Four-time Olympian Eric Flaim carried the U.S. flag at the opening ceremonies of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. Today, he's carrying the financial hopes of his clients.

Flaim, 44, says applying the same traits of dedication and work ethic that earned him two Olympic medals has yielded the same rewarding results in his ten-year career as a financial planner.

"I've always been pretty focused and determined once I set goals for myself," Flaim said from his office in the Pease International Tradeport district in Portsmouth, N.H.

A New England native and current Stratham, N.H. resident, Flaim is a chartered retirement planning counselor at Ameriprise, one of the country's leading diversified financial services companies. Chartered retirement planning counselors typically work with families and business owners with their investments, retirement planning, college savings, taxation, and estate planning.

Flaim's client work includes financial planning, but he regards his work with small business owners as one of his strong suits. "Their lives are often hectic, so I really try to work with them in areas like risk management, retirement plans, and funding buy/sell agreements," Flaim says. "Since my objective is to help them look beyond their immediate challenges and help them to visualize their future, I work with them to create their personal strategic, solutions-based approach."

Recent extreme volatility in global financial markets forced Flaim to focus more on his clients' current concerns. "Building a plan for protection against life's many risks and uncertainties is in most cases a major priority," Flaim says. "I've been very busy reassuring people that over the long term we'll still achieve their financial goals."

Flaim says he sees his role as financial planner to help clients define their financial objectives in accordance with their personal values.
"For some people, what's most important to them is being able to provide financial security for their children; for others, it's the ability to incorporate charity work into their lives," he says.

Besides providing financial planning, Flaim gives back to his community in a different way by coaching aspiring speed skaters. He recently helped 25 young student-athletes at a Trinity University camp with on-ice training, video analysis, and "dry-land" training that included "plyometric," a method of training muscle elastic strength to increase the explosiveness of their jumps.

Flaim's speed skating students couldn't ask for a better teacher. He participated in four Winter Olympic games--he started on the long track and later switched to the short-track. He won a silver medal in the 1,500-meter long track event at the 1988 Calgary Games, and another silver medal in the 5,000-meter short track relay at the 1994 Lillehammer Games.  

Flaim capped off his Olympic career when he was chosen to be the flag bearer for the U.S. team at the opening ceremonies of the 1998 Nagano Games.

With his Olympic accomplishments in the rearview mirror, Flaim now gets his rewards in other ways. "It's very gratifying to ensure that people who have worked hard for years get to reap the benefits of that work," he says. "And when the financial planning I'm providing helps that goal, it makes my efforts very rewarding."