Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Grass Valley financial adviser brings clients’ kids into the equation

Cathie Anderson
Cathie Anderson

At some point over the last 30 years, Allen and Sabine Ostrofe began using money as an excuse to bring families together.

Allen Ostrofe guides clients as a certified financial planner at Ostrofe Financial Consulting, while Sabine ensures that the office runs smoothly. The couple moved to Grass Valley after several years working for J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in Germany and Argentina. They landed in Grass Valley because Allen Ostrofe’s father, Frank Ostrofe, had a stock brokerage there.

“I wanted to be a fee-based adviser, which in those days was almost unheard of,” Ostrofe said. “Everything was commissions in those days, and my interest wasn’t just in buying and selling stocks all day. It was really in the things that keep people awake at night: ‘What about lending money to my kids? What about helping my kids with a business plan? Or our own business plan? What about buying a house? What about renting property?’”

Ostrofe got his name out in the community by teaching classes at Sierra College, writing a monthly column for the Nevada City Union and going into local high schools to teach students the basics of personal finance. When Frank Ostrofe was ready to exit the business, Allen and Sabine were able to buy his firm. Ostrofe Consulting now employs nine people and manages assets totaling roughly $165 million. Clients are spread across 23 states. In California, roughly 15 percent of them are in the Los Angeles-San Diego area and 35 percent in the Bay Area.

Ostrofe’s clients have been with the firm for an average of 15 years. When they reach age 70, he asks them to start bringing their adult children so they can hear their parents’ wishes and understand the financial planning process. He reviews tax returns to ensure his clients understand every line. He helped one client with Parkinson’s disease get into a test group for a new drug. He appealed to Pfizer on behalf of another who couldn’t afford the $500 pills needed to treat his illness.

“The really fun part of the business now is that there are rarely two or three weeks that go by that we don’t get a hand-written thank-you note – Who does that anymore? – from a client because of something that we did that was outside of the investment side of things,” Ostrofe said.

New take on small biz

KVIE, the region’s public television station, began a new series Monday that has small-business owners from around the Central Valley telling their own stories.

If you missed it, “Yes! We’re Open” will be rebroadcast eight times through June 30. For instance, you can catch it at 6 p.m. Saturday on KVIE2 and at 10 a.m. May 24 on KVIEHD.

Jim Finnerty, producer of “America’s Heartland,” tackled the first of three episodes but said his colleague, producer Jason Shoultz, will take the helm for the second one. SMUD and SAFE Credit Union sponsored the first episodes and KVIE staff are working to find other companies willing to continue the series.

Finnerty said his big takeaway from producing the first episode was the business owners’ optimism.

“They really have a world view that their product or service is something that is a) beneficial, b) has the potential to be very successful and c) meets the needs that they have creatively to express themselves,” Finnerty said.

In the first show, Dave Leatherby Sr. speaks with raw honesty about the difficulties of reviving his ice cream parlors after an attempt at franchising failed. Capitol Bowl owner Ross Amin talks about how his bent for turning around businesses married well with West Sacramento leaders’ desire to rejuvenate the city center. Lee Palleschi, the man behind Modesto’s Coldhouse Vodka, explains why he thought it was time for an artisan’s approach to distilling spirits. And culinary school graduate Rob Jong tells how he brought his dad, retired lawyer Allen Jong, into joining his food truck business.

A fair shot at a job

Job seekers might meet their match from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Saturday’s job fair at the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services, 3308 Third Ave., in Sacramento.

The food bank began job fairs last year, offering two events that drew about 400 people, said Kelly Siefkin, the nonprofit’s communications and development director. This week, attendees will get to meet recruiters from nonprofits such as La Familia and Pride Industries, companies such as Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op and Beutler Heating and Air, staffing firms such as Certified Employment Group and government agencies such as the city of Sacramento.

“It’s open for anyone to come,” Siefkin said. “Attendees can meet a real, live person, learn about the opportunity, see if they are a good fit, and then walk over to one of our computers and apply right here on site.”

Because so many companies have moved recruiting online, job fairs are one of the few opportunities where candidates still can make a face-to-face impression, Siefkin said.

Want to help a job candidate make a good first impression in future interviews? Drop off your gently used business attire – suits, shoes and accessories – for donation.