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Dave Hoff

If the only certainties in life are death and taxes, then personal financial planners (PFPs) like Dave Hoff, CPA will never be out of a job.

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Dave Hoff


Moriarty & Primack
Boston, MA

If the only certainties in life are death and taxes, then personal financial planners (PFPs) like Dave Hoff, CPA will never be out of a job.

Estate planning and tax preparation aren’t the only things that Dave does as a financial planner, though. He gets to help individuals and families to manage investments, develop risk management plans, and create charitable giving plans too.

There’s not just variety in the work that financial planners do, there’s variety in where they can do it. Dave started his career at PWC in the personal financial services department before taking a break to get his MBA. He spent some time with a local firm before he returned to PWC. Now he works at a regional firm, as a shining example of the versatility of where PFPs can practice.

Once you’re in the field, you can practice just about anywhere, but the path to financial planning isn’t always direct. “Personal financial planning is not always the easiest to get into because it’s so specialized and is so much smaller than other groups.” David’s talking about our good friends in tax and audit.

So, how can you get into financial planning? Dave networked his way straight into the field, but he has some thoughts on other ways to get an in. “If you’re thinking about personal financial planning, starting in tax makes a lot of sense. After some experience with taxes, you can look for opportunities to transfer into a PFP department. It’s really helpful to have a solid tax foundation to advise clients about what’s going on.”

Passing the CPA Exam helps too. “I couldn’t be a manager at my current firm without being a CPA first. It shows that I have the technical know-how to help my clients achieve their goals.”

Accounting knowledge isn’t the only thing that makes Dave a good personal financial planner, though. “Once you reach a certain point there is an expectation that you’re capable, so you need other traits. Listening is key. You need to understand what clients are telling you or even just implying in conversation. Another important trait is the ability to manage several things at once. There will be times with clients where a lot of things will be happening at the same time and still you need to be able to meet your deadlines.”

Dave loves being a PFP. His favorite thing about his job – he gets to use his love of accounting to help other people. “As a financial planner, you get to know your clients on a personal level and help them accomplish their goals. You can see the direct impact of the services you provide on families and individuals.”

Dave has one more piece of advice about how to have a prosperous career in financial planning – speak up about what you want to do. “The person who knows best what they want to accomplish in your career is you. Be vocal on what type of clients you want to work on. You probably won’t have a perfect match all the time, but if you don’t vocalize that, you won’t be able to get the kind of clients you want.”

Thinking about making a career in personal financial planning a certainty for you? Check out a Q&A with another successful PFP and read about all things financial planning.

  • 7am: Starting the Day

    Every morning, I get my daughters ready for the day and have breakfast with them.  With three children under the age of 6, the beginning of the day is full of energy. 

  • 8am: Organizing My Day

    After I’ve arrived at the office, I check my email, read the Wall Street Journal, and plan for my meetings and calls scheduled for today.

  • 10am: Conference Call

    This morning I have a call with a client and other client advisors (including an estate planning attorney and investment professional) to discuss the best methods of utilizing the existing federal gift exemption amounts

  • 12pm: Networking Lunch

    Some of my former colleagues and I meet for lunch once every month. It helps us stay connected and gives us an opportunity to discuss industry trends and issues facing our clients.

  • 1pm: Project Review

    Squeezed between lunch and an afternoon meeting, I spend time reviewing a client’s private equity portfolio. I will then prepare a summary of the current unfunded capital commitments and forecast the potential cash requirements over the next three years.

  • 2pm: Client Meeting

    During this client meeting, we will be reviewing recently completed tax returns and discussing several tax planning ideas that we came up with while working on their taxes.  The preparation of the annual tax return is a great opportunity to talk with clients about their personal and business finances as well as gain a more-in depth understanding of their long-term goals and objectives. 

  • 4pm: Finishing Up the Day

    At the end of the day, I take time to respond to the day’s emails and voicemails. Once I’ve done that, I look ahead at tomorrow’s schedule and determine how to prepare for tomorrow’s appointments. I always spend the last part of my workday making sure I’m fully prepared for tomorrow. 

  • 6pm: Family Time

    When I get home, I have dinner with my family and spend time playing with my kids. Then, we get the kids ready for (and into) bed.

  • 8pm: Evening Exercise

    Once everything has quieted down for the evening, I like to get some exercise. Tonight is my weekly scheduled basketball game, but on other nights I’ll take a run on the treadmill – or outside if the weather’s nice.

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