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The History of Sensible Money

Dana Anspach

June 27, 2023

Sensible Money was founded by Dana Anspach. She hosted the official Grand Opening party on Thursday, May 10th, 2012, on the patio outside the office, which was located on the corner of 5th Ave and Marshall Way in Old Town Scottsdale.

You can check out more pics on Sensible Money’s Facebook page.

History of Sensible Money

Dana began her career as a financial advisor in February 1995, working for Waddell and Reed in Grand Junction, Colorado. In November of 1999, she moved to Merrill Lynch, also in Colorado. She quickly realized she wanted a planning-based practice; not one focused on selling products.

In July 2001, she moved to Phoenix, Arizona, to work in partnership with several local CPA firms to build-out their wealth management divisions. In January 2006, she purchased one of those financial services firms and merged it with Wealth Management Solutions, a fee-only registered investment advisory firm founded by a good friend. They continued to grow their practice together for many years, and during that time, Dana acquired the Retirement Management Advisor designation and began to focus her practice on those near retirement.

Dana had a vision of a brand and as her vision grew, she decided to leave her partnership and founded Sensible Money, LLC, in July 2011. Initially, it was Dana, one full-time financial planner, and one part-time administrative assistant, Jody Hulsey, who remains with the firm today. Since then, Sensible Money has continued to grow. Our approximate year-end assets under management per our ADV Part 2a filing for the five years ending 2022, rounded down to the nearest $1 million, are shown below.

For Sensible Money’s first few years, the staff managed to work out of 1,000 square feet and get along nicely! In March of 2018, Sensible Money moved offices to 4200 N. Marshall Way, around the corner from their original office. It was such a short distance that everyone put their computer monitor on their chair and rolled it over to the new space. The new space had room for staff, and for the first time, a private office for Dana.

The office was branded based on the Juicing® theme of the Sensible Money brand. Dana spent hours online searching for rugs and bought every package of fake oranges she could find at every Michael’s craft store in the Phoenix Valley.

The Sensible Money Brand

The concept behind Juicing® began in 2011 when Dana was having breakfast at Butterfields, a popular place in Arizona on the corner of Shea and Scottsdale Road. They are known for their fresh-squeezed juice. You can watch the oranges roll down through a wire chute into the machine, and watch a delicious glass of fresh juice fill up.

The prior weekend Dana had been making homemade margaritas and squeezing the oranges by hand. As she watched the machine at work, she wondered how much more juice that machine could get out of each orange. When she did it at home, there was always a mess and extra juice in the rinds. The lightbulb went on as she realized this was the goal of the process she used with clients. The premise of her work was that with the right tools and a rules-based approach, you can help people squeeze more out of their money.

While so many financial services firms appear stuffy and intimidating, Dana wanted something approachable and transparent. It needed to feel fresh and, well, sensible. The design process started and through many iterations, the brand was born.

What’s Next for Sensible Money

Sensible Money has been lucky to attract a talented set of planners and projects that it will continue to grow at a reasonable pace. Existing clients take priority and the firm uses periodic team meetings to check-in, share planning concepts, and see who has the capacity for new clients. To keep the workload manageable, there are times when we pause taking on new clients.

As the firm continues to grow, we plan to continue to hire planners. For those just out of school, it takes about a five-year training process to learn the nuances of delivering solid retirement income planning advice.

The firm also created a partner track so that equity ownership can be purchased. In January 2022, CJ Miller and Amy Shepard were the first two additional partners, each acquiring 5% of the business from Dana.

What is Sensible Money Most Proud Of?

Sensible Money has clients that Dana has worked with since 2001. These long-term relationships are incredibly rewarding and it is what we strive for with each family.

The firm has built a thorough planning process using templates and checklists to bring consistency to our work.

Putting skilled planners together with life-long relationships that bring our clients peace of mind is an honor. It’s what we are most proud of and what keeps us going every day.

Disclosure: Sensible does not guarantee that our retirement income plans will fit all clients, and plans may not achieve desired results.