Steve first worked in a commissary helping military wives load groceries. Working for tips alone, he learned to work with people and saw the rewards of being paid for performance.
After attending five different high schools in Germany and America, Steve became the first person in his family to graduate from high school. This experience helped him to get to know people and make friends. He also learned how to communicate in plain English to be understood in a foreign land. Today, his clients appreciate plain English explanations of complex financial investments, what’s going on in the economy, and how to help them meet their retirement goals.
After graduating from high school, Steve returned to Portland to settle and find employment. His first job was as a doorman in a theater. While he enjoyed meeting new people and directing them to the best seats, it was mostly saying hello and goodbye. He also found himself in his first “wage job” earning less than he did as a 12-year old loading groceries. He often asked himself, “How can I really help other people and make a good enough living to support my family?
Steve began his career in the financial services industry when he began doing mobile home, home equity and student loans at Equitable Savings and Loan. He helped many families during this time of the Savings and Loan meltdown as Equitable Savings was absorbed by Benj. Franklin Savings in 1982 which later became a part of Bank of America in 1990. While the logo on his business card changed, Steve never wavered from his commitment to provide his clients with unvarnished facts about the economy.
He loved the opportunity to help people fulfill their dreams of homeownership and a college education. In time, Steve became the first loan officer in the Portland area to put on educational seminars for real estate agents.
He taught realtors how to do their own qualifying VA/FHA loans and save their homebuyers money.
After eight years of helping his clients buy homes, finance college dreams, and insuring life’s risks, Steve wanted to help his clients with all phases of their financial lives. This led him to become a full-service financial planner with Royal Alliance in 1984. Ever the student, Steve became one of Oregon’s first Certified Financial Planning practitioners when he earned his CFP(R) designation in 1986.
In 1987, Steve began offering “Successful Money Management” seminars in colleges and in churches. He has given well over 100 seminars in the past twenty years as he sought to educate the public on financial matters and let folks get to know him better.
Steve soon had the opportunity to reach thousands of people at once on KPDQ FM. Talk radio host Lew Davies asked him to answer listeners’ questions on all sorts of financial matters. Steve’s deep and wide experience in financial matters and his time-tested ability to speak in plain English made him a popular guest for over twenty years.
This radio opportunity and many public seminars allowed Steve to help more and more people with their retirement planning as time went by.
Steve remained self-employed as a representative for a couple of securities companies as he built his financial planning practice. Unfortunately, as time went by each company would pressure him to sell company products which provided higher commissions to the company. When he didn’t sell them, he didn’t seem to get the attention he needed to help his people. They also wanted him to charge more for his advice.
Steve realized that he needed the freedom of being an independent financial planner to best pursue his clients’ needs. He gained this ability in 2000 when he founded his own company, Kirkendall Financial and aligning with a securities company that didn’t push their company product. No longer would he be told how to do things by people who didn’t share his philosophy.
Steve’s service to his clients has spanned six presidents. He has seen high inflation, sky high interest rates, recessions, stock market booms and busts, savings and loan crises, and terrible mortgage products which hurt homeowners and banks alike. Steve feels blessed to use his education and experience to treat his clients as he wishes to be treated.
Steve lives in Vancouver with his wife and enjoys playing, hiking and reading with his six grandchildren.