Micki Pitch runs a two-generation practice in Cedar Knolls, New Jersey, with her eldest son, Joe. They specialize in serving the investment and retirement needs of single women and, more recently, those with family members who have special needs.
Her first year in business, a quarter century ago, she earned $6,000. Pitch Financial Services now has $50 million of assets under management, and Micki’s original clients are still with her, as are many of their extended family members. “We go to their weddings, their bar mitzvahs, their christenings. It is almost like a big family tree,” Pitch says.
An important constituency among the clients is women in the workforce. Pitch now helps other women become financially independent, pointing to the needs of single women who are doing well in their careers. “I help single women manage their money so they are a little more growth-oriented in their investments rather than just in very safe investments” she says. “Generally, they don’t know what to do so they keep everything in the fixed portion of their 401(k), the stable account.”
She laments this loss of investment returns for retirement planning. One such woman who had played it too safe in a 403(b) plan, a teacher, “came to us a few months ago, ready to retire, and it was very sad,” she says, “she lost all the wonderful years of real [portfolio] growth.”
Pitch knows something about opportunity. As her business grew, all by referrals, she recruited her son, an ex-Marine who became a CFP in 2004. Joe joined his mother’s booming business 13.5 years ago. “She dragged me out of the industry [gemology] I was in,” Joe Pitch recalls.
The main thrust of the business is accumulation for retirement–then distribution, the elder son says. “We are not a big fan of annuities. Clients come to us with annuities sold to them by another planner. It may not be the most appropriate thing for them. We don’t want clients incurring any extra charges on an already costly product,” he says.