When it comes to finances, there are many who simply do not know what to do. How much does one save for retirement? What about college for the kids? How does one overcome significant debt? Are there really solutions, or do people just get lucky?
Growing up in a large family and the son of small business owners, Tony Madsen saw firsthand how stressful finances can be. So, when he graduated from Redwood Valley High School in 2003, he went off to find a way to help others see dealing with personal finance does not have to be so stressful.
Madsen went on to study at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D. where he earned a degree in business with an emphasis on finance.
Madsen admitted he wasn’t a model student growing up.
“I think under-applied fits well here,” Madsen said.  
When Madsen found himself studying the concepts of finance and economics he discovered that was where he belonged and that there was a way he could help others.
“As a financial planner, I have the opportunity to shape how people view their finances,” said Madsen, adding the right kind of advice can really make a difference and helps relieve the stress of the unknown.
After graduating from college, Madsen went to work for a Fortune 500 financial services company. He discovered his plan to become a  financial advisor meant more study and years of on-the-job experiences.
“I quickly realized I needed to further my education and experience to be comfortable working with clients,” said Madsen.
He furthered his education by becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, which requires completing coursework and passing a very rigorous exam.
Madsen continued to gain work experience through various positions within the financial services industry and as a Financial Advisor in an Edina practice. These roles meant working with clients and other advisors across the United States.
“I knew I wanted to become a financial planner and work directly with clients, and I built a career with that in mind,” said Madsen.
What he learned along the way was to be good at what he did meant establishing a deep relationship with the people he served and proving his skill as a financial planner.  
“This is what I enjoy doing,” said Madsen. “I have a passion for serving people through personal finance.”
Working in the metro area, Madsen and his family were able to establish a network of friends and had access to many personal and professional opportunities.
Yet, in the end, Madsen felt drawn back to his roots. He and his wife, Michelle, who is also a graduate of Redwood Valley High School and is currently teaching at her alma mater, determined, after their son Carsten was born, the place they grew up was where they wanted to raise their family.
By that time Madsen had opted to go off on his own and opened his own company known as NewLeaf Financial Guidance. The name, he explained, is intended to give prospective clients the perspective on finances he offers them – turning over a new leaf and heading in the direction that is best for them and their future.
“It’s about new beginnings,” said Madsen. “No matter what you have done financially in the past, it is never too late to turn over a new leaf.”
Knowing his role as a financial guide and the owner of his own business meant he could do his job from anywhere led Madsen and his family back home to Redwood Falls.  Madsen has an office in the old human services building next to the Redwood County courthouse.
“We decided it was important for our son and for us to be around friends and family,” said Madsen, adding there is just something about the rural way of life that drew them out of the metro area and back to southwestern Minnesota.
In addition Madsen felt moving back to their hometown gave him and his wife the privilege of getting involved in the community that had done so much for them.
Madsen said he is not just in the area to see his own financial success. For him it is about serving the community in which he grew up and helping make a difference.
“Redwood Falls was a great place to grow up,” said Madsen. “I want to make sure it’s a great place for Carsten and future generations as well.”
While working in a small town does have a few limitations, Madsen added technology has really opened doors for his practice, as they can have clients anywhere and still interact with them. Yes, he said, those face-to-face meetings with clients are extremely valuable, but, in a world where one can communicate in seconds and through online avenues, such as Skype and FaceTime, the options for his business go well beyond the borders of the Redwood area. Having registered with the State of Minnesota and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Madsen not only is able to provide his services throughout the state but to a number of people in other states as well.
Madsen said through NewLeaf Financial Guidance he offers what is known as a fee-only model for clients. That, he explained, means his pricing is up-front and straightforward.  He charges a flat fee and does not accept commission on any advice he offers to people.
“The people I work with know exactly what services they can expect from me and the total cost of doing business.  Transparency is very important to me,” said Madsen.
Madsen said he focuses on working with small business owners (including farmers and truckers), medical professionals and business professionals under the age of 45, but he added his client base is made up of people of all ages.
To find out more about the financial planning advice Madsen offers, visit the NewLeaf Financial Guidance Web site at www.newleaffinancialguidance.com.