There was a time in John Strassman’s life when numbers meant everything.

More clients. A bigger office. Better returns.

Reasonable concerns for a man working as a financial advisor. If he was doing well, so were the people who trusted him with their money.

Then there was the day five years ago when he learned he had cancer. Confronted with his own mortality, Strassman’s personal and professional values began to shift. 

“You realize what’s really important in life, and it’s not the size of your bank account,” he said.

What became important to Strassman was using his financial knowledge to help people like him, people whose lives have been upended by sudden hardships or tragedies.

When someone experiences a traumatic event — the death of a loved one, a complicated divorce, sudden illness — they often face a series of difficult financial decisions in its wake. Strassman’s decades of experience as a financial advisor and investment professional gave him the ability to navigate those decisions successfully, but he realized that most people aren’t so lucky.

“They're at a moment in their life where they can’t process, can’t think clearly. Their world’s been turned upside down,” he said. “I’m that personal financial advocate to tell them to slow down, let’s think this through.”

After working for major players in the financial planning industry for over 30 years, Strassman started his own independent practice, Strassman & Associates Wealth Management, in 2007. At his office on SW Colorado Ave., Strassman often meets with clients who look to him as a confident financial resource during some of the toughest times of their lives. 

He acts as their Personal Financial Advocate, untangling the web of confusing financial pathways that can cause people in vulnerable situations to make decisions they eventually regret. That role manifests itself in a variety of ways, but it always starts with a simple conversation.

“This is the time people need a financial sounding board, someone to talk to,” Strassman said. “My job is to talk people off the ledge so they don't make irrational decisions at the worst time in their life.”

Once he understands a client’s unique situation and what’s most important to them, Strassman guides them through the necessary steps to achieve financial freedom. In the case of a death in the family, that might mean coordinating a meeting with the family’s lawyer and accountant to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

“I just love being a personal financial advocate and helping people answer the question, 'Will I be okay?'" Strassman said.

That desire to help alleviate financial stress is Strassman’s biggest professional motivator these days, a big change from his previous, numbers-driven mindset — “More clients. Bigger, better, badder,” as he described it.

“Now I’m all about providing a sense of financial freedom, which gives me purpose,” he said.

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Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Financial Planning and Investment advice offered through Financial Advocates Investment Management, a registered investment advisor. Financial Advocates Investment Management and Strassman & Associates Wealth Management are separate entities from LPL Financial.