If You Are So Smart, Then Why Are You Still Working?
Labor Day 2019
I ran into an old friend at the club that I had not seen for years, a former teammate and now a successful entrepreneur. We caught up on our lives and families, and reminisced a little. Then my friend, upon finding out that I ran a wealth management firm, asked me, “If you are so smart, then why are you still working?” He threw the barb at me in a good-natured manner, and I parried back with a platitude about supporting four kids in college, and we both laughed. It was a good question, but it got under my skin a little, and I spent several days processing his challenge – and since Labor Day is coming up, the topic is very timely
My wife and I were both raised by conservative parents and we followed their example of frugality and avoidance of debt. We had also been “eating our own cooking”, as our family had carefully followed the same advice I have given our clients; saving as much as possible, investing broadly and well, being smart about taxes and wealth planning, owning real estate, and giving back to the community. We had long since reached a level of financial assets that would allow us sufficient income – so then why was I still working?
Thinking through this was an important philosophical exercise, and it helped me outline and identify the reasons for my labor and a provided a narrative as well. At our firm, we spend a lot of time helping our clients prepare for a successful retirement, and in the process get to hear and understand their goals and values. In the same way my friend’s challenging question made me reconsider some of my own goals and values for working.
I feel called to be in this profession. That may sound a little pretentious, but as I look back at my life, I can see the path that led here. It began by opening my first savings account with my Mom when I was only a few years old, an event which I vividly recall and was so impressed by that I doggedly and carefully saved every spare penny that I could as a child. My fascination with numbers and math grew as a nerdy National Merit Scholar student in high school. I would hang out with my father and watched him invest in real estate and manage his own stock portfolio. I wanted to do that too, so I bought my first stock (which I still own today) as a teenager. That foundation coupled with a lifelong desire to help people, enjoyment of meeting others and a great pleasure in teaching and educating about principles of financial success led me to this. I feel blessed to be helping others manage their wealth.
I have observed parallels with clients – someone who is a fantastic team leader, or a gifted entrepreneur, or a talented and creative scientist. It is invigorating and very encouraging to meet with someone who is good at what they do, having fun and enjoying success. No career is perfect and always fun, but if you generally enjoy what you do, that may be a good enough reason to keep on working, even if you do have the financial resources to quit.
Enjoy our clients & Enjoy Helping Them
We greatly appreciate and value our clients, and it brings our whole team joy when they reach their financial goals; retirement/financial independence, paying off a mortgage, paying for kids/grandkids college, buying a vacation home, successful sale of a business or company stock, a profound charitable gift – we celebrate with them, and it feels good that we may have contributed, even a little, to their success.
These are GREAT reasons for working – some of the wonderful families we serve
Enjoyable… in a Geeky Sort of Way
Have to confess that I am a geek about personal finance, economics, and investing. I read voraciously, buy books, take webinars and classes, and actually look forward to learning more about concentrated stock planning, executive benefits, tax planning, and investment ideas. Our whole team gets excited about ideas and strategies that might improve our clients’ financial lives.
Working with a great team at the office also allows me some time to enjoy staying fit, and finding joy in the outdoors by mountain biking and fly-fishing.
Sometimes it can even be all combined together by hiking or fishing or cycling with clients and business associates!
Investing is Fun
This reason for working is easy – researching and making investments is fun (Sounds nerdy, but it is true!) Working allows the luxury of extra income to continue to be an active investor. In my position I get to constantly see all kinds of investment opportunities; stocks, index funds, bonds, private equity, angel & startup, real estate, opportunity zone, multi-family. It is fascinating to analyze these investments for our clients and for my family.
I have been relatively frugal due to my Dutch upbringing, my kids have made fun of me for driving older cars, and for haranguing them to turn the lights off and the heat down, but when it comes to investing, my wife and I are enthusiastic and all-in. The three types of investments I like the most; 1. Investing in the lives of others – my children and family first and foremost, 2. Investing in great community projects and groups, and of course, 3. stocks and real estate. In the Gevers’ family we may scrimp a little on cars, but we sure like adding money to our portfolios or real estate investments.
Platform for Serving, Mentoring, Teaching, Giving
My wife and I have had a number of wonderful opportunities to serve through the years and often those doors open to us because of work-related connections. We are currently serving as board members for Stronger Families https://strongerfamilies.com/ and love to help where we can. Your work may create a platform for serving, mentoring and teaching, and for giving.
Work also allows more income to be generous with – we try to give back through our Ten Percent Promise https://www.geverswealth.com/p/our-ten-percent-promise We get to meet and get involved in many amazing groups through our program.
Our clients have demonstrated amazing generosity with both their time and resources, even in retirement. Of course it is clear that you can continue a lifestyle of helping and giving no matter what stage of life you are in, and whether you are still working or not.
More great reasons for working!
Over the years our whole family has worked at Gevers Wealth Management, LLC. My wife Vivienne is involved in operations and administration, all four of our kids worked in the summers and after school when they were younger helping with various administrative duties. My daughter Gabrielle is doing some amazing work for us now in helping to improve our processes and systems while she goes to grad school. Our son Trey is bringing new insights as he attends business school, and helps at the office around his college football and school schedule.
So, to my friend Todd, and anyone who is interested – those are some reasons why I am still working!
What about you?!
Let me also share a little about the incredible team that I get to work with each day.
Kristy Brown is our Director of Client Experience, and we are so thankful that she decided to leave her home state of Oklahoma and bring her 20+ years experience in the investment world to join our firm. She and her husband Pat have had an action-packed year filled with travel, family and the outdoors. The Brown’s just came back from an adventure in Australia where they celebrated their daughter’s graduation from high school, and she is shedding a few tears as Madie will be leaving soon for an internship in Melbourne as part of her degree program at WSU. They are also cheering on son Duke (whom you may have met at the office last winter) who plays professional baseball and is hoping that his pitching talent will open the door to a major league career. They are also hikers and frequently found on the trails with their dogs, and Kristy is also North Bend Chili-Cookoff champion ?
Our clients and team find it a delight to be around Kristy. She is an interesting person with a big heart who loves people and is dedicated to helping our clients.
Garrett Grigas is our analyst and crams studies, work and experiences into his every waking hour. He just passed his level III CFA exam in June, for which he studied 20+ hours a week for the last year. In between studying and client meetings here, he jetted across the globe for trips to Jordan, Spain, Poland, Paris, Peru, Hawaii, Alaska and Boise. He also lifts weights, open water swims, plays basketball and soccer and is learning how to flyfish and mountain bike. He is always open for any new adventure. Garrett is dedicated to serving our clients, and showed it this winter when he walked to work in the snow to man the office when no one else was able to get through for several days.
Garrett is highly intelligent and an interesting person to have a conversation with because of his wide breadth of education and experiences. He is also a very nice man, and a pleasure to work together with. Ask him about his travel plans the next time you are in!
Anna Williams is a client service associate and an important part of our team. You may not have met her in person as she currently lives in Alaska and works remotely. Her overall knowledge & experience in wealth management and investments and extensive experience in operations is extremely valuable. Anna and husband Josh just celebrated the birth of their first child, a son Luke. They are also getting ready to move to California where Josh will next be stationed for his military career.
Anna was working at home when her water broke and she went into labor. In a remarkable display of dedication, she decided that she had to first complete a stack of ten client cases she was working on before she headed to the hospital! Wow – I was amazed at her work ethic - and NO I do not encourage anyone else to do that! ? Anna is motivated, diligent, very intelligent, a great Mom and we are blessed that she is part of our team.
Barbara Stocking is behind the scenes handling our payroll, bookkeeping and financial records. Barbara is a world traveler as well and has taken several recent trips to Europe with her family. She is diligent, thorough and accurate, and a pleasure to work with.
Most of you remember Dan Garland, CFA. Dan was a full-time employee for many years and has gone on to a great career working in institutional data analysis in senior positions at Frank Russell and T-Mobile. Dan still works with us on a contract consulting basis, and his technical talents are very helpful. Besides his busy work career, Dan and his wife have two small boys, serve on the children’s ministry at church, and in his spare time he just completed building a new home in Kirkland. We are privileged to still be able to occasionally take advantage of his considerable talents.
Vivienne, Gabrielle & Trey - Working with your family makes the time fly and the days sweet! Gabrielle is starting grad school at Fuller Theological Seminary and works here while on breaks, and remotely while at school. Many of you remember and enjoyed the apples from her Apple Girl business that she started and ran in sixth grade, and that ended up paying for part of her college. She is a young renaissance lady: a phenomenal high school and college athlete, summa cum laude graduate, likes to cook and makes her own beer & wine, loves backpacking and skydiving, also worked at a homeless shelter, and is delightful to be with. Her brother Trey is also a gifted athlete and currently plays wide receiver for the University of Redlands in So Cal where he is majoring in business. Trey also snowboards, wake surfs, occasionally goes mountain biking with dad, and plays a strong game of ping pong. He is a drone pilot and talented videographer and photographer. Of course both of them each opened their own investment accounts when they were very young. Both Trey & Gabrielle bring youth and perspective and new ideas to the firm. We are using their talents to try and improve and enhance our services to our clients. Vivienne is my wonderful, talented and smart wife – not enough words to praise her.? My advice to others, try to marry UP if you can! I love you sweetie and it is fun to share the business with you.
Twenty-five years in business and this is the best group of people I have ever had the privilege to work with. It is a treat to come to work with these folks every day – and we all enjoy serving you.
“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch or that which others do for us which makes us happy; it is that which we think and feel and do, first for the other fellow and then for ourselves.”
“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along those sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”
Happy Labor Day – hope you and your loved ones have had a great summer! Our whole team is looking forward to seeing you again at our next meeting.
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