Opening a Business in a Historic Downturn

Opening a Business in a Historic Downturn

Sun Staff Reports

Starting your own small business can be a daunting task at any time, but it’s downright terrifying in the midst of a global pandemic and recession. But Bay Area native Sam Gaeta, CFP® and his business partner Keith Oslie did just that. The two opened the doors of Defined Financial Planning in Alameda in April 2020.

“Whether it was stock market volatility or the changes going on across the world, we were faced with a lot of uncertainty when opening Defined Financial Planning. We knew others in the area were feeling the same way when it came to their finances and plans for the future and their retirement,” said Sam Gaeta, CFP®.

The two saw a need for a small, independent financial firm that catered to the needs of Bay Area families, but real-ized aside from big corporations, there were few options. Gaeta and Oslie aimed to create a true holistic financial planning firm that offers a wide range of services for families, from estate planning to taxes and insurance. They believe all of these components work together to provide the most comprehensive plans for clients.

“We need transparency now more than ever when it comes to financial planning,” said wealth advisor Oslie. “People are able to do their own research on financial firms and advisors, so being open and honest is key. It is important to meet our clients where they are at and speak their language so they understand how their plan will help meet their goals.”

In the shadow of Silicon Valley, they also saw an opportunity to build relationships with families in Alameda, a big city with a small town feel that’s home to stores and shops with a reputation for stellar customer service.

“I come from a family of small business owners and see the importance of ethics and values when it comes to customer service,” said Gaeta. “We live by those lessons today and treat our clients with the same respect and care as our family members.”

Another thing that makes them different? Gaeta and Oslie are also young professionals and are able to provide a fresh, unique perspective to their growling list of clients.

“The average age of financial planners is 59 years old.” said Gaeta. “If you are of retirement age, that means your advisor would be retiring at the same time you are.”

To learn more about Defined Financial Planning and the services they offer, visit their website at