Rosa Shilanski has never had trouble balancing work and family. When her husband, Floyd, started Shilanski and Associates in 1981, she went to work with him soon after, first as an office manager and then as a full partner.
When their three children started arriving, they came to work, too. The younger two learned to crawl around their parents’ desks, and they all picked up chores, such as taking out the trash and stuffing envelopes, as soon as they were old enough.
“When we were just starting out, it was pretty tough,” Shilanski admits. “But it created a great work ethic in them.”
In fact, two of the three never left. Micah, 26, and Jamie, 27, both work full time with their parents. Micah earned his Certified Financial Planner(R) designation at the age of 24 and has his own book of clients, and Jamie manages all of the firm’s client relationships while pursuing her own Series 7 license.
For the Shilanskis, making their business a family affair is a perfect reflection of the work they do with their clients. Many have been with the firm since the beginning, and Rosa and her team are already working with the second generation of those first families.
For young couples just starting out, she will sit down and help them structure their first budget and set up their first retirement accounts. As those young families grow, they build in education and estate planning. Shilanski has even made funeral arrangements for widows.
“Our philosophy is cradle to grave,” Shilanski says. “We are one of the oldest, truest financial planning firms in Anchorage, and we like to wrap our arms around our clients.”
Building long-term relationships has been a driving force behind the firm since its inception, and it was born of the Shilanskis’ bitter first taste of the investment industry. When Floyd left the Air Force and they moved to Anchorage in the late 1970s, they didn’t have much money, but trusted what they had to a financial advisor who ended up losing a big chuck of their savings.
They decided right then that they needed to educate themselves about financial planning and investing, and began talking with some of the other families who had lost money with the same advisor.
“That’s when we realized how many people needed real help with their finances, and we didn’t want what happened to us to happen to other people,” she says.
So when Floyd decided to get licensed and start his own firm, it was founded as a fee-based business. They were convinced that objective advice delivered with plenty of education was the only way to build sustainable wealth and to earn the trust and the confidence of the types of clients they wanted to work with.