michael j. harr, mba
the best way to reach me is via email at michael.harr@todayforward.com

contact information

Michael J. Harr, MBA
(859) 409-3096
michael.harr@todayforward.com 

personal information

Year of Birth: 1975
Place of Birth: Covington, KY
Citizenship: United States
Family Status:  Married with two sons

education

Master of Business Administration
Thomas More College
August 2013
[Curriculum]

Bachelor of Business Administration - Finance Concentration, Minor in Economics
Thomas More College
December 2010
[Curriculum]

employment history

Co-Founder and Executive Officer
TodayForward, 2008 to present

Presently, I work closely with clients to develop better financial habits - chief among them, budgeting. Through better planning and management of income and spending, clients are able to grow free cash flow to payoff debt, establish an emergency fund, increase retirement savings, and enjoy more of what life has to offer. This process is made easy through annual cash flow forecasting on Google Sheets - allowing for increased collaboration and quick response time when questions arise. Learn more at TodayForward.

Ski Instructor - Alpine Sports
Perfect North Slopes, 2013 to present

Taking a flyer on becoming an instructor after having my family in lessons the prior season, it turned out to be a great side job during the winter months.  Working alongside many long-time instructors who are passionate about the teaching process and perfecting their craft, it was an excellent growth opportunity, both as a skier and an instructor.  Perfect North Slopes is primarily geared to teach beginners, but I also taught intermediate and advanced lessons in small groups and one-on-one private sessions.

Comprehensive Financial Planner - Local Practice
Cambridge Investment Research, 2007 to 2009

After leaving Fifth Third Securities, I started anew in building a locally based comprehensive financial planning practice centered on my natural market - middle income families in their twenties and thirties living in the tri-state area.  Through this process I was brought into a fledgling project by some colleagues to build personal finance software.  Once the initial product was complete, a conflict of interest arose and I had to choose which direction to go - web startup or continue building my practice.  Weighing the options, I elected to pursue the startup.

Investment Executive
Fifth Third Securities, 2006 to 2007

Upon being hired by Fifth Third Securities, a division of Fifth Third Bancorp, I was assigned four branches - three of which were bank marts located inside of Kroger stores.  My task was to meet investment sales goals using a team sales approach with branch managers, personal bankers, and customer service representatives working at the branches assigned.  During this time, I was able to re-establish myself locally and formed a number of strong relationships.

Comprehensive Financial Planner - National Practice
Lincoln Financial Advisors and Cambridge Investment Research, 2000 to 2006

Leaving Provident Bank to create a financial planning practice, I started out with a handful of clients based in the Cincinnati area and expanded rapidly through referrals to new clients working primarily in the pharmaceuticals industry.  The focus of my practice was in helping clients aged 30 to 45 with exit strategies from incentive and non-qualified employee stock options including tax planning for the alternative minimum tax.  This was accomplished through the use of comprehensive financial planning techniques that identified present value capital requirements for various accumulation goals as well as risk mitigation strategies for traditional risks as well as those posed by concentrated stock positions.  Eventually, the demands of travel became too much, and I decided to move toward a local business model.

Personal Banker
Provident Bank, 1999 to 2000

Formerly the second largest bank in the Cincinnati metro area and a Lindner family company, Provident Bank was a great next step in my career that was tracking toward comprehensive financial planning.  As a relatively progressive bank, Provident offered its customers a full suite of financial services products that spanned banking, investing, and insurance.  Here I obtained life, health, and variable insurance licenses and began to work with clients on a full service, face-to-face basis.  With a great manager and co-workers, our branch was among the best in the company and this led to a number of awards bestowed on our team.

Brokerage Services Representative
Fidelity Investments, 1998 to 1999

During the tech bubble, online trading had created substantial growth opportunity for Fidelity's brokerage segment and allowed for a slew of new hiring.  As a brokerage services representative, I obtained NASD (now FINRA) Series 7 and 63 licenses and received a number of awards for distinguished service.  The job was to answer customer inquiries and place trades as needed which was made a simple task with some early Wikipedia-type information technology that Fidelity had developed for its representatives.  Considering the times, Fidelity was well ahead of the curve and unsurprisingly, this led to robust growth for the company while winning several customer service awards along the way.

Bankruptcy Prevention Specialist
Citibank, 1997 to 1998

I started out as a front-end collector before being assigned to bankruptcy prevention - a segment of Citibank's collections group that worked with high risk customers with credit lines of between $10,000 and $100,000.  Frequently, these customers were professionals that had suffered a major income disruption and were past due either with Citibank or with other creditors.  The objective was to maintain a positive relationship while pursuing repayment by (1) maintaining priority payment status over other creditors, (2) working out longer term payment arrangements, (3) assisting customers with creating a full payoff plan using their various resources, or (4) settling the account for a fraction of the balance.

professional qualifications

Series 7, 24, 63, and 66 Licenses
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
1999 to 2009
[Learn More]

Life, Health, and Variable Insurance Agent Licenses
Kentucky Department of Insurance
1999 to 2009
[Learn More]

Accredited Asset Management Specialist
College for Financial Planning
September 2000
[Learn More]

contributions

CityLink Center
Volunteer Team Lead, GED Program
April 2013 to Present
CityLink Center uses a holistic approach that leverages the strengths of various social service agencies in Cincinnati to help clients break free from poverty and get to a place of self-sustainability and hope.
[Learn More]

Junior Achievement - Ockerman Elementary School
Teaching
Spring 2013, 2014
Volunteer-delivered, kindergarten-12th grade programs foster work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, and use experiential learning to inspire students to dream big and reach their potential.
[Learn More]

Kiva.org
Lender
May 2006 to Present
A non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.  Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.
[Learn More]

awards

Semi-Finalist and DemoPit Company
TechCrunch 50
September 2009
[Learn More]

$100,000 Kentucky Enterprise Fund
Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation
August 2009
[Learn More]

$25,000 Kentucky Rural Innovation Fund Grant
Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation
August 2008
[Learn More]

publications and books

CiN Weekly
Personal Finance Columnist
2008 to 2009 - folded into national publication, Metromix

professional memberships

American Economic Association
The purposes of the Association are:  (1) The encouragement of economic research, especially the historical and statistical study of the actual conditions of industrial life; (2) The issue of publications on economic subjects; (3) The encouragement of perfect freedom of economic discussion.  The Association as such will take no partisan attitude, nor will it commit its members to any position on practical economic questions.  [Learn More]

Financial Planning Association
The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) is a leadership and advocacy organization connecting those who provide, support and benefit from professional financial planning.  FPA is the Heart of Financial Planning™ and represents a promise of financial well-being, hoping to create a world where everyone thrives and prospers.  [Learn More]

Professional Ski Instructors of America
A nonprofit education association dedicated to promoting the sports of skiing and snowboarding through instruction.  With more than 31,500 members, PSIA-AASI establishes certification standards for snowsports instructors and develops education materials to be used as the core components of instructor training.  [Learn More]

books read

  • 10-Minute Declutter
  • The 4-hour Workweek
  • All Marketers are Liars
  • The Art of the Start
  • The Automatic Millionaire
  • The Behavior Gap
  • Blue Ocean Strategy
  • Change Anything
  • Content Rules
  • The Dip
  • Eat That Frog!
  • Economics in One Lesson
  • The Four Agreements
  • The Four Pillars of Investing
  • Free:  The Future of a Radical Price
  • Free Marketing
  • Fruguillionaire
  • Good to Great
  • Grouped
  • The Icarus Deception
  • In Fed We Trust
  • Influencer
  • The Happiness Advantage
  • The Laws of Money, The Lessons of Life
  • The Lean Startup
  • The Little Book of Common Sense Investing
  • The Millionaire Next Door
  • Miss Minimalist
  • No Excuses!
  • The Personal MBA
  • Platform
  • Poke the Box
  • The Power of Focus
  • The Power of Habit
  • A Primer on Money, Banking, and Gold
  • Purple Cow
  • A Random Walk Down Wall Street
  • The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008
  • Rework
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • The Richest Man in Babylon
  • Screw It, Let's Do It
  • Seven Habits of Highly Successful People
  • Simplify
  • Smart Couples Finish Rich
  • Start Late, Finish Rich
  • Talent Is Overrated
  • Think and Grow Rich
  • The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur
  • The Total Money Makeover
  • Tribes
  • True North
  • Walden
  • What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast
  • Word of Mouth Marketing