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A desire for helping others has been a theme in my career. Before I wanted to be a financial advisor, I wanted to be a Firefighter, which for me started in the US Marine Corp. After the Marine Corp, I continued in firefighting, which led to a conversation in 2004 with a fellow firefighter. He educated me on the department’s retirement options and illustrated the actual dollar benefits of starting to invest early and of being aggressive. A light went on and I began consuming everything related to finance and economics, eventually leading me to want a formal education in finance.

Matthew Dunham CPA Financial Advisor

 I got a job in the Milwaukee fire department, which put me in the same city as the UW Milwaukee. While working full time and starting my family, I started as a finance major, but quickly realized the important role that taxes have on any financial transaction. I wanted a complete understanding of the relationships between financial planning, investment management, and taxes, so I double majored in finance and accounting.

After graduating, I self-studied for the CPA exams, passing all of them on the first attempt. Studying for the exams furthered my understanding of accounting, both from a business and personal perspective. Considering I was still working in the fire department and many firefighters had their own side hustles, I realized the unique position I was in to help small businesses. Not only could I help with the accounting and business planning but when these activities feed into the business owners personal finances, I could help there as well through sound financial planning, investment management, and tax planning. By combining the planning, it creates optimized efficiency and better outcomes. Plus, it saves you time and extra appointments when all your planning and tax needs are under one roof. 

Leaving the fire department, I worked for two years at a top six accounting firm before landing my first position as a financial advisor at a Milwaukee firm. Most financial advising firms do not utilize small business accounting and advising within their clients personal financial plans, relying on outside accounting firms.

 Seeking an opportunity where my CPA and Financial Advising experience could both be utilized for the benefit of the client, I started my own small business –  Dream Lake Financial. 

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