Partners aim to show Millennials a secure future

By Paul Archipley | Mar 20, 2014
Photo by: Paul Archipley Lucas Jaramillo-Haas, left, and Jason Smarr, both seniors at Edmonds-Woodway High, have launched a financial management firm to help other young people begin planning their financial futures.

The typical member of the Millennial Generation – ie; teens and 20-somethings – isn’t particularly focused on financial or retirement planning.

Remember when you were indestructible?

But a pair of business partners who have opened a financial management company aim to change their minds.

This story’s hook? Those partners are Millennials themselves – seniors at Edmonds-Woodway High School.

Lucas Jaramillo-Haas and Jason Smarr have opened Haas-Smarr Financial Management. They are targeting young people, hoping to convince them that learning to budget and invest will be key to a comfortable future.

They have heard the horror stories. Social Security and Medicare might not be there for them. The country could be awash in debt. Everyone will be on his own.

Jaramillo and Smarr’s partnership began with a friendship in 9th grade band camp.

An eighth grade teacher had already sparked Jaramillo’s interest in investing, and when he and Smarr became friends they discovered a mutual interest in business and economics.

Observing their friends and others in their age group, they realized many young people weren’t thinking about budgets, investing or other financial issues.

Combining their interests in business with their built-in ability to communicate with people in their generation, Jaramillo and Smarr decided there’s an untapped market.

Both are taking online courses to become CPAs. They have been seeking advice from professionals on how to proceed.

Among them is Todd Warsaw, a financial advisor at Chase Bank in downtown Edmonds.

Impressed by their enthusiasm, Warsaw said they are atypical of the young people he generally meets.

“When I have an 18-year-old sitting in front of me, I ask have you thought about retirement,” Warsaw said. Few have.

Jaramillo and Smarr are among the few.

“They’re pretty eager,” Warsaw said. “But drive is half the battle.”

He warned them there are hurdles – education, certificate and license requirements, hard work.

“I let them know they’re climbing a hill, and it’s going to be a high hill,” he said.

But Jaramillo and Smarr seem up to the challenge.

College is in both their futures, but they insist they’ll continue to work together no matter where they each end up.

Jaramillo has been accepted at BYU’s Idaho campus where he plans to major in business management.

Smarr, a football and basketball star at Edmonds-Woodway, is waiting for offers before deciding where he’ll go.

One option is a college not far from where Jaramillo will be.

But naturally, being Millennials, they’re tech savvy and will be able to work together electronically even if they’re in different places.

“We plan on sticking together,” Jaramillo said.

Meanwhile, they’re absorbing as much as they can.

They’re talking with business owners, such as Smarr’s own father, who was with Allstate for 25 years.

“We want to get the business owner’s standpoint,” he said.

Since they still have licenses and certificates to earn, an LLC to form, and other hurdles to overcome, at this point they can only consult.

“We can’t take in as much revenue as we’ll be able to in the future,” Smarr said.

They’re trying to build relationships and trust among those who have expressed interest, particularly others in their age group.

They’re using social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to reach out and, of course, they have a built-in rapport.

But they said some adults have been receptive to advice, too.

“We’re helping them understand their retirement options,” Smarr said.

Overall, the partners want other young people to think beyond a job at Subway or Safeway and into a financially comfortable future.

“We want to leave something behind,” Smarr said. “We want to be people who make a difference.”

“We want to inspire others to think big,” Jaramillo agreed.

Just like the founders of Haas-Smarr Financial Management are doing – by example.

To learn more, they can be reached at 425-361-5923 or email at HaasSmarr.Investments@gmail.com

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