In 1982 Ronald Reagan was President, Survivor rolled out their hit single "Eye of the Tiger", E.T. was a box office sensation, M*A*S*H and Magnum P.I. dominated evening television, and the US economy was in a severe recession.
I was launching American Pension Services, Inc.®
When I revisit that time in my life I can remember the simultaneous feelings of optimism and fear that inspired my success. At the time I had a young family and like other emerging business owners, I spent the majority of 1982-1984 suiting up 7am – 9pm while moonlighting in construction. I needed to support my company but mainly I could not fail my growing family.
I was compelled to work each day by the belief that Genuine Self-Direction® is nothing if not genuine self-interest, and I knew I could sell self-interest. I trusted the nature of Genuine Self-Direction because I understood investors had the capacity to create tremendous wealth investing their retirement in what they knew. The idea of genuine self-direction was, and still is, a liberal approach to retirement plan administration – allow account owners the freedom to buy and sell assets according to their own investment savvy. Yet my freedom loving nature recognized the inherent value.
I knew myself to be incapable of selling investment products I didn't believe in. Genuine Self-Direction however, was an investment tool for freedom seeking entrepreneurs like myself. I can still remember the sweet victory of the first billing completed on my Olympia typewriter. After one full year in business there was money to pay myself a small but essential sum. This paycheck represented a future void of moonlighting and more time for my family.
Our first custodian was Utah C.V. Federal Credit Union. Business grew quickly and within one year we had clients throughout the country. Our 1983 brochure boasted, "With our phenomenal growth, we are now serving clients in nearly every state of the Union…."
In 1983 we purchased an IBM XT, a Dot Matrix printer, and a basic accounting software package for a burdensome $10,000. Shortly thereafter we hired a programmer who created the custom administration program that we use today. One early brochure lauded “On line computer maintenance of accounts.” Having gained tremendous exposure to programmers over the last 30 years I cannot reflect on our "online computer maintenance" endeavor without a sense of awe. At the time, my naive 20 something mind did not recognize how lucky we were to find not a programmer, but a gifted programmer willing to work on the meager pay we could afford.
In the early 80’s people had little money in retirement plans if they had a retirement plan at all. IRAs and 401(k)s were not yet a source of substantial wealth. Few people had 401(k)s to rollover and IRAs were generally startup, contribution accounts. In the 90's we established another custodial relationship and began working with our current custodian, First Utah Bank.
My marketing was a "where the rubber meets the road" type concept. I was pedaling the idea of genuine self-direction door to door to penny stock houses and financial advisors. My radio advertising would reach one or two entrepreneurs but the general public had not yet caught the vision.
Things have changed. While I can still elicit a reaction with a statement like, "You can buy real estate in your IRA or 401(k)," over the last 30 years the idea of self-direction has spread. People are taking personal responsibility for their own retirement and justifiably perceive the opportunity to invest in what they know as a way to do that. Our early tagline "The benefits of an IRA are obvious; the advantages of a self-directed IRA are unlimited." has only become more potent.
When I look back I revel at the pioneering spirit of it all. I am inspired by the freedom APS® has provided our maverick-like clientele over the last 30 years. I am tremendously grateful to our first clients and those clients who like me nurture their freedom loving spirit and use their self-directed plans to create wealth.
I would personally like to invite you to join in the celebration of this seminal event in our history. I hope that you will visit americanpension.com often and take advantage of the many online tools that will be made available throughout our 30-year celebration. I also hope that you will share the message of the freedom afforded genuine self-direction with friends and family: that they too might enjoy the opportunity to accumulate wealth within the tax-protected environment of their IRAs and 401(k)s investing in what they know.
There are tremendous investment opportunities in this economy. I urge you to educate yourself about the investment flexibility available in your self-directed plan. To learn more about upcoming educational events please visit the Seminars & Events page at americanpension.com or contact my office. It has been our pleasure to serve, and to continue to serve you and your families.
Wishing you all the best,
Curtis L. DeYoung
Founder, President, CEO