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Military, Finance and Entrepreneurship with Erik Baskin

military entrepreneur Erik Baskin CFP

Erik Baskin thought he was making all of the right moves. He was recruited to play hockey at the United States Air Force Academy, graduated in 2018 with an Economics degree, and was commissioned into the Medical Service Corps.

But something just did not feel right. Something was missing.

After several thousand pages of entrepreneur and business books, many long hours studying for the Certified Financial Planner exam, and completing his Master’s of Business Administration, Erik decided to undertake a new adventure: He launched his own fee-only financial planning company, Baskin Financial Planning.

We chatted with Erik about chasing his dreams and how he became an entrepreneur following his military service.

What led you to financial planning?

Erik: “I just felt like I was always THAT guy. During my first few years in the Air Force I was always helping guys set-up their Roth IRAs, and you could find me sitting at my junior hockey games looking through e-trade. I found joy in helping people with their financial goals and it was something I was good at early on.”

Why do you recommend financial planning to military members and their families?

Erik: “I don’t know that everyone needs a financial planner. It depends on your life stage, people with kids, people with mortgages… it varies. Financial planning is for people who want an accountability partner with their money. I help people feel better and more confident about what they’re doing with their money.

The goal is to help people make responsible decisions. A CFP is someone who can be a third party, understand the complexity, and help you with your financial goals, but it’s not for everyone.”

What about the people who don’t need a CFP yet?

Erik: “Make sure you’re getting information from verified sources. There is so much information on the internet about financial planning, but some of it is an easy trap to fall into.

Through a podcast I’ve started recently and my various social media channels, I’m hoping to make financial advice easier to get ahold of and be able to provide better education to people who may not be able to afford a financial planner yet.”

What’s the first thing someone in the military should do with their money?

Erik: “In the early stages of someone’s career, I really emphasize the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and Roth IRAs. It depends on where you live as to what you can do with your money. If you live somewhere cheap, you can live on less money. You can dump money out and max out savings accounts. You could potentially set-up yourself for an early retirement. 

Just avoid the big mistakes. Avoid the super expensive car. Do you need a Camaro at a 12% interest rate? No you do not. Don’t fall for the payday loans. Don’t rack up credit card debt and don’t purchase whole life insurance.”

Where are you finding most of your clients?

Erik: “LinkedIn is super popular. Now that I have an Instagram and YouTube account, I’m also reaching a larger potential client base.

My goal is to not only find clients, but to also promote educational content that can help the average consumer.”

Advice to other military entrepreneurs hoping to start a business?

Erik: “Find something you’re passionate about. Find the intersection of what you’re good at and what comes natural to you. What’s a profitable business? Start that while on Active Duty. Just do it. You don’t have to ask permission. If it’s not interfering with your duties, then go for it.

If you plan on transitioning, you need to have a plan. I started 2.5 years before actually separating from AD. You have to know your cash flow and if it’s right for you.

If this is really for you, you need to think about investing in the business versus real estate versus bank accounts.

I love owning a business. I never want to work in a big firm. I love working with people and the satisfaction I get from helping them on a personal level.”

For more information, you can find Erik on LinkedIn, Instagram at baskinFP, or listen to his Podcast (specifically this recent episode with our very own Evan Kaufman!) here.

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