Meet The Rice Family
THE RICE FAMILY
onald Rice grew up in Sumiton, Alabama. His mom was a nurse and his father owned a convenience store and chicken houses. Gwen grew up on Smith Lake in Curry, Alabama. Her parents began one of the first dry boat docks on Smith Lake-Richard’s Clearwater Resort. Until they sold it to retire, they owned it and also operated one of the only cafes on the lake.
Don and Gwen met at Walker College and again at The University of Alabama. After graduation, Donald entered the financial industry and Gwen into her own field. They later began dating and married. He was fortunate to receive some of the best training possible in the areas of pension planning, estate planning, insurance and investments. He even entered Birmingham School of Law and attended classes at night in order to further his education on income tax and estate tax planning. In the 1970’s he served the financial industry with huge success that continued into the 1980’s. By then however, he started to see the industry and laws beginning to change quite rapidly.
Starting a new business is never easy. It’s difficult to take a chance in the mid-stream of life. Sticking with the safety of a real job gave comfort in knowing that the bills could be paid. Donald and Gwen had three children by 1989 that were ages of 6, 10 and 13; which made it even more difficult to make a change midlife. But because he could foresee the financial industry changing already, he began to make the transition from a brokerage sales job to beginning a Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) Firm with a fee only concept. This business was highly risky and there weren’t many in the financial world doing it yet.
But after praying about it, that was exactly what Donald and Gwen decided were best for their clients. Don and Gwen started their business from their home, with Gwen as the support person and Donald prospecting the potential market. During this time, Donald also realized the importance in obtaining more education so he studied and sat for the CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designation.
Within a year they had hired a para-planner and moved the business from their home to the SouthBridge Building in Birmingham, AL all thanks to Charlie Nowlin with Nowlin & Associates. Mr. Nowlin gave up part of his offices and the office next door in order to allow them to expand their business. God was blessing their leap of faith, but it wasn’t without some difficulties along the way. Most of the difficulties came when working with brokerage companies because the companies were still struggling with the purposes of an RIA firm. They also had difficulty with ria regulations vs their brokerage rules.
Donald began doing educational financial planning seminars at companies with employees and executives in an effort to try and assist them in understanding their own benefits. However, it was a seminar he did for Alabama Power that made him recognize the importance of providing these seminars as a benefit to the company’s employees. He was soon invited to do seminars for Southern Company Services, Southern Company, Bell South (now AT&T), BE&K and Reynolds Aluminum, just to name a few.
Over whelmed with the volume of requests, Donald realized that he needed more help in the form of another advisor, but knew that it had to be the right person. He approached another CFP in the Nowlin organization. In 1992, Richard (Ricky) Brooks joined Donald and they decided to form a company named “Brooks Rice & Associates”. They applied directly to the Securities and Exchange Commission for a License as a Registered Investment Advisor. That License was granted on September 29th 1992.
Donald and Ricky did very well in business over the next few years. However, they had to make a big decision in 1995 when a client decided to sell his franchised business. Brooks Rice & Associates had clients invested in the franchise business; Express Oil. Prior to meeting Donald, Ricky already had a franchisee shop with another partner and wanted to purchase the franchisor. It was going to take a lot money to make this purchased but it was accomplished. But then came the problem. We were advised that it was a conflict of interest to own the franchisor dealership and to have clients invested in the business. The solution was to split the ownerships prior to closing. Ricky decided he wanted the Express Oil franchisor dealership. So Donald decided to become the sole owner of Brooks Rice & Associates.
Donald then took on two of the young CPA’s as junior partners that already worked for their company. He changed the name of Brooks Rice & Associates to Money Management Services, Inc. in 1996.
In 1998 Donald’s & Gwen’s daughter Audrea Rice came into the business with a B.S. degree from the University of Alabama in Consumer Sciences “Financial Planning”. Early in 2001 Gwen Rice approached their son Andrew (Andy) Rice about taking an accounting course while in college. Andy enjoyed the course so much that he changed his major and progressed to a degree in Public Accounting and officially joined the firm in 2003.
In 2005, Donald’s partners Todd Holder & David Painter approached him wanting to purchase more interest in the company. After lots of discussion, Donald decided it was best to either purchase their interest in Money Management Services, Inc. or sale them their portion. The later was achieved in September 2005. Later in early 2007 it was mutually agreed they could form their own company and leave Money Management Services, Inc. All the employee but one decided to stay with Money Management Services, Inc.
Today the Rice’s run a unique company with two of their children, Audrea Rice Robbins and Andrew (Andy) Rice. Their youngest daughter, Aonya Rice Gray decided to go into the medical field as an Occupational Therapist and currently works at Children’s Hospital. Today the Rice’s still enjoy their work and seeing their clients. But nothing compares to their love for their 3 children and 9 grandchildren. (yes, that last sentence may have been slightly edited by one of their children)