I have worked as a financial advisor since 1993, taught CPA and attorney financial ethics in North Carolina for the last 10 years, and foresaw the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
I was born in 1967, in Livermore, California.
I don't remember, but we trick or treated at John Madden's house.
My father, a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering, was working at the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Test Lab in Livermore, California. His father was an artilleryman in the Russian Revolution, tried and failed to get into the U.S. when it was over and ended up in Havana, Cuba, where my dad was born.
My mom grew up in Brooklyn. Her father owned a jewelry store and died of a heart attack in his late 40’s. My three surviving grandparents retired in South Miami Beach.
My Mom's brother says we are direct descendants of Genghis Khan. (I cannot confirm the veracity of the item)
During high school in Bethesda Maryland, I was a cashier and a warehouse worker at Hechinger’s, a gas station attendant at an Exxon Station, an automotive tire changer at Goodyear, and an auto parts salesman at High Gear.
I was on the wrestling team before prioritizing weight loss over academics.
While spending a miserable year at a boarding school in Maine after, I was on the wrestling, football and lacrosse teams.
The summer after boarding school, while living at the beach in Ocean City Maryland with some guys from Sweden, I was a hamburger flipper at Roy Rodgers for about four hours, an arcade attendant, a dishwasher, a restaurant cashier at Tony's Pizza, a waiter, and an amusement park ride operator at the Jolly Rodger.(when there’s nobody in them, you can swim under the boats at the log flume, and the best time to go on a roller coaster is when the tracks are wet; sit in the last car facing backwards)
When I went back to high school in Bethesda, a different one, I made pizza, sold auto parts at High Gear, worked construction, was an auto mechanic apprentice at a gas station, cleaned durable healthcare products (wheelchairs, bedpans walkers etc…), sold knifes for Cutco and waited tables at an all you can eat seafood restaurant.
When I was a mechanic’s apprentice, my boss had me doing inspections on motor homes. I would drive these huge motor homes about 15 miles away to pick up other ones, bring them back, inspect them, and then take them for other ones. I thought the motor home dealership was using my boss to do its inspections for the wrong reasons, amongst other instances, when I was almost asphyxiated underneath one of them because of exhaust leaks and drove it back that afternoon unfixed with a passing inspection sticker on it.
I specialized in changing out clutches on Ford Mustangs, mostly because the clutches seemed to go out in them rather regularly.
The day before football tryouts for my senior year, two friends and I took a ride to West Virginia to see a car race. On the way back, we drove off the road at a relatively high speed into a boulder. I was in the front passenger seat of an old barracuda with a metal dash board. I smashed my face and dislocated my shoulder. They had to wire my face back together and it took about 9 months for my arm to work again. I still can't really do a Boy Scout sign with my right hand.
After I recovered, I handled deliveries for a law firm, sometimes on a motorcycle, around greater Washington D.C. during the height of Marion Barry’s tumultuous reign.
From Silver Springs, Maryland, it was about a 12 mile trip into the DC courthouses etc... and back, but I charged for the 65 mile ride outside the beltway into Virginia and around. More profitable with the motorcycle. (Honda 750K model, one of the last with a kick starter.)
I started driving in a Toyota Corona, for which I acquired a "used" Bloupunct radio via a friend's illegal occupation of sawzawing them out of dashboards in the middle of the night. Then got my brother's 1971 Cougar XR7, which I sanded down and left primer grey, a 1969 Camaro, a Chevy Blazer, a YZ80, and after college, a two door Jeep Cherokee to sell copiers out of.
In my 5 ½ years of college, of which I thoroughly enjoyed, (I never took my SAT’s, went to Montgomery County Community College for one semester and transferred to Frostburg State University in western Maryland) I double majored in philosophy and speech communications with a minor in public relations, joined a local off campus fraternity, met my wife, tried multi level marketing with NuSkin, waited tables, washed cars, drove limo’s at funerals, and got a real estate license that I never did anything with.
After I graduated from college during the semi-jobless recovery of 1990 right after the first gulf war, I went back to Bethesda and got a job selling copiers with Lanier. When my soon to be bride got out of school with her masters in Psychology, I transferred to Greensboro, NC, because she wanted to get her doctorate and we had never met anyone who said that they didn’t like North Carolina.
When I arrived in Greensboro, I got a left over copier sales territory that nobody wanted because there was no business to do in it so I ended up selling above ground aluminum swimming pools (A bait and switch one call close sales job) until the end of the summer, when an overwhelming majority of swimming pool consumers lost their inclination to purchase a swimming pool until the next summer. Through a co-worker, I briefly got a job selling vinyl siding for Sears, which involved doing relatively bad things to the relatively elderly. I sold Collier’s encyclopedias within the space of a year before I felt I could reapply for a better job in the financial services industry, which very looked for those with sales experience.
I ended up waiting tables and bartending at a minority owned restaurant called Salt Marsh Willies on Holden Road and adjoining nightclub called Spices while studying for my life insurance sales license for the Prudential Life Insurance Company. The rule was that you were not supposed to take out the trash through the back door without somebody with the gun.
I was at Prudential Life long enough to get the one year bonus, at which time I was hired by J. C. Bradford and Company to be an “Investment Representative” (Stock Broker).
One day at work I found out that a co-worker named Gerad Robinson got Lou Gehrig’s disease. I think he was 34 at the time and just had his third kid. I went home to the townhouse that we owned and I told my wife robin that it was time to buy that house that we couldn’t afford.
After we bought the house, I got a great offer with a signing bonus at Merrill Lynch.
In March, 2001, I was offered a job with IJL/Wachovia, with a $40,000 signing bonus. Two weeks after I started at IJL/Wachovia, Wachovia agreed to merge/ be bought by First Union. SunTrust tried a hostile takeover a couple of weeks later, and the shareholder vote was won by First Union at the end of August, 11 days before September 11, 2001. I had the corner office on the first floor of the Jefferson Pilot Building facing Stumble Stilskins.
I have been called a Stockbroker, a Financial Planner, Investment Representative, Investment Broker, Financial Consultant, Financial Advisor, Investment Consultant, Vice President
of Investments, President, Chief Economist and some other names of a disparaging nature.
All the titles represent pretty much the same thing: try to make sure my clients maintain their needs and achieve as much their wants in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of risk while feeding my family at the same time.
The biggest career mistake I have ever made was to teach ethics to CPAs and attorneys. Once I started teaching, and telling stories of work and play etc..., I started trying to live by what I was saying.
My wife Robin works with Moms at the YWCA.
Two Kids, three dogs, two cats and a 14 year old hermit crab we got at the beach.
House; 1950 square feet.
We had a travel trailer at Lake Myers RV Resort in Mocksville for ten years. Car port for an awning. Wood deck to drive the topless 1978 Honda gas go cart (golf cart that's not at a golf course) up on underneath. Kids learned to ride bikes there.
I speak on financial planning, investment management and economics in financial workshops, CPA and attorney seminars, civic clubs, conventions, non-profit organizations and professional business groups.