Edited 07-09-2019

Making the Dough Rise

51 years and counting

by Phyl Newbeck

flood0719Richard W. (Ric) Flood (left) launched his financial services career in 1968 with a job at Connecticut General Life (now Cigna). In 1982, Flood Financial Services was born. Joseph D. Malboeuf, now his partner at the South Burlington firm, joined him in 2010.

Richard (Ric) Flood has been in the financial planning business for 51 years, but he isn’t ready to call it a career. He says the only day his late father didn’t work was the day he died, and although Flood doesn’t plan to take things that far, he believes that as long as what he does is fulfilling and rewarding, there’s no need to retire.

Flood was born in Bronxville, New York, and raised in Yonkers but Vermont was in his blood.

“In 1955, my brother took a two-week vacation to Malletts Bay and he got homesick,” Flood recalls. “My mother and I came up to visit and she fell in love with the place. so we started coming here for vacations. In 1958, my father built a cottage. We recently tore the old building down and rebuilt it, and now my children and grandchildren enjoy it.”

Flood’s father founded Pelham Funeral Home in 1945, and his mother was also a funeral director. Thanks to the business, Flood got to sit behind the first base dugout at Yankee Stadium for roughly 20 games a year, often accompanied by people like the parish priest or the police commissioner. He has a baseball signed by some of the greats of that era including Tony Kubek, Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle, Elston Howard, and Yogi Berra, but he has abandoned his pinstriped youth and says he now roots for the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, and Celtics.

Flood’s family has a long history at the University of Vermont. His great-grandfather graduated from the university in 1888 (“and in 1892 from medical school,” Flood says), and his grandfather followed in 1912. Things skipped a generation, then Flood’s brother (the late Deane Flood) was a 1964 graduate, followed by Flood in 1967. His wife, Teena, is a 1976 grad, and the next generation has already continued the tradition with his nephew Deane Junior’s crossing of the stage for his diploma in 1992.

Flood met Teena when he served on the board of the Alumni Council and she walked into a cocktail party at the Alumni House. “I managed to get her name and phone number,” he recalls, “and three weeks later we went on our first date.” Although Teena was earning her MBA at New York University, they found time to see each other and married in 1980. Their daughter, Megan, was born three years later.

Flood studied economics and political science with the thought of becoming a lawyer, but after four years of college he wanted a break from school. He landed a job with New England Telephone in Burlington as part of its management development program.

“Their idea was to throw you in the water and see if you could swim,” he says. “Six weeks after graduation I was managing five foremen and 86 craftsmen. They wanted to see if you could handle management. After six months I knew I didn’t want to work for a public entity with a strong union. I wanted a profession where I would be rewarded based solely on my abilities.”

In March of 1968, the union went on strike. “Life threw me a curve,” Flood says, “and I climbed telephone poles for the next six months. Because I was single, they shipped me out of town and I got to see a lot of Vermont from the top of the poles. It was a really great experience but it also taught me that I didn’t want to do manual labor.”

Flood took a job with Connecticut General Life (now Cigna), which he praises for its training program. Three years later, he joined Smith, Bell and Thompson, where he started the firm’s life, health, and financial services division. In 1979, he moved to a national brokerage firm in Exeter, New Hampshire.

He and Teena missed Vermont, though, so in 1982, they moved back, and he hung out his shingle as Flood Financial Services at the Chace Mill with Teena as the office manager and Flood as the sole producer.

In 1995, the company moved to its current location in South Burlington, just off Shelburne Road. “Until 2013, I was the only producer, and we had five support people,” he says. “I also taught financial planning from 1990 to 2002. We realized back in the late 1980s that a lot of consumers knew very little about financial planning, and we saw a great need for education.”

He taught close to 6,000 Vermonters how to plan for their financial future, giving seminars at St. Michael’s and Champlain College and to groups as diverse as Ben & Jerry’s, the Vermont National Guard, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, BioTek Instruments, and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “It was a game changer,” Flood says. “We went from a couple hundred clients to almost 1,700. I was having 30 face-to-face appointments each week.”

Colin Rehkugler of Charlotte has received advice from Flood for more than a decade and says the first word that comes to mind when describing him is integrity. “He really bends over backwards to make my financial world work.,” Rehkugler says. “He has earned my trust by being consistent and professional. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

In 2010, Flood had what he refers to as a “minor hiccup”: a staph infection that left him hospitalized for 28 days. “I almost bought the farm,” he says, “but I came back 100 percent.” Realizing that he had to think about succession at the firm, he took Joseph Malboeuf on board with the caveat that, if Megan ever wanted to leave her financial services job in Boston, she would also join the company. In 2018, Megan did just that, selling her condo and building a house in Vermont.

Megan and Joe are joined by Bryan DesLauriers, who joined in July 2014, and three support people, helping serve more than 1,500 clients. One of those support people is Rhonda Remillard, who came to work 18 years ago as an intern fresh out of Champlain College. “This place wouldn’t operate without her,” says Flood.

“We concentrate on financial, estate, and retirement planning, as well as life, disability, and long-term-care insurance. The bottom line is we don’t have anything product-wise that is different from anybody else.”

Rick Royer of Colchester hired Flood in 2011 on the recommendation of a good friend, and since then, Royer has been the one recommending Flood. “Ric Flood is a man I hold in very high regard,” says Royer, who previously worked with other advisors but says Flood has outperformed them all. “To be in business as long as he has is testament to his code of ethics and his capabilities.”

Flood’s office is filled with golf balls, including those from the 34 PGA championship courses where he has played. He tries to play four rounds a week, including early tee times, which allows him to be back at the office before lunch.

“I’m not that good a golfer,” he says, “but I really love the game.” Teena is an avid cyclist, so years ago she promised that she would start golfing with Flood if he would start cycling with her. “We ride twice a week all summer and probably put at least 1,500 miles on our bikes,” Flood says wryly, “and if it’s not raining, Teena will play nine holes of couples golf once a year.”

Despite the lack of reciprocity, Flood concedes that cycling has been good for him. He and Teena are part of a Wednesday night cycling group and take vacations with Vermont Bicycle Tours. This September they will be riding in the Czech Republic near the Danube River. In Vermont, they enjoy riding from their home in Charlotte through Shelburne and Ferrisburgh, with some forays to the Champlain Islands. Another hobby they share is their love of boating on Lake Champlain.

Working as a family hasn’t been a problem for the Floods. “When it was just my wife and I starting out,” he says, “we went through about five iterations of how we could work together and not butt heads, and we’ve mastered it.” As business manager, Teena, who was in Ireland at press time, is responsible for running the business while Flood meets with clients.

Megan spent 12 years in the industry before joining the firm, so he doesn’t interfere with her work. “I’ve also reached the point in life where I realize there may be better ways to do things than my way,” Flood says. “We get smarter as we get older.”

He recently turned 74, and although he has no interest in retirement, he is hoping to spend more time travelling with Teena and playing golf. “As long as my mind and body hold up and I enjoy it, I’ll keep doing this,” he says.

Flood is happy that his job allows him to help people prepare for the future. “Our time on this earth is short, and giving back something to other people is the greatest gift we have. Being able to give the knowledge and information that we have to clients who don’t have the time, energy, or desire to do it on their own is very fulfilling and rewarding,” he says. “It’s helping people achieve their goals, educate their kids and retire in comfort.” •