Travis Maus and Ryan Berkeley
S.E.E.D Homegrown Financial Services
Stimulating. Ethical. Exceptional. Duty. – For Travis Maus and Ryan Berkeley, these words extend beyond meaning and represent the reason for forming their Broome-based financial firm, S.E.E.D. Planning Group.
Building S.E.E.D. has afforded Maus and Berkeley the opportunity to provide services they’re passionate about to clients, while creating a local business that reflects their personal values and the issues they feel are not typically addressed in the financial industry.
“I think S.E.E.D. Planning Group starts the story of why the community is so important to us,” said Travis Maus, managing partner and wealth manager at S.E.E.D.
At the core of S.E.E.D.’s financial services is the goal to consistently give honest, transparent financial advice, planning and wealth management services, while providing a fundamental personal finance education that’s lacking in our culture, along the way.
“When we created S.E.E.D. Planning Group [in 2013], I used to say there’s an incredible business to be made in just telling people the truth and helping them move their ball forward. Our goal here has always been to help people,” Maus said.
Neither Travis Maus nor Ryan Berkeley, originally from small towns of outside Broome, had planned on entering the financial industry. Maus studied graphic design and marketing in college, while Berkeley majored in music industry. It was a common interest in personal finance that sparked a desire to help and educate people, bringing both of them to financial planning, and ultimately to Broome. While attending Manhattanville College, Berkeley lived in Brooklyn Heights to pursue opportunities in the music industry.
“I got to understand what living in a large city is like. [After graduation], my wife – who I was dating at the time – had a teaching job in Harpursville so I interviewed here and got a job with a local Broadway producer,” said Berkeley, partner, chief financial officer and wealth manager at S.E.E.D.
Maus, on the other hand, traveled nationwide in search of an ideal marketing position.
“I lived in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. I came back because I needed a job and found an entry-level position at HSBC Finance. They gave me a chance, so I worked my way up and got relocated to Hazleton, PA. After a year there though, I looked around and realized I didn’t have any friends or family around me,” said Maus.
Being at the crossroads of both Philadelphia and New York City, Maus had a choice to make – go to yet another big city, or go home and expand on his finance experience himself.
“I came back to my base – to a place where, even if I didn’t know everybody, I understood the community. One of the benefits of Broome is that we have a certain demeanor about us – the way we all interact and what’s important to us – and that was a big draw to come back,” Maus said.
Maus created S.E.E.D. Financial Strategies, a financial firm with planning, insurance and broker services, which eventually evolved into S.E.E.D. Planning Group. Berkeley and Maus’ service and dedication to the area is illustrated in the standard they hold themselves and the S.E.E.D. Planning Group team to, as well as every decision they make for their company – which all comes back to creating a positive culture within their office and fostering a positive outlook about Broome.
“How do you develop a community? How do you develop a company? It’s about culture. Culture attracts great people. You don’t get great people by taking advantage of them…I think it’s our job to work with the community and understand how to retain this wealth – to keep its wealth local, to build that wealth and use it to develop other opportunities,” Maus said.
“If the community is healthy, the business is healthy. What impacts the community impacts each of us individually,” Berkeley added.
The ideal size of Broome’s community has allowed Berkeley to engage with numerous opportunities outside of work, such as serving on the Town of Colesville Planning Board, being an active member of the Hillcrest Rotary, as well as SUNY Broome’s Jazz Ensemble.
“My wife Quinn and I don’t have enough time with the kids, and what we’re doing, to do the things we want to do here. We’ve got beautiful parks to go hike or go fish in. We take it for granted that we can travel here – that it takes 20 minutes to get home, that it’s quick to go to parks, that we can go to a baseball game without an hour commute to the ballpark,” Ryan Berkeley said.
Maus echoed these sentiments.
“We’re really focused on trying to promote “Why NOT be in Broome?” as opposed to “Why not be someplace else?” You can have it all here. If you want to be around nature, in less than a 20 minute drive from any of Broome County’s major towns, you’re out in the woods. I lived in places where it took an hour and a half to get about a mile,” said Travis Maus.
The values carried out by the people living and working in Broome County is one of this area’s biggest selling points for Maus and Berkeley though, with their own personal values defining their lives, and S.E.E.D. Planning Group as a whole.
“We’ve made a conscious effort to do business here because we identify with the values. We really do appreciate the homegrown values present in Broome County. We have so much to be thankful for. I want to be surrounded by people around here who feel that way,” said Maus.
Berkeley agreed stating, “It’s all about enjoying the opportunities that you have, being appreciative for what you have, surrounding yourself with good people, a good community and enjoying the ride.”