I go by many names. Online you can stalk me under KeithTax and similar imaginations. Thirty years ago I started an accounting practice—or more honestly, a tax preparation office—out of my home. Over the years I gathered more information than is normal for a human being.
My clients know I am a different kind of accountant. I do things differently, give different advice from the traditional accountant. It is all part of my mad plan to take over the world. Before I reveal my master plan, let me share more of who I really am.
I was born in the backwoods of Wisconsin many snowstorms ago to a family of farmers. The land and animals were always a part of my life. But the family farm was not my future. As I turned 18 the family farm was in bankruptcy and was gone well before I turned 19. My struggle to understand why things happened as they did shaped my opinions of finance.
The good news was that I saved almost every dime I made working on the farm growing up. Interest rates back them lived around 10% (yeah, those days did exist). I worked in my dad’s business fixing silo unloaders for a year and hated it with a passion. My dad was poor in those days so my paycheck was very small. To supplement my income I prepared tax returns for employees and some vendors. My dad also hated bookwork so the task fell to me, which is better than fixing an unloader. (My brother still works for the family business and loves it so the work is honest, just not what I wanted in life.)
Preparing tax returns part-time for a few months in spring paid better than working for dad. And once again, living out in the middle of nowhere, I spent very little. I diversified out of high-yield CDs into mutual funds. Back then I invested in MFS funds because I didn’t know better; now I use Vanguard index funds. You will hear more about that later.
By the time I was 22 I retired. Sounds insane, but it is true. I bought a home and a beater car and a Huffy bike. I spent my days reading, learning, hiking, biking and taking a few classes at the local college. I still prepared around 50 tax returns each spring. I love my clients so I did it.
A year later I met my wife, Sue. As I write this we are married 27 years. They have been great years. More religious in those days, we opted for a church wedding. The preacher knew I was not working so he asked if I would play janitor for the parochial school. I accepted. I loved the people and enjoyed the work, but I wanted more out of life. After one year I quit on good terms. It is the only job outside of family I ever worked. I guess if you get right down to it, I worked a year of my life and retired. Crazy? Right?
By this time I owned a home in town mostly paid off, had money invested and looked for something to do. I still prepared tax returns and decided to step up the pace. I went from 50 returns the first year to nearly 150 the next and into the low 400s the following year. Then I remodeled my basement and hired some staff.
Business was in my blood and so was farming. After a few years working out of the basement I bought an office building, sold my home in town and bought a 10 acre farm in the country. Steers and chickens soon followed and continue to this day. Animal husbandry is in my blood. So is gardening. Without too many details, let me say I have 19 gardens around my farm. ‘Nough said.
My tax business exploded in the new building. Many more clients and employees followed. At its peak we served over 2000 clients. A fair amount for the size office I had. I didn’t feel retired anymore. Work spilled outside tax season for me.
I reduced the size of my firm to around 700 clients. But now I was more than a tax firm; I was an accounting firm. We added bookkeeping, payroll, auditing and consulting. Not that we didn’t provide the services before, we did, but now we focused on it. Business clients outnumbered individual tax clients.
I haunt my office all year round, but outside tax season I take 4-5 day weekends and the couple days I show up I spend talking with clients.
Sometime in my early 30s I added up my assets, less liabilities. I was shocked when I crossed over that magical number. How the hell did I get a seven figure net worth? I asked myself. That is what this blog is about.
The “Why” of this blog is saved for the first post. Know this, I am a family man first and foremost. If you stop there you will understand who I really am. If you dig deeper you will discover I am interested in everything and love to share my discoveries. I love my wife and daughters more than life. My interests are wide. I spend time with my animals and land every day. I live to serve my clients and help them realize their dreams. Please join me. Allow me to use my experience to help you reach your dreams, too.
The Wealthy Accountant