Jeff Rose | Alliance Wealth Management LLC CEO | Founder and Soldier of Finance Author | High Speed Low Drag Interview

Jeff RoseWelcome to High Speed Low Drag, the podcast for veterans and soldiers transitioning into the civilian world. War veteran John Lee Dumas interviews other veterans who are crushing both business and life, revealing the path they took to achieve outstanding success. Veterans, are you prepared to ignite?

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High Speed Nation, John Lee Dumas here and I am fired up to bring you our featured guest today, Jeff Rose. Jeff, are you prepared to ignite?

Jeff: Affirmative.

John: All right. Jeff is a certified financial planner and Iraqi combat veteran. He is the CEO of Alliance Wealth Management LLC, founder of and author of Soldier of Finance. Jeff, I’ve given Fire Nation just a little insight. So take minute, tell us about you personally then expound upon the biz.

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Good-financial-centsJeff: Yes. So, I’ve been a financial planner now for a decade, which seems like forever a days. But I love what I do. About five years, six years ago, I discovered what a blog was and I launched Both of them have been my babies, the practice and the blog for the last six years. That led to a book deal and it has led to so many other opportunities. I just love the online realm and the people you can meet. I’ve met you a few times. And all the online entrepreneurs. And it’s just been a blast just to see that success grow.

John: Well, a decade is a long time. I mean, let’s be honest, we’re becoming old men, Jeff, right before our eyes. I mean, I’m about the exact same age as you. I’ve now been out of college for 12 years, which has just blown my mind. I mean, it’s insane that I’ve been out three times as long as I was actually in although college just seems like this massive part of my life. But it’s just crazy to think about it. Jeff, we’re going to really do a dive into that journey that you eluded a little bit to. But before we get into all that jazz, we always start with a success quote and why you chose to share this.

Jeff: Yes. I mean, I have so many quotes that I love and this one is a little bit different than my traditional success quote. But I am actually going to go with some scripture on this one, and I’m going with Matthew 6:33. This says,

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

And why I want to share that quote today is because there have been times in my entrepreneurial journey that I was so focused on the money that I forgot about the things that were important to me — the people, my family, my friends, Jesus. And once I finally made this distinction — This has really just been the past couple of years — and really just sought out to serve Him and also serve other people, all these things have been added to me. Luckily, my wife and I were so much stronger. My family is closer. My friends are stronger. My personal relationships are stronger because I’ve made this my priority. And that’s why I want to lead off with that quote.

John: I love that quote. I just love that mentality, that process. I have a similar favorite quote that really evokes the same message. It’s by Albert Einstein. It says: Try not to become a person of success, but rather become a person of value. And that was my problem, Jeff. I was trying to become this person of success, going to law school and then trying corporate finance and then commercial real estates, and then all this jazz. And it really just was not benefiting anybody especially me and I wasn’t finding any success in that.

But when I switched that around and just know, I’m just going to become a person of value. That’s where the real success started to roll in afterwards. So, Jeff, we’re going to talk about your journey and specifically you being a military guy. We want to focus first and foremost on what you consider your most pivotal moments in the military. So share that story with us.

Jeff: I think, for me, it was just joining. I was a college dropout. My dad was a college dropout. He finally went back to school later on in life. Actually, he got his degree in his 50s. And he don’t want to see me follow on the same path. He always wanted me to be better, like a typical good father would. And sure enough, after high school, I dropped out of college. I got dropped from my classes. I gave up. I started working a data entry job my mom got me. I was really doing data entry eight hours a day and I was just miserable, hating life.

And then that’s when I finally — Me and my mom always just got into it. We’re just very stubborn and very opinionated. We’re too much alike to live with each other. And I finally just said, “Screw it. I need to do something myself.”

national guardA few of my buddies back in the Midwest had joined the National Guard and I was like, “You know what, I needed to do it.” So I called a recruiter. Initially, when I found out I had to go to basic training, I was like, “Wait, oh, I thought this was just a weekend thing. I’m not ready to go to basic training.” A few months later, nothing had changed. I was like, “You know what, screw it, I got to do it. I got to do this for me.” So I joined the Army National Guard Infantrymen and did that route.

And literally one of the best things I had ever done in my life. It changed me. It made me a more disciplined individual, a go-getter. I mean, there are still some things I had to work out but that was definitely a pivotal point in my life.

John: Let’s go and talk about what you consider the biggest lesson that you learned from that moment, from that experience in your life.

Jeff: I think the biggest thing I took out of that is only I could make that happen. I’m the one that had to take action. I’m the one that had to call the recruiter. I’m the one that actually had to sign the dotted line. That was not my parents. That was not my friend. That was me taking action for myself. And if I wouldn’t have taken action, then I would still be doing data entry or some stupid day job that I absolutely hated. But it’s that you have to take initiative and take action before things are going to change.

John: I love that. And so let’s fast forward a little bit, Jeff, because we’re really focused on our listeners here who are military veterans right now or those that are active duty that are currently transitioning out. Let’s talk about a story of your transition and share with us an experience that you had while you transitioned out, maybe a failure, a challenge that you faced and a couple of lessons that you might have learned.

Jeff: Yes. I was in the National Guard. I was in for a number of years, almost six years. I reenlisted for another three. And in that three-year reenlistment, that’s when we got deployed. So, I was deployed to Iraq as a military policeman from January ’05 up until April of ’06. So, we think about transition. Me, I was already a financial advisor for two and a half years, had to transition back after being deployed. My goodness, that was tough.

It was tough getting back in just the swing of things of being a financial or having to put on a shirt and tie, sitting in an office instead of a hot Humvee in the middle of Baghdad. I think, professionally, it was a struggle. But even personally, my wife and I, we have gotten married — Basically eloped. We got married in Las Vegas two months before I deployed. And one of the hardest transitions was us remembering who were before I left. And it was a rough three to six months. I mean, we had to do counseling, all that good stuff.

I mean, I like to say that now because a lot of times, for soldiers that are trying to transition even from active duty or from being deployed, we think of ourselves as a failure because we have to seek counseling or need help like that. But if you’re struggling like that, I encourage people to do it because it saved us. It really did. There was that transition personally and professionally, just getting back to the swing of things.

John: Jeff, let’s talk about that first civilian gig. You transitioned out, you struggled, but you got through it. What was that first civilian step that you took? Let’s analyze maybe some lessons we can pull out of that.

Jeff: I mean, definitely, as I said, luckily, I just stumbled into becoming a financial advisor. I had an internship that led into it and it wasn’t a career that I thought I wanted but I ended up doing it. I actually did pretty well with it, I guess, because I’m still here doing it. I contribute a lot of the military in helping — Actually, I mean, I know it helped me because, one, having the military background is what got my foot in the door.

Because I didn’t really have a lot going for me at that time. Yeah, I had a part time job. I wasn’t a jock. I wasn’t an athlete. I didn’t have any of that. But having that military background definitely showed people like, “Okay, this guy has taken some initiative on his own. He’s got that discipline.” That really would help get the foot in the door, even got the job in the first place.

John: So, we’re talking about your transition out and what was that first real solid footing that you had in the civilian world that you really kind of use to kind of flex forward and really just make your mark in this world?

Jeff: Yeah. I think, for me, I live in the Midwest, small town USA, very, very partial to veterans, especially those that serve in times of combat. I won’t say that I exploited that but definitely was something I was very proud of, something that my father didn’t have. Even my friends that had joined the Guard prior to me, none of them had — They couldn’t call themselves a combat veteran. So that was something I was very and still proud of today. I served my country in the time of need. And that’s something that I just haven’t shied away with, something I want people to know because I’m proud of it.

And having that has definitely helped just the eyes of several people like, “Oh, wow. Okay, yeah. I mean, it’s not just Jeff Rose, the certified financial planner. You’re Jeff Rose, an Iraqi combat veteran.” I always feel awkward when people thank me for my service. And in the first couple of years, I really just deflected it because I was just like — I saw people, other soldiers overseas that did a hell lot more than I did. So it was always weird to accept that. But nowadays, I appreciate it. I appreciate the fact that they acknowledge the sacrifice that I made.

John: My words that I always use, Jeff, and maybe this would help some people out there. I really take a step back and I just let a pause for a second when people thank me. I look at them and I just say, “I appreciate the appreciation.” Because I really do. That’s what I appreciate. I don’t want to go like, “Oh my god, thank you. Yeah, this is what I did.” I listened to the whole story, but I just want to make it, let them know but at the same time close that conversation, like, “Jeff, I appreciate that appreciation.”

So, on to other things. Kind of just like use that as a way to acknowledge but then deflects slightly. Jeff, what I like to talk about now, because you’ve, like you said, been a financial adviser for ten years now, like a full decade. And I’m sure you’ve had a ton of aha moments during that decade. Can you share with us one that really spurred some success for you and really break that down and share with us the steps you took to turn that aha moment into success.

Jeff: Yeah, whenever I was thinking about that question — So, I started my blog back in 2008. I really didn’t know what I was doing, completely clueless. And one of the earliest successes I had with it was that I was contacted by CNBC and was flown out to New Jersey and meet with their home office, the headquarters, to potentially be on a TV show. Now I tell you that this show never amounted to anything. I had to pay for the ticket on my end.

So, I was out like $600 bucks for a day trip that went nowhere. But the aha moment in that experience was that I was meeting with one of the executive producers and we’re sitting in this office. I’m Jeff Rose, certified financial planner in Carbondale, Illinois, which is literally like a farm town. Why am I here in New Jersey? And she’s like, “Most other CFPs we have on the show, they’re usually like Forbes recognized, Worth Magazine recognized.” And she’s like, “Who are you?”

John: Hedge fund managers.

book-coverJeff: Hedge fund managers. And then there’s me, right? But she’s like, “You know, I think about your background here, with the military background, being deployed, you should have a book that talks about a soldier’s discipline to investing.” And right when she said that, I swear this light bulb just appeared over my head. And at that point in time, I had no sleep because I got early flight to get there. I’m on fumes getting there. I swear the adrenaline just rushed through me.

And I was, “Oh my gosh, how did I never think of that?” And I immediately get home. I go to Barnes and Noble to look at book shelves to see if there’s anything out there. There isn’t. I go to Amazon. At that time, there wasn’t. A few weeks later, [0:13:04] [Indiscernible] and do it, 2 o’clock in the morning, that’s when the title Soldier of Finance finally came to me.

John: Soldier of Finance.

Jeff: That trip amounted to nothing other than getting the book idea, which is now a book deal and the rest is history.

John: I think what’s really powerful about this is that sometimes, High Speed Nation, you just need to take advantage of opportunities when they arise. Because even if that opportunity becomes a dead end or just becomes a complete flop, you don’t know the people you’re going to meet, the relationships you’re going to form, the ideas that might come from that. And on a side note, Jeff, the things you mentioned a few times that I’ve definitely experienced as well.

I’m 34 years old now, but when I shave, I look 24 on a good day. And I was getting into fields like law. I went to law school, corporate finance, commercial real estate. I was wearing a suit every day. And I’ll tell you, a lot of those “industries” are old men industries, people who’d been doing it forever. It’s just a lot of people who are in their 50s, 60s, and even into their 70s. And I realize that as soon as I walk in and people just start to look down their nose at me, I always found a way.

And it wasn’t just like being bragging about it or being obnoxious about it but I just found a way. When people would be like, “Oh, so how do you find yourself into this job?” I just always find a way to kind of bring up the fact that I served our country as an officer, that I spent 13 months in the tour of duty in Iraq. And snap the fingers, these older overweight men who think that they just have all of this experience and all this stuff over me, all of a sudden, they were kind of forced to change their attitude and their mentality because now, they had to do a little mirror of their life and say, “Wow, this guy maybe a kid, he may look young but, I mean, he’s done stuff that I’d never had the gumption or the balls to do.”

Let’s just say it. And I love to use that to m advantage. We’ve earned that as veterans to, again, in a very professional and legitimate way, bring it up in a conversation and use it to our advantage. Because it’s something that we’ve earned. That’s just my call to High Speed Nation, to not shy away from using that. There’s just so many ways to go about it the wrong way. And there’s definitely a few ways to go about it the right way. And the right way is just let it come to you.

But then when the time just comes, make sure to bring it up in that really professional way. And, Jeff, let’s bring things to present time and talk about you, Jeff Rose, today. What’s the one thing that has you most fired up about your business?

dollars-+-roses-1Jeff: The thing that has me most excited and I’m going to flip the script on this totally because I’m talking about financial planning and Soldier of Finance and all this good stuff. But the thing that actually has me excited the most is that the success of my business has allowed me to pursue other things. And my wife and I are currently, we’ve had a blog, a joint blog together called Dollars and Roses. And it used to be a make money blogging blog.

We did that for three years. We just realized that wasn’t our thing. And we always get questions about — Because we’re married. We got three kids. And we’ve been through a lot together. And we just get questions like how do we get our marriage work? We get it all the time. So we were basically just doing a pivot on our Dollars and Roses and we’re turning it into a marriage design blog. And our passion now is helping couples just make their marriage more, to enjoy the little things, to make sure that you keep that spark there that it doesn’t get stale and end up in divorce.

And like I said, this has nothing to do with what we’ve been talking about. But then also, when I think about the things that excite me the most because I feel like this is us be able to give back on just the lot of the life experiences that we’ve had. So, sorry if I flipped the script on you.

John: There’s no flipping of the script there. That’s exactly what I asked and that’s exactly what you delivered. I just have to ask a side question though that doesn’t flip the script maybe as much as you think because, I mean, let’s be honest, we’ve all heard it, that one of the number one reasons that marriages do end in divorce is because people don’t have good financial senses because they don’t take care of their money properly and that just becomes a continuous harboring issue.

So I’m just assuming, and I’d like you to correct me if I’m wrong, but part of what you’re creating is probably having a good portion of financial savviness tied into it.

Jeff: Yeah, obviously. Dollars and Roses, I’m the dollar, she’s the roses. But to absolutely [0:17:30] [Indiscernible] plan it for ten years, I can’t throw that in. It’s a funny thing. Of the things that we fought about the most for the last ten years, like money, funny enough, has always been one of those hot buttons. We, obviously, want to address that on the podcast and the blog as well.

John: Totally. So, Jeff, welcome to the lightning rounds. This is where you get to share incredible resources and simply mind blowing answers. Does that sound like a plan?

Jeff: I’m ready to ignite again.

John: What is the most difficult adjustment that you had to make to the civilian world?

Jeff: Man, I think there was two things. Once again, it was adjusting back with my wife, just living together. Because when I left, we were sharing an apartment with three other dudes. We were totally living the college life. When I came back from Iraq, we had brought our house together. So, I came back to a new house. My dog had died while I was gone, so I had a new dog. And life to a woman that I haven’t slept in the same bed with, in 17 months. So that was just a huge transition getting back to the civilian world.

John: Jeff, what is the business advice that you would pass along to those who are currently making their transition now?

Jeff: I think right now, and I think you can attest to this as well, is don’t be afraid to fail. I think the worst, and I’m sure there’s amazing quote I can’t think of right now. But I’d rather fail trying than not trying at all. I butchered that quote so bad. But I think about, just like the blog, if I wouldn’t have tried that, if I would have thought, “Man, I don’t want a blog. I’m not going to do that.” There’s no way that I would have the success I’ve had here.

And I even shared on a previous blog post and a podcast where I talked about all the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve had several failures but I don’t call them failures. That’s like learning. Those were learning experiences. That was my tuition that paid the real word to learn. All right, that was a good idea. But I’ve realized this is what’s going to work and I’ve learned from that. I think that’s what people have to realize. Don’t be afraid to fail.

John: No, I adopt that exact same philosophy. That’s actually more the reason than people even understand as to why we publish our income reports. Because, yes, we lay out all the income we generated on Entrepreneur On Fire and the different revenue streams and the successes that we had so people can emulate those. But those posts are really even more so focused on the failures and mistakes that we’re making every single month so people can see, A, what’s not working, so maybe they can avoid that.

But, B, that even where we’re at right now in our business, it’s a multimillion dollar business, we are getting out there and pushing the envelope every single month and making sure that we’re trying new things to stay cutting edge. Because that’s so important.

And so, if I go a few days, Jeff, and I haven’t failed, I know that something is wrong. I know that I’m being a little bit of a pansy boy and I need to step up my ball game. So, Jeff, share one of your personal habits that you believe contributes to your success.

Jeff: Oh, I love that one. I think the one habit — And this is taken a couple of years to finally get done — I called my high five. And these are the five most important things that I need to accomplish the next day. I always write them out on a note pad each night before the next morning. So when I wake up, I know exactly the five things that I need to accomplish that day. And if I’m really doing good then I get them done before lunch.

And they’re there on my desk. I see them. And I just make sure that I’m focused. Because I know a lot of times that if I don’t do that, I wake up, I’m just kind of scattered brain. So I just want to make sure I’m focused and accomplishing what I need to get done, stay on point.

John: Jeff, what’s one of the biggest generalizations of being a vet that you’ve had to overcome in the civilian world?

Jeff: Man, I don’t know if I’ve had to. I’ve really overcome a lot of that. Can you give me example?

John: Well, maybe being from the Midwest just seems to be a lot more understanding of military, military friendly, but we kind of get out to the corneres of the US here. You have somebody that’s clean cut, crew cut, the kind that’s very — Not I would say abrupt but just very distinct with how they talk and very put together and it comes out that they’re military, just seems like people say. Yeah, like, “Of course, he’s successful because he’s military. I mean, he has to be disciplined.” That can kind of be a barrier put in place.

Jeff: I guess, the biggest generalization I’ve had to overcome is that I’m supposed to be a morning person. Because I’m in the military I’m supposed to be up like butt crack of drawn. No. I’ll wake up at 9 o’clock. I mean, that’s part of me.

John: People always say, “Oh, I’m so jealous. You must work out at 5:00 a.m. every morning because of the military.” I’m like, no, it’s because of the military that I cannot work out in the mornings anymore. That’s just like gave me nightmares for life. I mean, I’m never going to work out in the morning again. It’s going to be the sun will be setting when I’m doing my workout.

Jeff: Exactly.

John: So, Jeff, what book would you recommend to our listeners to go alongside Soldier of Finance?

Jeff: There’s so many good books. When I was on the other podcast, I shared —

John: With your other podcast, let’s just say.

Essentialism by Grerg McKeownJeff: I’m sorry, one of the others. But I think the one that I read recently that I really like is called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

John: I’m hearing a lot about that.

Jeff: And there’s something about that book because it really makes us appreciate the things — I think soldiers can appreciate this, right? When you’re in basic training or you’re deployed, you have four uniforms, couple pair of boot socks and you make it. You survive. You don’t need all this other crap a lot of people have nowadays. I think it just makes us appreciate that other things that were really most important to us. What were the things that we’re sacrificing to have?

And to me, I’m all about — I like nice things and there’s things I don’t. But what I like more is experiences. I want to travel with my kids. I want to see things. I want to experience new food and new people. To me, that’s what it’s all about.

John: Have you watched the show Tiny House?

Jeff: Not yet, no.

John: Check it out on Netflix. It’s about people who literally built 150 square foot houses and they live on them on wheels, so they’re not actually considered houses and they can get away with a bunch of stuff. But talk about really being minimalist. That’s some pretty fascinating things. It makes you open up your closet and be like, “Wow, there are people that live in my closet literally.”

And speaking of literally, Jeff, we have to end today literally on fire with you sharing one parting piece of guidance the best way that we can connect with you then we’ll say goodbye.

Jeff: My parting piece of guidance is for those of you that feel that maybe you don’t have the skills, that you don’t have the know-how, I mean, I guarantee you, just listen to John and I, we both were freaking clueless when we got started in our business.

John: And now we’re freaking rock stars.

Jeff: But there was so much learning along the way. But it’s taking that first step, not letting failure hit you. When I first started the financial adviser, my parents didn’t have any money. I didn’t inherit any money. Then my friends’ parents had money. The way that I had to find new clients was cold calling. Have you ever heard of cold calling?

John: Yeah.

Jeff: It’s miserable. I did that six hours a day getting hung up on. You talk about rejection. I was getting rejected every single day. But I had to tell myself that every single no was leading me one step closer to that next yes. And it’s something that I had to constantly tell myself or remind myself.

So anytime you get rejected, that’s just one no leading you to the next yes. If it takes 100 nos, who cares? Just keep going at it. So that’s my parting advice.

John: And best way we can connect with you.

Jeff: I think the main blog, my main home is The book, as you mentioned, Soldier of Finance, available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And if you have a spouse and you want to make that connection more, you can check out my wife and I,

John: Well, High Speed Nation, you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with and you have been hanging out with Jeff and myself today, so keep up the heat. And, Jeff, thank you for being so generous with your time, your expertise and experience. High Speed Nation salutes you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.

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