10 Questions with Rod Skaf, Partner and Financial Planner, Columbus
May 23, 2018
He is a talented linguist who learned from a young age the importance of being ethical and working hard. In the latest of our “Making It Personal” Q&A series, we discover a little more about one of our experienced financial planners, Rod Skaf (check out the amazing photos of Rod below).
Are you Columbus born and bred?
No, I’m from Lebanon in the Middle East. I came to the United States in 1988 to do an MBA and stayed on! Before that, I graduated from Lebanon University with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering but as there wasn’t much opportunity in this field, I joined the financial services industry, with MetLife, after completing my MBA. Fast forward to today and I’m still working as a financial planner 22 years later.
What do you like most about Columbus?
What I particularly like about Columbus is that it’s a family city where everyone says hello and smiles. It’s a fun place with a close-knit community. The weather can be severe in winter but otherwise, it’s a very nice place to live.
What do you find most rewarding about being a financial planner?
Helping people get ahead of the game. I love working with clients to help them manage their finances and take them from today’s position and help them reach tomorrow’s goals. For example, I love helping to bring structure to their savings, sorting their insurance or helping them get their house in order – really whatever it takes to make them feel more secure and empowered.
I’ve now worked with many of my clients 22 years. I treat them like family and it’s great to see the positive impact planning has had on their lives.
Tell us about your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I mostly work and travel lots as I have clients from Upstate New York to San Diego and many places in between. I like to attend conferences and industry events.
When I travel for pleasure I do fun stuff like hiking with my wife and, when we are down South, I go scuba diving in the warm water.
What’s the most interesting place you have ever visited and why?
There are so many interesting places. Johannesburg sticks out for me as it’s such a vibrant city and changing so fast. When I was in South Africa I got to go on safari and to the Victoria Falls – both were amazing experiences.
I also really like Europe and particularly Amsterdam. And I have been to Dubai several times. It’s a very different and fascinating place. Despite being hot and humid, there’s amazing construction, lots to do and people there from every conceivable part of the world.
Where do you like to grab a bite to eat in Columbus?
I like Italian restaurants and close to the office, Vittoria, is one of my favorites. I also like ethnic restaurants – Thai, Indian and Middle Eastern. There’s such a great variety and choice of restaurants in Columbus. I have been to cooking classes too, where I’ve learned more about preparing sushi and Middle Eastern food. As you can probably tell, I like to eat!
Tell us something you know a lot about?
I know the planning process like the back of my hand. I can easily interpret what it takes to help achieve, extend or reduce goals or to account for a long life. I know a lot about longevity income for when we are part of this world and, also for when we are gone.
I speak three languages fluently – French (from my mom), Arabic (from my dad) and English!
Tell us something you are passionate about?
People. I love people, not stuff. I’m personable and it’s in my nature to want to help others. I don’t just mean clients. If I look out of the window and see someone in the street, I want to chat and reach out to them.
What’s your biggest achievement?
I wouldn’t single out one specific achievement but I’m very proud of what I have achieved in my career and in education. Learning puts me on top of the clouds. I have two Masters degrees, one in Business and the other in Finance; also, my several financial designations. I have also started a Ph.D. in finance. I believe in being ethical and working hard to achieve what you want – that’s what we learned as kids. I guess I’m quite a straightforward person.
Any unknown fact about you
I’m 67, and I am still very fit and active. The doctor says I’m in great health. People often judge others by their age but I almost feel younger and as strong as ever!
Rod Skaf AEP®, CASL®, CFP®, ChFC®, MBA, MSFS is a Skylight Financial Group partner and financial planner, based in Dublin, Ohio.
Please visit Rod’s bio for further information or to contact him.