Gary Sidder

Gary Sidder


Gary B. Sidder, Ph.D., CFP®

Gary Sidder earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Geology and Economic Geology, respectively.  His Bachelor’s degree is from Colorado State University, his Master’s degree from the University of Oregon, and his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oregon State University.  He is a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner and an Instructor at Metropolitan State University of Denver where he teaches the Investment Planning and Understanding the Financial Calculator courses for the CFP Board-certified Personal Financial Planning certificate program. He has taught in the Metro program since November 2000. He is a member of the local chapter of the Financial Planning Association and has served on the Career Development and Education Committees.  Gary has his Series 7 (General Securities Representative), 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), and 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination) licenses and is life and variable life insurance licensed.  

Gary worked as a Research Scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey for almost 10 years before returning to the private, mineral exploration sector as a Senior Geologist.  Excessive travel caused Gary to consider a career change, and since he enjoyed financial success planning and investing for his family’s future, he embraced financial planning as his passion to benefit others.

Here is Gary’s Story:

I am often asked how I found my way from Geology to Financial Planning.  My father, a CPA, encouraged my interest in investing when I was 17.  I read the financial pages and mutual fund reports and prospectuses as a young adult and joined an investment club with other geologists while with the USGS.  Facing termination from the USGS because of its reduction in force by seniority in 1995, I re-entered the private mineral exploration sector as a Senior Geologist after 10 years with the USGS.  However, my new hectic travel schedule caused me to miss important events with my family.  I took a personal inventory of my skills and interests and realized that my training in geology, which involved complicated calculations of chemical data to evaluate the probability of locating a metallic mineral deposit, were similar to the calculations involved in the stock and mutual fund screening methodologies I had been studying all these years.

I had always been comfortable with - and interested in - the stories that numbers reveal, and I contacted my own stockbroker to learn more about what he did.  It was clear that both my geologic training and my passion for numbers equipped me to manage my own family finances in a way I had not considered before.  I joined a small regional brokerage firm, Chatfield Dean, in September 1996 where I earned my Series 7 (General Securities Representative), 63 (Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination), and 65 (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination) licenses and began applying my training in geology to the financial sector.  I knew then that I had found my “true calling.”

Two years after joining Chatfield Dean, I was recruited to join an independent financial planning firm in Littleton, which I joined in January 1999.  In this role, I gained respect for the comprehensive nature of true financial planning and realized that selecting and monitoring investments was an important, but incomplete, role for me.  What I saw clearly was that some of life’s transitions were so unsettling that people made hasty decisions while in the middle of them or soon afterward.  These decisions had important - and sometimes unfortunate - consequences in other parts of their lives that they had not considered.

In 2000, I earned the Certified Financial Planner™designation and founded Life Transition Planners.  We noticed that many clients came to us while in a transition: from parents with kids at home to empty nesters, from working adults to retirement, illness of a spouse or other close family member, job changes, changes in marital status, dealing with elderly parents and deaths of parents, having babies and becoming grandparents.  At Life Transition Planners, we’ve accumulated knowledge from these shared experiences and can give our clients perspective on how others have navigated similar paths.  We focus on the details of each client’s unique situation while maintaining their vision of the larger view.   We believe that one of our great organizational strengths is the comfort that we bring to the relationship with our clients.

After working as a geologist and thinking in terms of geologic time for twenty years, I have a long-term perspective of our clients’ financial goals and objectives. I try not to let short-term issues (noise) get in the way of our clients’ financial planning goals and objectives.  Our financial planning process tries to account for clients’ short- and long-term goals and needs.  We have taken into consideration both the money they need to spend and the resources that they have.  Our processes are designed to take the emotion out of investment decisions.

As our practice evolved, we recognized that many of life’s transitions required more specialized knowledge.  I partnered with Deb Johnson in 2002.  Deb is a renowned specialist in Collaborative Divorce and works with couples and their attorneys to craft equitable financial solutions to the thorny issue of dividing marital property. Her team examines the short- and long-term effects of different divorce settlement options.  They provide the financial picture for each spouse and the options available to them.  The asset distribution piece of divorce - which is often the most contested and emotional part of the split - then can be seen as a true, fair, and comprehensive business transaction with trade-offs among which the couple must choose.  Post-divorce, we find many of these clients ask us to manage their money so that they may preserve and grow their resources.

If you would like a complimentary consultation with Gary to learn how he might help you reach more of your financial goals, call him at Life Transition Planners at 303.933.6226.

Phone 303.933.6226