Carnegie Mellon University

Image of Joseph Armah

August 02, 2019

Navigating Your Financial Road Map

By Deborah Taylor

Joseph Armah (TPR 2007), president and CEO of Armah Group LLC, is committed to providing his clients with personalized financial planning that produces financial security. We talked to him to learn more about his career path and focus.

What prompted you to change careers in 2018 from hedge funds and financial services to financial planning and investing?

I wanted to create a legacy of improving and directly impacting individuals’ lives. My plan was always to give back, but I had recently experienced life changes that made it an opportune time to embark on the journey.

I lost an aunt who was living in the U.S. and had been a constant advocate of giving back; she passed on without fully realizing some of her goals. In addition, her terminal illness led her to liquidate her assets to finance her healthcare. I realized that financial planning was more pertinent than I had previously thought.

I felt working with individuals and small business owners on financial planning and investing would allow me to hear their stories, aspirations and goals and to relate to the inner person. One of my clients describes the experience of working with me as “financial therapy.”

In 2018, I decided if not now, then when? I took the plunge.

Why is the topic of financial planning and investing for individuals and small businesses important to you?

Comprehensive financial planning and investing are integral to fulfilling one’s goals, interests and aspirations. They provide for the optimal balancing of time, efforts and resources.

Helping individuals and small businesses in communities that traditionally have not been exposed to planning could prevent bankruptcies or unnecessary struggles down the road.

In helping others, I am also achieving my goals, which include creating a legacy of directly impacting others’ lives, building a business and achieving the appropriate balance between efforts and resources.

Your life experiences drove you to help bring others financial freedom. What were those life experiences?

Growing up abroad, I witnessed loved ones lose all their hard-earned wealth through inadequate financial planning or illness. Family members, immediate and extended, always provided a safety net to ensure that those who lost their wealth would at least have food on the table. There weren’t many advanced mechanisms for planning or saving for the future.

I had always wondered what could be done if the safety net was not adequate. Seeing my aunt’s situation rekindled my interest in understanding what could be done.

What is the one piece of financial planning advice you wish you had received ― or wish you had followed ― when you were younger?

Fully understanding and appreciating what Albert Einstein once called the “Eighth Wonder of the World”: compound interest.

What is the biggest mistake you see people make when it comes to their financial planning?

Not planning comprehensively. At the very least, you need a blueprint to get to the appropriate destination.

What advice would you offer to new CMU alumni to help them become financially free and secure?

New alumni should start out with a plan and treat it as a living document, updating it according to life changes. They should also leverage the power of compounding while taking care of the basics.

Comprehensive financial planning can provide numerous benefits, including allowing you to live your dreams during the “go-go,” “slow-go,” and “no-go” years.