This article was originally published on MakeMontanaHome.org.
By Alexandria Klapmeier
Although Alan Moore grew up in the South, he followed his dreams of colder weather up north.
“I started chasing snow,” Moore said with a laugh. “I did a stint in North Dakota and then went to Milwaukee…It’s cliché but when I came out on vacation (to Montana) and saw Bridger Bowl, I just never wanted to leave.”
Moore and his family settled in Bozeman and since 2014 has helped financial planners with his company, XY Planning.
Aiding Financial Entrepreneurs
In April 2014, XY Planning launched a entrepreneurship platform that helps financial advisors start and run their own business. Moore said a financial planner can be anyone who helps clients figure out what they want to do with their money or how to align their finances. All of the advisors using XY Planning are fee-only, which Moore said means advisors are only paid for the advice they give, not a commission for selling a product which might bias their recommendations.
“I started my own financial planning firm in 2012,” Moore said. “That experience in starting and learning how to run a business, anyone knows a small percentage is actually doing the work. I got a lot of experience doing that. Ultimately my business partner and I decided a big need in the financials services sector was to help people do what I had done. We realized there was a need to help other advisors who wanted to be entrepreneurs.”
Recently, XY Planning was named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America. XY Planning was ranked the highest of 12 Montana companies with a growth of 2,571 percent.
“It is a huge honor to be recognized, and to see the growth of the company and the impact that we can provide to our team, our Bozeman community, and overall to the financial planning industry,” Moore said.
XY Planning Moves to Montana
Moore decided to make Montana home after visiting Bozeman. He was working remotely for the company, but the company was looking for a permanent home. Bozeman checked multiple boxes for lifestyle and workforce.
But Moore said it was challenging to convince some investors that Montana was the place to be.
“They (angel investors) said, ‘Who goes to Montana? You won’t get people who work hard. You’ll get people who want to hunt and fish all day and not work,’” Moore recalled. “I had to make a gut decision. At the time I was here, my COO was in Dallas and my co-founder was in D.C. … I said no to D.C. and Dallas. One of our core values is ‘Be Well Being You.’ We want them to come in and get their job done and then go skiing. Montana felt like it had the right culture for us.”
Also on the horizon for XY Planning is moving into a new office. Currently, XY Planning has 50 employees and 30 of them are in Bozeman. Moore said they are looking to expand services, and with that comes a larger space with the right infrastructure to field more calls and complete other tasks.
Moore wanted to ski on Wednesdays, but he didn’t want to live in a ski town. The number of towns you can live in and ski is limited, Moore said. Bozeman fit the bill.
“For the people who have never been to Montana, we talk talk about the natural resources and all those are good things,” Moore said. “The part nobody really talks about are just how amazing the people are. They are just good human beings. … The people here are just phenomenal. I’m from the south and we talk about southern hospitality. Montana is where those people are.”
When XY Planning began posting jobs, Moore said they were flooded with candidates. And it hasn’t slowed down, Moore said. With the growth XY Planning has seen, Moore said there hasn’t been a situation yet where they’re not hiring.
Moore said Montana is supportive of entrepreneurs, and XY Planning experienced this first hand when it received a grant from the Montana Commerce Department through the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund. XY Planning estimates it will create 10 jobs and be reimbursed up to $50,000 by the state program. The Montana Commerce Department awarded up to $790,000 to create 134 jobs.
Another attraction to Bozeman for XY Planning was the airport infrastructure.
“I couldn’t have moved here if our airport wasn’t good,” Moore said. “The investment in the travel infrastructure is big for us. It’s about having a place and home that people want to be home.”
Moore lives in Bozeman with his two kids and wife, who is also an entrepreneur. After operating Cowork Bozeman, a coworking space in Bozeman, she joined their company AdvicePay. AdvicePay is a billing platform for financial advisors.
As XY Planning continues to grow, Moore will continue looking for the right fit.
“We’re looking for people that love Montana,” Moore said. “If you’re here and you love it, we’re looking for people like that who believe in the mission of our company. We have those two filters: Do you want to work in Montana and do you want to work for these companies?”
About the Author: Alexandria Klapmeier is the content creator for Make Montana Home. She resides in Helena and decided to make Montana home after graduating from the University of Montana.
About the Publisher: Make Montana Home is a campaign to highlight entrepreneurs, telecommuters and rural communities in Montana. We want you to make Montana home today!