Rick was born and raised in North Liberty, Indiana. The son of a tax preparer, Rick began helping his father with tax returns when he was in high school. He received his accounting degree from Indiana University at Bloomington in 1977. He began his professional career as an office auditor for the Internal Revenue Service from 1977 to early 1979. In 1980 he moved to Bellingham, becoming certified in 1981. Rick founded Steele and Co., CPA, PS in 1989 which he owned and operated until October 2011. He sold that firm to focus exclusively on financial planning and investment management services.
Rick established Steele Financial Services, Inc. in 1999. Having seen many of his clients’ long-term financial goals improperly dealt with by other financial services advisors, Rick decided to become an advisory representative with Avantax Advisory ServicesSM,formerly H.D. Vest Advisory ServicesSM. Rick holds the following FINRA Licenses: Series 6 - Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Rep Series 7 - General Securities Rep Series 63 - Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam. In addition, he holds life and disability insurance licenses. Says Rick, "Particularly during this time of economic uncertainty, I absolutely enjoy helping our clients make sound decisions regarding their finances. I feel that at long last I have finally found my life’s purpose – which is to help folks relax and gain the confidence that comes with working with us." Rick is a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) as well as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Personal Financial Specialist (PFS).
Rick is very involved with his broker dealer, Avantax Investment ServicesSM. Avantax, formerly as H.D. Vest, selected and welcomed him to serve as the Washington State Chapter Director, a Mentor, and a Field Trainer at the HD Vest Financial Planning Institute as well as an Enrolled Field Advisor in the HD Vest Partners Program. In these roles he helps CPAs, EAs and other tax professionals who are Avantax Advisors learn how to be a more effective financial planning and investment professional. Rick says, “I actively sought these roles knowing that by being an educator you learn as much from your students as you do preparing to work with them”.
Rick is a member of the Financial Planning Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Steele Financial Services, Inc. was also just named a “Rising Star” by Accounting Today magazine for the second year in a row that recognizes CPA firms who are investment advisors.
Rick is very involved in the arts and music community. He is past chair of the Bellingham Festival of Music and Bellingham Chamber Chorale. He plays hosho and mbira with the Ruvara Marimba Ensemble (www.ruvara.org) and sings in the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship regular and chamber choirs. “I grew up in a musical family and quickly learned the value of sharing the joy of music. Music is uplifting for both the performer and the audience and helps bring people together to celebrate life”.