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JAMES SAGER, CFP®
Q&A with James
Why did you become a financial planner?
I spent the first 13 years of my career behind the scenes. Working in operations, I spent all of my time interacting with advisors, but never clients. Through all of the wonderful stories I heard from advisors throughout the years about working with their clients, I wanted to take all of the experience I had accumulated and turn it into something more impactful. While I enjoyed working with advisors and am grateful for the time I spent on the operations side of the business, getting the opportunity to sit down with a client, help them in a more direct way and build a relationship with that person spoke to me as a much more fulfilling experience. And as I look back over my time as a financial planner, I can tell you my hunch was absolutely correct.
What do you do when a problem is outside your area of expertise?
One of the things that I believe makes The H Group more unique than a lot of other firms is our team approach to managing our clients. We can’t all be experts in all areas of financial planning. Having an experienced team of advisors around me provides a wealth of knowledge that I can tap into, if necessary, whether it’s providing information or pointing me in the right direction. Knowing this gives me confidence when I need to potentially tell a client, “I don’t have the answer right now, but I’ll work on it and come back to you with my recommendations.”
What do you find most enjoyable about your work?
This is really a two-fold answer. First and foremost: my clients. Visiting with them, building that relationship and just catching up on everything that is going on in their lives is something I could do all day, every day. As my wife can attest, I can have a 20-minute conversation with a complete stranger in the grocery store about *insert random topic here.* So, having the opportunity to sit down with my clients and just talk about how they’re doing and what keeps them up a night is a reward in and of itself. But once the conversation is over, there’s still planning that needs to be done. The challenge of putting the pieces of their financial puzzle together in order to help them achieve their financial goals is like having my cake and eating, too.
What do you like to do for fun?
During my downtime you can typically find me either working out or spending time with my boys, Owen and Levi, and wife, Heather. Invite me to play just about any sport and I’m in, but these days I spend a lot of time on the diamond, playing slow-pitch softball. During the winter you can find me on the mountain, snowboarding. As lovers of travel, Heather and I have a goal of taking a big trip every year to give our boys as many experiences with different cultures as possible.
James grew up in Portland. After high school, he spent a couple of years studying computer science before making a hard left turn and completing his degree in economics but holding on to a little of his computer science roots with a minor in multimedia and web design. James is a husband and proud father of two young boys, Owen and Levi.
James is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA). After graduating from Centennial High School, in Gresham, OR, James went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in International and Financial Economics from Oregon State University.