Ben started his own financial planning firm, Bona Fide Finance, in 2015 after realizing the conventional business model of financial services was ripe with conflicts of interest. While also studying to become a Certified Financial Planner, it became apparent that individual tax work was indispensable to holistic advising, so Ben became an Enrolled Agent in 2016 and worked with a mid-size accounting firm for several years to gain experience on tax matters. After assisting a few dozen clients who needed significant assistance in student loans, Ben acquired the Certified Student Loan Professional (CSLP®) designation in 2019 to hone further his skill set on this subject, making him one of a few professionals in the country who’s knowledgeable in personal finance, individual taxation and student loans.
Ben works hard, but he also relishes in the fruit of his labor. In addition to his studies pertaining to finance and philosophy, he likes to garden, hike, make home improvements and woodwork. He and his wife live in Bismarck, ND, are involved in their local Catholic parish and have two darling daughters, Edith and Virginia. Ben relaxes by grilling, smoking a pipe, canoeing the Missouri River and sailing Lake Sakakawea!
The fourth of nine children, Ben grew up in rural Indiana. Early in life, he felt strongly moved to serve others and thus attended seminary, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and classical languages. Having once considered an academic career, he continued his philosophy studies and obtained a master’s degree. Upon realizing the challenges with the job market in academia, he sought other career paths, some of which included construction and truck driving–in fact, Ben and his wife Deb spent the first few years of their marriage as team over-the-road truck drivers, logging over 600,000 miles in the “lower 48,” visiting every metropolitan area and traveling over 90% of the Interstate in the US!—before deciding that financial planning should be the focus of his talents and career efforts.