Texas Tech University

Personal Financial Planning Alumnus Makes First Gift to Reimagined Double T Society

Breck Gavin

May 16, 2024

Michael Anderson TTU PFP

Michael Anderson contributes to giving society to help accomplish program goals

Michael Anderson is the first donor to give to the newly reimagined Texas Tech School of Financial Planning Double T Society. Double T Society members are considered the program's most committed and regular giving partners. Based on alumni feedback to create a larger impact, Double T Society membership was recently raised to a minimum $25,000 gift.

As a founding member of the Double T Society, Anderson has experienced firsthand how the Personal Financial Planning (PFP) program can change someone's life. He is eager to give students the same opportunities he had.

“I donate to the Texas Tech School of Financial Planning because I am very grateful for the path and career the program set me on,” Anderson said. “I love the concept of the Double T Society because it can be an accountability tool, and it's recognition of special alumni and friends to the program.”

Anderson graduated with his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Seattle University in 1996. During this time, he also began his career in the United States Military. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1996 and served in the Army's 82d Airborne Division at Fort Liberty (Bragg).

While on active duty, Anderson began to explore opportunities that would allow him to go back to school to study law, a desire he had held since high school. He had originally prepared and hoped to enter the U.S. Army Funded Legal Education Program, which would allow him to remain in the Army while attending law school. However, as a very competitive program, he was not accepted, a circumstance that he now looks back on as a good thing.

Anderson and his wife, Elizabeth, ultimately decided that it was the right time for him to leave the Active Army to return to school full-time to pursue his law degree. Texas Tech stood out as the top choice and he and his wife headed to Lubbock.

Toward the end of his first year in law school, Anderson was approached by a fellow law student who asked if he would be interested in helping to start and join a dual degree program with the College of Human Sciences. This was the start of the J.D./M.S. degree in the Personal Financial Planning program.

Anderson quickly found an undiscovered passion in his additional degree path.

“Once I started my PFP classes and roamed the halls of the program, I knew, ‘This is what I want to be doing'”, Anderson said. “I felt at home right away.”

He credits his professors, Vickie Hampton, Bill Gustafson, Dorothy Durband, John Hopkins, and Joesph Tombs, as well as the engaged alumni base, for creating an environment that he could excel in.

Following his graduation from Texas Tech with a degree from the law school and a master's degree in personal financial planning, Anderson began his career at Evensky & Katz, a wealth management firm in Coral Gables, Florida during the 2002-2003 recession.

“The contacts, network, and responsibilities I had in the Tech PFP program absolutely helped me create this opportunity,” he said.

Expecting their second child in 2007, Anderson and his wife decided it was time to move back to Texas where he accepted a position at Tolleson Wealth Management in Dallas. He describes his time at this firm as a unique early learning experience in serving the needs of the ultra-wealthy.

In the midst of the Global Financial Crisis, Anderson began his time at True North Advisors in Dallas, where he still proudly works today.

“I have worked with many clients for almost 15 years, and it's wonderful to see how their lives and plans have progressed over the years, and I have deep appreciation for these relationships—not just with clients, but my coworkers, mentors and peers” Anderson said. “It all started with a Texas Tech Personal Financial Planning degree and taking it and adding in life, experience, and education.”

When asked to advise future financial advisors and students entering the field, Anderson emphasizes the importance of having patience in terms of learning the ins and outs on how to best serve a client and being open-minded about opportunities that a financial planning background can provide.  Also, he says, “When looking for employment don't be afraid to reach out to places you are interested in even if they don't have an advertised position. Every position I have held in the industry was not an advertised position I applied to. I reached out to the company directly. Distinguish yourself from your peers any way you can.”

He also encourages those that go through the Personal Financial Planning program to maintain and embrace their network.

“It's easy early on, but as you get older and your inevitable life, career, and family dynamic, changes, it gets harder to keep in contact with everyone you met and the network you created in the wonderful program,” Anderson said. “But do your best. It may be serving on an alumni board, sending a donation once a year, picking up the phone to call a friend, or mentoring a new generation of advisors.”