Who We Are

First Step Cash Management™
First Step Cash Management™ was originally created by Marty Kurtz, CFP®. Like many financial planners, Marty started his career in the insurance and brokerage industry. In those days, Marty was 100% commission-based and experienced large swings in his income. As a result, Marty designed First Step as a way to manage his own cash flow and to financially support his young family.

In 1998, Marty founded his own independent, fee-only financial planning firm, The Planning Center. Over the years, Marty shared his simple First Step Cash Management system with clients who were having trouble reaching their financial goals. To this day, some 25 plus years later, many of these same clients still use First Step as a tool for making financial decisions and maintaining their sense of financial well-being.

As Marty's client base grew, he eventually hired Eric Kies, CFP® and Matt Sivertsen, CFP®. As young professionals, Matt and Eric first applied First Step to their own personal finances and were astonished at the sense of control, clarity, and vision that resulted within a few short months. Inspired by their own experiences, the team at The Planning Center began to develop a web-based version of this unique and powerful financial planning tool.

Money Quotient®
Money Quotient (M.Q.) is a non-profit organization that develops Financial Life Planning tools and training for professionals who want to make a difference in the lives of their clients. This organization is led by Carol Anderson and Amy Mullen, a mother-daughter team, who are dedicated to researching concepts, models, and programs that will enhance the success and satisfaction clients experience while engaged in the CFP® financial planning process.

Carol and Amy were very pleased with the effectiveness of their values clarification and goal setting tools, but also felt something was missing. Their tools helped clients to define "what" they wanted in life and "why" it was important to them, but did not answer the question of “how” to align their finances in support of their goals. Thus began a multi-year review of various money management methods and programs in pursuit of a methodology that would complement Money Quotient tools and philosophy and was also easy to learn and maintain.

In April of 2007, Marty Kurtz invited Carol and Amy to The Planning Center to conduct a Money Quotient training for his team. During a break, he suggested that they take a look at some of the other tools they used in their client meetings. When Marty shared his First Step Cash Management planning tool, Carol and Amy immediately recognized that it was exactly what they had been looking for! Soon, they began a discussion about how they could make First Step available to other financial planners and a partnership developed. Money Quotient now distributes the First Step online planning tool to financial planners via licensing arrangements and also provides training and support.