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Financial Planner Specializes in Self-directed Retirement Accounts

Podcast Interview with Dmitriy Fomichenko

Dmitriy Fomichenko is the founder and president of Sense Financial Services LLC, a boutique financial firm specializing in self-directed retirement accounts with checkbook control. He began his career in financial planning and real estate investing in 2000. He owns multiple investment properties in various states and is a licensed California Real Estate Broker. Over the years, he has taught hundreds of investment and financial planning seminars and has mentored thousands of investors.

  • CEO Hack: Book – Business By The Book by Larry Burkett
  • CEO Nugget: Let go and learn to delegate
  • CEO Defined: Servant leader to the clients and the team




Intro 0:02
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you’ve come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you’re in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:30
Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today as Dmitriy Fomichenko of sense financial services. Dimitri, it's awesome to have you on the show,

Dmitriy Fomichenko 0:41
Gresham Thanks for having me, it's a pleasure to be sure,

Gresham Harkless 0:45
The pleasure is definitely all mine. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Dimitri so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Dimitri is the founder and president of Sense Financial Services LLC, a boutique financial firm specializing in self-directed retirement accounts with checkbook control. He began his career in financial planning and real estate investing in 2000. He owns multiple investment properties in various states and is a licensed California Real Estate Broker. Over the years, he has taught hundreds of investment and financial planning seminars and has mentored thousands of investors. Dimitri, are you ready to speak to the iamceo community?

Dmitriy Fomichenko 1:23
No? Sure indeed.

Gresham Harkless 1:25
Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit here a little bit more on what led you to get started? Could you take us through what I call your CEO story? When did you get started with your business?

Dmitriy Fomichenko 1:35
Yeah, so basically, I had the Intrapreneurial spirit from I think childhood when I was I think about thirteen years old, I actually stopped selling ice cream. And vacation was her who stopped at the train station, we had a major stab there, and did a few other things after that. And so I moved into this country, as you can hear from my accent, I'm not from here. I originally, I'm from Russia, moved here in 1996. My background is in electromechanical engineering, I did that for when I moved here, I translate my read and work for several years until I got laid off and actually was forced to do something else. And I started in financial services and real estate investing. And then I moved, I got a full-time job for Canada local real estate investment forum in Orange County here. And because of my background and experience, I was given a task to start the department within a company doing self-directed retirement accounts. And the reason because none of the companies, the custodians that we work with actually worked out. So my past experience really worked out, I guess I wasn't the right time at the right place. So I started this as a department and about a year later, I ventured out on my own

Gresham Harkless 2:54
nice, absolutely love that. And I love the selling ice cream from the very beginnings of what you're doing. Now. It's so funny when sometimes you rewind the clock and look back in life, and you see some of those traits and see how exactly you are where you are because you kind of pursued exactly what kind of spoke to you and was some degree kind of your destiny?

Dmitriy Fomichenko 3:13
Oh, well, you know, just maybe another thing to mention just for the benefit of the communities, or somebody who's looking to become an entrepreneur, or get started in a business, in the financial services industry, to balance that was a struggle in experience for what my wife and I started together, we were in the business together. And we struggled for several years. But looking back at that experience, I can say that that was very valuable experience, even though he struggled financially. That was a very valuable experience that really helped me catapult this business stands and fall into where we are right now.

Gresham Harkless 3:56
Yeah, that's absolutely huge. I appreciate you for adding that on. Because I think so many times, especially around entrepreneurship and business, you get kind of like the glamorized version of Business and Entrepreneurship music you see people's I won't say necessarily always their finish line, but you don't kind of skip past that difficult part. But I think running a business and of course, every aspect of being an entrepreneur, there's ups and downs. And I think there's not enough that's being said about kind of the struggles and those struggles do make you stronger so that you're able to be successful, but you don't as much hear about sometimes the the challenges that come with being and running a business.

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Dmitriy Fomichenko 4:32
Yeah, indeed.

Gresham Harkless 4:34
Awesome. So I know I touched on it when i when i read your bio, and you did as well too. And how you got started? Could you take us through exactly what since financial Financial Services is and how exactly you serve the clients you work with?

Dmitriy Fomichenko 4:44
Yeah, so what we do is kind of a niche. And most people are not even familiar with that. Some people probably forgot about self-directed IRA, an IRA that allows investments in alternative assets, not not like a, you know, fidelity or Schwab or Merrill. range, but you can only invest in stocks and mutual funds, which to be honest with you, you and I, and most of our listeners don't have the control over the stock market. You know, we've seen what happened, just the beginning of the year, a few short, I have a small portfolio in the stock market and it dropped 30%. I've seen in the last down to about 2007 2008, I talked to people who lost half of their portfolio that were invested in the stock market. So people are concerned about they looking for alternative investments, but you cannot invest in a geologist with just a traditional retirement account. So you need a self-directed. Now what we do is we set up self-directed retirement accounts, but our focus is a checkbook control. And the main saros that we offer is a solo 401k truly self-directed solo 401k is a retirement plan designed for most people who are self-employed or owners of business without full-time employees. Now, I'm just going to show you a few major benefits and it's going to blow you away. Number one, average contribution limits can put into an IRA, which allows you to put $6,000 a year into that retirement account. Solo 401k allows you to put up to $57,000 a year, so nearly 10 times more. So if you're a husband and wife business, you can potentially shelter over $100,000 of your income from taxes. But think about the bottom line that it's going to do on your on your taxes, how much taxes you're going to save. So that is a huge tax shelter. Obviously, you have to have a successful business and make money to take advantage of that. So that's one another one is that it gives you a limited investment potential. So you can use this vehicle to invest in virtually anything you can invest in. Many of my clients are real estate investors, so they invest in real estate, whether it's just a single-family rental, or a large piece of large multifamily syndication, or self-storage facility, and so forth. You can also invest in precious metals, you can invest in cryptocurrency, and so far, and so on, the list goes on. So there's only a couple of things that you cannot do. IRS describes that other than that you can invest in virtually anything. And and last I'm going to mention is that are actually two I'm going to mention his ability to make Roth contributions, you can contribute up to $26,000, interrupts, Rod sub-account, which is post-tax contributions that allow your money to grow tax-free. And then the next one is the ability to actually borrow from your retirement account up to $50,000. So you're actually creating your own bank that you can access to at any time. So it's what a powerful vehicle.

Gresham Harkless 7:49
Yeah, absolutely. And I appreciate you for bringing it down all those kinds of benefits, especially because I, I'm big believer, and I'm sure most people that are listening to is how knowledge is power. And knowledge is power, and to be able to understand and know about these different avenues and the ways in which you can make sure that you make your money, build that successful business, but also keep that money in legal ways is definitely a great way. And in order to do that, so I appreciate you for kind of focusing on that and then providing that information to us as well. So I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for yourself personally or your business. But what do you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique?

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Dmitriy Fomichenko 8:26
Well, I think what sets us apart, and basically, I kind of learned that it was a lifetime learned. For me actually being a client of other businesses, other people, what I'm looking for is I want to be treated well. I want to have excellent service. So I created a culture in our company that we want to provide the best possible client experience. And that's what sets us apart from the competition. You know, from the very beginning, we treat our clients with respect, we and we basically want to exceed their expectations. And obviously, they're not perfect. No one is. And we do make mistakes occasionally. But we learn from them. Just like I learned from my experience in the business, we always trying to or looking for ways to improve our business model. And that's, I think, what separates us from the competition. And that's the advice I can give to any business owner and you see see your you know, focus on on your clients.

Gresham Harkless 9:27
I absolutely love that secret sauce. And so I want to just switch gears a little bit. And I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Dmitriy Fomichenko 9:40
That's you're talking about the book that helped me?

Gresham Harkless 9:43
anything a book, it could be a book or habit or even an app or something or software that you used.

Dmitriy Fomichenko 9:48
well you know, the book comes to mind. I think it was really instrumental for me initially when I started the business and I remember going with my wife on vacation to Caribbean taken that book with me, it was just probably in the first year of the business. And it's called business by the book by Larry Bearcat. And it was a phenomenal book learn so much there, some of the concepts already were aware of it was just a great reinforcement. But basically, it is based on the Bible and all the principles that they are. I mean, Bible has so much wisdom, for life in general. And for business in particular, and also for financial planning or retirement planning. I use a lot of Proverbs in just how we operate our business and how we help our clients. But there is so much wisdom there, and that that book summarizes it, and it was a great resource for me,

Gresham Harkless 10:46
I love that. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice and might be something you would tell a client or if you would happen to a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Dmitriy Fomichenko 10:59
Well, you know, since again, this is your job, focused on the CEOs not so much on the clients, I think I have a nugget that you can share to to the leaders to the C to the CEO community. And that will be learn to delegate. That was somewhat difficult for me because I like to be in control. I am a perfectionist, I like things to be done well. But you need to learn to let go, you need to learn to delegate because there are so many hours in the day. And you can only do so much. So you do want to let go and delegate some of the task and that that's how you can be successful. Because you can actually find people can do better than you. And you can still kind of oversee things and be the leader that you want to be but learn to delegate. So that's very important that when I finally was able to do that, that also made a significant impact on our business.

Gresham Harkless 12:00
Absolutely love that nugget. And so now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is a definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote-unquote, CEOs on this show. So Dimitri, what is being a CEO mean to you?

Dmitriy Fomichenko 12:12
Well, your means for me, it's being a servant leader, you know, I want to serve our clients, and I want to show our team, I want to make sure that our team is comfortable. You know, for me, it's a family, my team has is my extended family. And if you're a CEO, you want to treat your, your work team, as a family as well as your clients as an extended family. So that's, that's an idea that I can share.

Gresham Harkless 12:40
Nice. I absolutely love that. And I think that a lot of times when you drill down into why we do what we do, it's really to be of service. And I think when we remind ourselves of that, whether we're serving clients, or obviously serving our teams and making sure that they're in the best place they can be to be successful, that's when you truly reach another level. That's really truly when you're a quote-unquote, CEO, entrepreneur and business owner really making a phenomenal impact. So truly appreciate that definition, Dimitri, and I appreciate it.

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Dmitriy Fomichenko 13:08
I know just to maybe expand on that a little bit. When you do when you do that. The result is you're gonna reap the results, you know, but your focus should be not, you know, your own well being, but the well being of others, and it's going to be inevitable that you're going to reap the rewards as a result of this.

Gresham Harkless 13:29
Yeah, absolutely. And I think the quote is, if you help enough people get what they want, then you get what you want to and I think when you have that servant mentality and you really are serving, you really are helping people be successful, it creates that environment, that trickle-down effect and you really start to see that impact that you're truly having.

Dmitriy Fomichenko 13:48
Yeah, I was just talking to somebody the other day about similar concept is how blessed we are to live in this country. Again, I'm an immigrant from from for savage em, we had very, very limited opportunities, they are I still like to share with you, I found couple different business ventures there in my early years. But, man, we live in this beautiful country with so many people and you know, just abundance of opportunities out there, there is just, you know, another might be tip that I can share, find the Find the problem, and or, you know, and then figure out the solution for that. And you can build a business on just help enough people get what they need or solve their problems and rewards can be

Gresham Harkless 14:37
major. Yeah, that is absolutely huge. And I love that you mentioned that and that abundancy the abundant mindset and understanding that there's no shortage of problems that they are to solve. And if you're able to solve those problems, then you build that business, you become an entrepreneur, you're really starting to solve those problems. And because there's no shortage of problems, if we understand that we know that there's always opportunities for us to continue to kind of create and build these solutions to help out so many people. So when you have that mentality, it really is, I think, a huge competitive advantage because it allows you to be able to understand there's always a way around whatever, you know, problem or solution that might come about.

Dmitriy Fomichenko 15:19
Yup. Don't you agree?

Gresham Harkless 15:20
Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, Dimitri, truly appreciate that again, and what I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best they can get a hold of you and find out about all those things that you're working on.

Dmitriy Fomichenko 15:33
Yeah, for a limited time here on the show, but if anybody wants to get in touch with us, or me directly, they can do so on our website, which is you can see it behind me there, but it senses like common sense. s, e, n, s, e There, you can email, email us, you can complete a form and you can get a phone number or you can also connect me on Facebook, Twitter, and I would love to to make new connections.

Gresham Harkless 16:07
Awesome, awesome. Awesome. I truly appreciate that again, Dimitri. We will have the links and information in the show notes so that everybody can follow up with you as well there, but I appreciate what you're doing and what you reminded us of and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

Outro 16:19
Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at IAMCEO.CO. I am CEO is not just a phrase, it’s a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five-star rating. Grab CEO gear a This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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