key items that set us apart. First is our fee structure. We are a flat-fee firm in a world full of percentage-fee firms. The difference can be major for many clients when the amount of work may differ minimally. Here’s an example: A traditional RIA firm charges around 1%. If Client A has two million and Client B has three million to invest, their fee difference will be $10,000. Excluding the fact that the price is high to begin, it is unlikely that the firm is providing a $10,000 of additional service to Client B. This concept does not exist at our firm.
o The second thing that sets us apart is our ability to provide financial planning without managing a client’s investments. Don’t get me wrong, we love to manage our client’s investments, but it is not a requirement. At The Sum, we let the client choose who trades their account. We love the opportunity to provide the investment management service, but we are also happy to walk along side a client who does it on their own. We can still help with comprehensive financial planning even if we do not manage the investments.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
o As a pilot, I would take a friend up to tour Houston from a few thousand feet above the skyline. This is a wonderful view. After a flight around town, I would take advantage of Houston’s great restaurants. Tris in The Woodlands, Uchi, and UB Preserve are a few of my favorites. Catching a game at Minute Maid park is also a great time.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My wife is such an awesome and supportive partner. Starting a business is something that a couple does together. I can’t imagine walking this journey without her. I am also a product of my upbringing. My dad taught me what a hard day’s work looks like. I am forever grateful for his leadership and character. The real credit goes to God. It’s truly a blessing to serve in this capacity. All glory is His.