Career Path - David Oransky, CPA/PFS

David Oransky, CPA/PFS
Looking back it is easy to connect the dots, but my original intention was not to be a financial planner. The summer after graduating from Santa Clara University I passed all four parts of the CPA exam and then immediately began working in the audit division at Deloitte. Aspiring to one day be a partner at the firm or eventually becoming a CEO or CFO of a large public company, I focused my time and energy on the corporate side of finance.

Around the same time my mother died from ovarian cancer, and I was suddenly thrown into a world filled with important life and money decisions that my education and experience had not prepared me for. As I worked with investment advisors, tax advisors, and attorneys to settle my mother’s estate I was faced with complex financial decisions intertwined with important emotional contexts. Having always been intellectually curious, I began learning everything I could about proper financial planning, investments, and estate planning. Given the circumstances, I naturally also began to reflect on my own life, exploring what was really important to me and envisioning the life I wanted to live.

Once everything was settled, I realized that my calling was not in the world of audit or corporate finance, but rather personal financial planning. Against the advice of almost everyone I spoke with, I left Deloitte and joined Vista Wealth Management, a small but prominent firm in Silicon Valley started by a fellow CPA. Excited about my new career and determined to disprove those who thought I was foolish for leaving my big-four career, I immersed myself in the world of personal finance. I read constantly, studied diligently to get my PFS and CFP credentials, and eagerly sought out opportunities to get in front of clients and prospects. After being there for only two years I had worked my way up from an associate-level position to a manager-level position.

In 2013, a year after marrying my college sweetheart, we decided to move from California to the Midwest to be closer to family—a decision that was the direct result of contemplating our own values and financial life plan. As part of that plan I resolved to launch a solo-practice that would be an extension of my own values, striving to deliver the intellectual rigor of Wall Street and the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley, but with Midwestern values. I named the firm Laminar Wealth; laminar being a physics term that means streamlined.

I’m now two years into running my own practice and am primarily working with younger clients who have come into money suddenly through an IPO or inheritance. I still have some growing to do, but am pleased with my progress thus far and love the flexibility and independence of running my own practice. I consider myself very lucky to have found a profession I am so passionate about and that provides the work-life integration to live my own life plan while helping clients do the same.