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About First Ascent Financial

Rich Carroll, Certified Financial Planner

What is First Ascent Financial?

First Ascent Financial is a financial planning and investment management firm that helps military families take command of their finances. The firm was founded by me, Rich Carroll, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.

Why does First Ascent Financial work with military officers?

Military life is stressful. Everyday life demands balancing a crazy mixture of structure and unpredictability.

Making time for duty, career and family – it’s more than understandable that you might not have time to figure out the answers to financial questions like:

  • Should we save for retirement in the TSP or a Roth IRA?
  • Should we buy, rent or live on base?
  • Should we use the GI Bill for me or one of my kids?
  • How much should we spend on our next car?
  • Should we rent or sell our house next time we PCS?
  • How much do I need to make as a civilian to replace my military pay and benefits?

How can First Ascent Financial help me?

There are two ways I can help you:

First, our financial planning process will enable you to make proactive financial decisions.

Second, you will experience peace-of-mind knowing that you have a professional managing your assets.

How is First Ascent Financial is Different?

An Independent and Virtual Business Structure
My independence means there is no pressure to use a specific solution over another. I have the freedom to recommend the best solutions for my clients.

Also, from meeting via video conference to opening accounts electronically, I will use technology to streamline your experience. That gives me more flexibility to adapt to your busy schedule.

Simple, Consistent Compensation
I keep things simple for you, working off one affordable monthly fee for both Financial Planning and Investment management.

There are no commissions. There is no calculating a percentage of assets managed. You always know exactly how much you are paying your financial advisor.

Reach your goals sooner by keeping more of your dollars invested and decreasing “fee-drag” on your returns. Most clients pay our fees out of their cash flow instead of from their investment returns.

What are First Ascent Financial’s “Core Values?”


Peace of mind will grow as you see my actions validate my values. Without integrity, the other core values are just words.


You can trust me to provide what you need when you need it.


I will help you find creative and sustainable solutions to the challenges you encounter.


I thoughtfully implement changes to improve the experience you receive.


I will serve you beyond what is expected out of my passion to see you reach your goals and dreams.

Start mapping for free

About Rich Carroll

My passions for both personal finance and the outdoors were sparked while growing up in San Antonio, Texas. My dad probably had no idea what he was setting into motion when he started teaching me about personal finance.

After graduating from Texas Tech University with a degree in Personal Financial Planning, I moved to Colorado. It was time to escape the Texas heat and take advantage of the endless adventures the Rockies provide.

Today, I enjoy living in beautiful Colorado Springs with my wife and young daughter. We love being outside and can’t wait to get our little one on a bike!

What was your journey to First Ascent Financial?

I started my career in Personal Finance in 2011 as part of USAA’s Investment Management department in Colorado Springs. While there, I was introduced to the specific financial issues our military members face.

Now, I’m excited to apply the knowledge I have learned through my previous experiences into First Ascent Financial.

Why did you start First Ascent Financial?

My goal is to provide people with affordable financial advice regardless of their income, net worth, or investable assets.

I enjoy facilitating experiences that encourage people to discover, reflect, and learn.

I’ve done this in an outdoor setting as a guide. Now, I’m looking to create a similar experience in the personal finance world as a financial guide.


First Ascent Financial Services

Financial Planning

Financial Planning

We’ll work together to:

  • Organize your financial life.
  • Set goals based on what you value most.
  • Save and invest for the future.

You will have confidence knowing you are making proactive financial decisions.

Investment Management

We’ll create a customized investment strategy that encompasses all of your assets.

That is right – all your assets! Whether you assets include Roth IRAs, Traditional IRAs, rental properties, TSP accounts, 401(k), etc., your strategy will fit your needs.

Investment Planning

First Ascent Financial Pricing

Free Initial Consultation

Free initial consultation

There’s no charge for our first meeting. We’ll just discuss your current situation and goals.

Case-by-case customized pricing

Your Financial Plan and Investment Strategy is tailored specifically for your needs our fees are determined by the complexity of your situation. We will provide you with a quote after your initial consultation.

Case-by-case Customized Pricing
One Flat Fee

One flat fee

We believe the financial planning process is where we add the most value. We believe your investment portfolio is just one of your resources to support your financial plan.

That’s why we work with clients in an open retainer relationship that includes both financial planning and investment management.

Case-by-case customized pricing

Open Retainer initial year: $125-$500 a month

  • Creation of your initial financial plan (3-4 meetings)
  • Scheduled review meetings (3-4 meetings)
  • Ongoing Investment Management
  • Ability to schedule phone calls or schedule meetings as needed

Case-by-case customized pricing

Open Retainer renewal year: $90-$300 a month

  • Scheduled review meetings (3-4 meetings)
  • Ongoing Investment Management
  • Ability to schedule phone calls or schedule meetings as needed
Start mapping for free

The First Ascent Financial Process

Step 1


We will complete a Life Values Questionnaire, establish and prioritize your goals, and study your resources.

Step 2

Explore options and strategies

We will explore financial strategies in line with your values and forecast a timeline to meet your goals.

Step 3

Create a “Financial Plan Map”

We will layout your path to reach your goals, as well as set up checkpoints to track your progress.

Step 4

Follow your map, adjusting as needed

We will trek forward, mindful of progress. I will help you adjust for life’s changes, such as shifts in income, location, spending habits, market fluctuation, inflation and more.

Start mapping for free

Frequently Asked Questions

Financial planning starts with discovering and understanding what you value most as well as understanding what resources you have available. It then involves creating and implementing a plan on how your resources will be applied to your values.

Yes, I work virtually by video conference with clients in several different states.

I am compensated solely by the subscription/retainer fees my clients pay me.

I do NOT get paid by selling products, percentage of assets I manage, referral fees, or product “kick-backs”

It is a casual 30-45 minute meeting in person, over the phone, or via video conference. I’ll learn more about who you are and what you are looking for.

I will also share more about First Ascent Financial’s unique planning experience and share some useful resources.

At the end of the meeting we will decide if you would like to move forward.

When we get to the investment management part of your financial plan, we will decide together:

  • Which accounts you want me to directly manage.
  • Which accounts you want me to provide analysis on.
  • Which accounts you want to manage on your own

The typical client has a strong desire to make values-based decisions on how they spend their time and money. They believe money is not the most important item but rather a tool that should support what is most important to them.

Most clients have contacted me because they have just experienced or are anticipating a major life event.

We start with your financial goals, develop a timeline to accomplish your goals, and determine how much volatility you can withstand during that time frame without selling your investments. Then we buy different investments (i.e. ETFs, Mutual Funds, stocks) across the global economy that will fluctuate at different times to provide less volatility.

I believe that investment management is a theory and not an exact science. I believe the most important part of investment management is not necessarily trying to pick the best investment strategy but to pick a proven strategy and have the discipline to maintain that strategy.

The proven investment strategy used is strategic asset allocation utilizing a core and satellite approach. This means I typically use passively-managed index and exchange-traded funds as the core investments. Then I will add either actively-managed funds, individual equity and fixed income securities, or a specific sector overweight where I believe there are greater opportunities to make a difference.

Portfolios are globally diversified across different asset classes. This strategy is based on Modern Portfolio Theory and I believe it will ultimately help my clients reach their goals while taking on what I feel are appropriate and acceptable risks.

First Ascent Financial

Start mapping your financial plan with First Ascent Financial

(719) 425-9436 | rich@firstascentfinancial.com

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