One of the best things that ever happened to Dean Vagnozzi was the day he got fired from his accounting job.
After playing four years of college football and graduating from Albright College in 1990 (with an accounting degree no less) Dean was certain that crunching numbers was to become his future. A guaranteed ticket to financial success. Until his boss sat him down one day – three months into his first job out of college – and told him that accounting wasn’t for him. “You’re in the wrong business. You should get into sales”, Dean was told. And though that bit of advice was a hard pill to swallow at first, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Dean In The Media
Dean’s investment tips have been published in Yahoo Finance, Bankrate.com, Foreign Policy, and more.
Dean’s natural enthusiasm and magnetic energy was not meant for a repetitive, number-crunching, solitary profession. Dean’s burning desire to get ahead – and to help others get ahead – was the real path to his future.
Not long after that fateful day, Dean began his career in “Corporate America”. Armed with a base salary, decent benefits and a nice retirement package, Dean was well on his way to a thriving career.
For more than a decade, Dean sold computer systems and then ERP software for SAP America. He then joined the SAP Consulting Practice for Deloitte, and then Anderson. It was also during this time that Dean met his wife, Christa. With his career in place and a family in front of him, Dean began to think about his financial future – even more seriously than he had before.
With all of this in mind, Dean purchased his first life insurance policy. The initial purchase was made through a friend of his (truth be told – to get the guy off his back) and ironically enough, it eventually led to Dean being “that guy”.
You see, while working for “Corporate America”, the stock market was in the middle of three years of major declines (2000 – 2002). As Dean watched his 401(k) and his “safe” investments get decimated, Dean began to become disillusioned with the stock market.
The idea of forging his own financial security and seeking investment opportunities not tied to the stock market prompted Dean to begin studying wealth management in earnest, enrolling in seminars, reading books and researching unorthodox money management tactics. Questioning the logic behind investments that you essentially couldn’t touch until retirement, real estate seemed to be the answer. After all, everyone else seemed to be investing in real estate at the time.
During this time, Dean had also just finished reading a book called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. In the book, the author wrote about utilizing his life insurance policy to purchase real estate. Needing the liquid cash and not wanting to miss the real estate opportunity in front of him, Dean borrowed cash from his life insurance policy, which by that point had $70,000 of cash value. A year later, Dean made $75,000 on that real estate purchase… and all of that started from the cash he borrowed from his life insurance policy, an asset that most people are unfamiliar with.
Seven years and 25 real estate transactions later, Dean had made just under $1 million by flipping real estate. What’s more, every real estate purchase was made by leveraging the cash value within his life insurance policy. Essentially, his policy became his bank.
And from there, “A Better Financial Plan” was born.
By 2003, Dean’s friends and family all wanted in on this novel approach to making money and started giving their money to Dean so that they could invest in real estate together. By putting their money together, Dean and his cohorts were able to purchase bigger units and more real estate.
He was “making money” with his friends and for his friends, which was great, but it also highlighted the need for the investment opportunities to become more formal. It was then that Dean met an attorney that specialized in securities law, John Pauciulo, who is still Dean’s attorney to this day.
John Pauciulo is pivotal to this story, as he helped Dean put together “corporations”, utilizing Private Placement Memorandums, which allowed Dean to raise money from friends and family by “pooling their money” and therefore, investing in real estate opportunities that they could not afford on their own.
Simultaneously, Dean decided to leave “Corporate America” and enter the insurance business full time. Dean had a yearning desire to control his destiny while also teaching people how to do exactly what he was doing, which was using the cash value of his life insurance policies to acquire and invest in alternative asset classes.
It was a novel idea at the time, and he was taking a great risk by leaving his six-figure salary. But Dean had a hunch. And it was at this moment that Dean’s true entrepreneurial spirit really began to take flight.
By 2008, as most people realize, the real estate market took a major nose-dive, and well, you know the rest of that story. Luckily (and skillfully), Dean took the learned lesson of “pooling money” and was able to rebound.
A few years later, Dean truly found his niche. By going against the grain in terms of traditional investments and offering his clients a variety of alternative cash-intensive investment opportunities that have nothing to do with Wall Street, Dean’s alternative investment portfolio quickly grew.
Thus, “A Better Financial Plan” was officially born.
Incorporated in 2010, Dean and his colleagues at A Better Financial Plan (ABFP) now offer five different types of investment products, all in industries with proven returns. The company is one-of-a-kind, offering investments that most people cannot afford on their own and none of which have anything to do with Wall Street.
Dean feels strongly in diversification of your assets and that his alternative investment opportunities are safer and less volatile than the stock market. With products that proudly boast returns of 11 – 14% on average, Dean offers his clients a more secure and steady option to help grow their individual wealth.
With offices based out of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and Marlton, New Jersey, A Better Financial Plan now has 15 employees and thousands of clients.
Within the past decade, ABFP has invested over $200 million for their clients, who typically invest approximately 25 – 50% of their portfolio within ABFP’s alternative investment offerings.
Dean and his wife, Christa, live in Collegeville, PA. They have four children – two girls and two boys between the ages of 17 and 24. In his spare time, Dean can be found on the golf course, sitting by his pool or reading a book on a Caribbean beach.
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We’ve delivered 10-14% annual returns or better using alternative investments that were put together with one of Philadelphia’s largest law firms. These investments have nothing to do with Wall Street and they are NOT annuities.