Todd and Marcus Veillon
For Veillons, it is faith, family, and finance in business
Todd Veillon, owner of Capital Planning Associates, LLC, is a father of four whose life revolves around three Fs: faith, family, and finance. According to him, his faith is the foundation of everything in his life, from his marriage, to fatherhood, to his business practice.
Two of Todd’s children, Marcus and Amie, work with him at the family business. His other two children are Jessica and Ross. Todd first opened his business with his wife, Vicki, and they worked together for the first 18 years. Now he sees his children as his partners. “Amie is a very detailed person. I call her the implementer or the pit bull. She gets things done. She handles all the paperwork and is involved with the planning for the clients. Marcus does the investments and overall planning.” Amie has been at the company for 12 years. Marcus has been there for six years. “Amie is the rock of the family. She kind of sees about everybody. That’s her nature.” Todd was the oldest of his siblings and said he fell into the same role.
Todd said he loves working with his kids. “We work as a team, because we have different skill sets. Our motto is ‘we’re better together.’” He comes from a long line of working with family. His father, Charles, was a rice farmer and owner of Veillon Motor Company. Todd worked with him when he got out of college. His grandfather and great grandfather worked at Veillon Motors. “It’s a natural thing for us.”
Being a successful family is a delicate balance, but the Veillons seem to have figured out the right formula. “What helps us as a family to be successful is that we always remind each other that we want to make sure we’re all giving more than we get and never measure,” said Todd. “If we do that, it’ll all work out. I’ve seen and worked with so many family businesses as a consultant. Things fall apart, but, if everybody is trying to give more than they get and expecting less, it all works out.”
Todd said some of the pitfalls people see working with family is some family members slack off. “Each individual has to be more self-accountable because we’re not going to fire each other. We don’t work under the threat of that. We see each other as equal partners. We all have a common goal and all give 110%.”
When asked if he has found any difficulty working with his kids, Veillon said, “Other than the fact that I always hear their opinions on a regular basis, that’s a good thing and a tough thing sometimes. It makes you better. With employees, you don’t have to deal with it as much because employees probably won’t tell you what they think of you. My family will. Sometimes it can be a little annoying, but once we have time to reflect we realize and thank each other for the constructive criticism. A lot of psychology goes into having a successful family business.”
Todd said they not only work together, they play together. Even their clients are considered friends. “We work with our friends. We help our friends when we can. Indirectly they’ve helped us, too, because without our friends who have supported us, we never would have had the life we have.”
He said they see themselves as life coaches. “I’ve had so many coaches in my life I’ve benefitted from. We’re kind of morphing into a family advisory board for people. It’s not just about the financial planning. They come to us with situations and maybe get some advice, confidentially.”
Todd said his kids are his best friends. Marcus concurred. “We all have our best interests at heart,” added Todd. Through the grace of God, that’s the only thing that makes it happen. We don’t take it for granted.”
Some of his best memories with his kids are traveling around in an old motor home with the boys when they played basketball. Todd was an assistant basketball coach. “I’ve always been a coach in a manner of speaking, in some way, shape, or form.” They also did a lot of hunting and fishing and the girls joined in on the outdoor activities.
When it comes to his business, Todd recalls his basketball coaching skills to help his clients succeed. “I’m in this business because I like to see people reach their maximum potential. I’m pretty good at understanding which basketball player can do well. I’m not necessarily the best, as my son can tell you. He’s better with that, but I understand talent and how to put it together, and that translates to finance because I understand the difference in tools, whether it be insurance, investments and mortgage ... how it all fits together. That’s my gift.”
“We all have unique, God-given gifts,” continued Todd. “We shouldn’t be trying to strengthen our weaknesses so much as we should delegate them. Do what you do best, and delegate the rest. That’s kind of how we built this team. When people work with us, they get all of us.”
Todd is wrapping up a book he has written called “Money HELP.” HELP is an acronym for Holistic Economic Life Planning. He said it is more than retirement planning. He takes into consideration taxes, college, and other factors to look at money in a different way. “Most financial plans today are not done the way they should be. I started in the ‘90s when things were easy. You could throw a dart and pick a great mutual fund. When the .com bubbled in 2000 hit, followed by 9-11 and 2008 with the mortgage crisis, I saw the cracks. That’s when I began to develop a safer and more efficient way of planning. That’s what led to the HELP method.”
Marcus said working with his dad is a first-hand opportunity to learn from somebody and not be nervous about asking questions or feeling insecure. “There’s no dumb questions when you’re working with your dad,” said Marcus.
“I pushed them. I’m really good at delegating,” said Todd. “God blessed me with some capable kids. What I did recently, I asked them if I died tomorrow, what would y’all do? I took off from work and let them do it. They’ve been super successful. I didn’t want them to wait to figure it out when I’m gone.”
“He’s always had that mind set. His test are extreme. You either do it or you don’t,” said Marcus.
“You have to give somebody the chance to fail if they’re going to grow,” said Todd. “I give them some basics and tell them to run with it. We have disagreements on how some things should be done, and that is what makes us better.”
Marcus agreed, saying, “We use three sets of eyes to look at a particular case, and we all approach things in a slightly different way. Sometimes one of us will think of something the other hasn’t. It’s just a different perspective.”
“Now when clients come in here, they get a team,” said Todd. He is hoping some of the grandkids will join the team. He has 12 grandchildren. His oldest granddaughter is helping him with his Youtube videos.
When asked what fatherhood means to him, Veillon said, “It’s everything. It’s my whole purpose in life. It’s been the best part of my life, besides being a husband. It made me a better man. It makes you see the world differently. It drove me to be successful because I wanted to teach them how to be successful. As a dad, I think the greatest accomplishment I have is all my children know how to make it on their own. They’re all intelligent, successful, and doing their own thing. That, through the grace of God, is the biggest accomplishment I have, to know that they’re all okay. Being a dad is the best part of life.”