Gregory Ricks comes to financial planning with a deeply personal agenda. Thirty years ago, his father Bob lost his life in a tragic accident on the job. As a settlement for her loss, Ricks’ mother was offered three options: A substantial lump sum of cash, a lifetime of income or a combo. She took a combination of both, and Ricks feels that with proper planning that hefty lump sum portion could have provided his mother for a lifetime; instead, it was gone within a few years.
“Unfortunately, she didn’t understand the capability and potential of the money,” Ricks says, “Nor how long it would last.” The settlement, though received through tragedy, was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a solid financial base.
Ricks watched his mother become separated from the resources that should have provided for her into her golden years, a painful experience that shaped his approach to financial planning. For Ricks, the ultimate consideration is to protect one’s life’s work. “That story right there has a lot to do with how I look at money. That has a lot to do with why I do what I do and how I feel about it.”
Clients come to him with sums in the bank that represent years of hard work and frugal living. “And yet,” says Ricks, “All too often they seem ready to throw their hard won earnings into risk… put it all on red.” Risky business ventures, playing the stock market and excessive charitable giving are just a few of the pitfalls that snare the unwary.
“People don’t understand the unlikelihood of coming into that pile of cash again. A lifetime’s work only comes around once in a lifetime,” he said.
Gregory Ricks is the Founder and CEO of Gregory Ricks & Associates in Metairie, LA, and is Louisiana’s 401k and Retirement Authority. His firm gears its advice to making money last by showing people the warning signs that he knows from experience and preemptively guiding them away from danger. The firm deals in a lot of assets that are not correlated to the market and are alternatives to a volatile Wall Street.
“This is an educational process where you are trying to teach clients there are other avenues to protect and grow their money.”
Using the tactic of momentum, Ricks still uses the market but in a safer way. His firm is not day, week or month trading, but if the market is going up and showing an indicator that it is going to continue to climb, a “go ahead” signal is given. On the other side of the coin, if the market is going bad, the firm has an “exit” signal or a hard number that takes all emotion out of it. “If you are avoiding downside, you are making money and it also gives you upside capability at some point.” The strategies work well for clients still holding 401ks while working and those retired who want to maintain some risk.
The Ricks Family
Gregory was born and raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He went to the University of Southern Mississippi and was a cadet in the Army ROTC there for four years. Gregory enlisted in the United States Army National Guard in pursuit of his childhood dream of becoming a US Army helicopter pilot. His dreams were shattered when he was diagnosed with color blindness.
In 1984, he came to New Orleans to the World’s Fair and the search for entrepreneurial opportunities. He never left. He met and married his first wife and together raised their son David. He’s a Brother Martin Honors Grad ’98, a Texas A & M Grad ’03 and has a Ph.D. in Genetics from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. He currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but plans to move back closer to home in the near future.
Gregory and Stacey were married on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at The Balcony in Metairie, Louisiana. They reside in Metairie with Stacey’s triplets from her first marriage and their family maltipoo, Sandy. The Ricks’ and the triplet’s father are raising them jointly. The triplets attended St. Catherine of Siena in Metairie for ten years. They are currently attending three different Catholic Schools in New Orleans. Lance is at Brother Martin, Luke is at Jesuit and Emily is at Mount Carmel Academy. Life is good and all are happy with the paths they have chosen.