Martin G. Gaughan, Founder and CEO
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
People often ask me how I got into this business and what motivated me to start my own company. Well, as everyone knows, we are all products of our lived experiences. In my case, I had a few experiences that brought me to where I am today, and the path was not direct.
Growing up in the city, my dream was always to become a Chicago fireman. I grew up in a typical middle-class, Irish-Catholic family. Both my parents were "off the boat" from Ireland. My dad grew up in a small, coastal town in one of the most remote areas of Ireland. He was one of 14 children raised in a two bedroom, 800 square foot cottage. Money was scarce and formal education ended in the 7th grade. However, like many of his generation, what he lacked in education, he made up for with grit and intelligence. My parents didn't understand, and never invested in the stock market. But they did invest in real estate. At a young age, I became fascinated with investing—first in real estate, then stocks. My first investment, at the age of twenty, was a $2,500 downpayment on a rental property. That $2,500 investment would become the "seed money" that led to a lifelong passion for investing in both the real estate market, and stock market. It also taught me, early on, one of the most valuable lessons of investing - better to "get rich slowly", than chase the next "can't miss" investment. Still today, when I sit down with a client, I recommend investing a portion of their assets in investment real estate.
I didn’t quit my day job when I first ventured into the investment profession. In my early 30s, with a young family, I was working two jobs. One out of three days, I was fighting fires on Chicago's west side. The other two days, I worked for a large financial services firm. Being a Chicago firefighter AND financial advisor were unconventional dual careers to be sure, but for me, it couldn't get any better.
Although I learned a lot working for a large financial firm, I didn't like the "product driven" mindset in the industry. I felt there was too much focus on selling product, and not enough on financial planning and tax planning. It was then I realized I wanted to start my own business. I set out on a mission to learn all aspects of financial planning—not only investment management but risk management, retirement planning, tax and estate planning. I had no idea, 25 years later, what started out as a "side job" would become Gaughan Wealth Management, a team, whose entire focus would be holistic financial planning, strategic tax planning, and investment management.
While raising a family and working both careers, I earned an MBA from DePaul University and the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM designation from the American College of Financial Services. I remember graduation day well - I was the only graduate with 3 children, all under the age of 6. But, interestingly, it was my experience as a firefighter, not the degrees and designations, that would teach me the single most valuable lesson of financial planning - IN AN INSTANT, LIFE CAN CHANGE. It may not be our home burning to the ground but life will, inevitably, throw unforeseen events in our path: health issues, death, disability, divorce, legal liabilities, market crashes, etc. It became crystal clear to me, whether you have $1,000,0000 or $10,000,000, or anywhere in between, if an event happened and that event caused you to lose all or most of your money, it really doesn't matter how that money is "positioned". Without proper planning, the event could negatively impact, or worse, devastate your lifestyle. All of a sudden, year-to-date returns and asset allocation are put in perspective. I realized the most valuable service I could provide clients would be to help them build the guard rails to protect against these unforeseen life events.
Ironically, later, I experienced one of those life events, when an injury led to a surgery which led to the end of my firefighting career. Fortunately, I had the guard rails in place. I was able to pivot, and direct all my energy into building a business whose mission is to help people develop specific strategies to monetize and protect assets, minimize taxes, and transfer wealth.
On a personal note, I am a proud father to three adult children - Audrey, Megan and Danny. Both girls currently work in the financial services industry (with a little nudge from Dad) and Danny recently graduated law school. All three share my love of hiking and exploring our amazing national parks. I live an active, healthy lifestyle believing there is a positive intersection between health and wealth. After all, what good is one without the other....
Finally, as a retired Chicago fireman, I have a strong respect and affinity to those that serve - police, fire and military men and women. I'm a supporter of the Chicago Widow's and Children's Fund, the 100 Club of Chicago and the Tunnels To Towers Foundation. Please see the special section on our website for police, fire, and military retirees.
Education & Professional Designations:
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional (CFP)– The American College of Financial Services, Bryn Mawr, PA
Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) - The American College of Financial Services, Bryn Mawr, PA
Master of Business Administration, Entrepreneurship – DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Finance/Economics – Regis University, Denver, CO
Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®)
FINRA Series 6, 7, 63, and 65 securities registrations held through Commonwealth Financial Network®
Client Services Specialist
April joined Gaughan Wealth Management as the executive assistant in June 2016. April provides support for all aspects of GWM's business ensuring a positive experience for all of our clients.
April earned a BA from Lewis University and currently lives in Chicago with her husband, Nick, and their son, Nicky. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her family and friends.