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My “Why” Story – Circa 2010

My “Why” story, circa 2010: The story of a career change

I am fond of saying that I rarely do something for only one reason. My decision to change careers and become a financial advisor is no exception. After 15 years in the tech world, I recognized that my chosen career path was not fulfilling in the way that I wanted it to be. Through long soul searching conversations with my wife, colleagues, and friends, I inherently knew that any change would have to live up to three standards: value, meaning, relevance.

In a parallel and serendipitous set of events, I was approached by a family member that was aware of my affinity for the financial markets. It was early in 2008. The markets had been falling since late 2007, and had further to go. My family member had fairly simple questions and needed honest answers: Am I doing well? (In my opinion, no.) Am I getting sound advice? (In my opinion, no.) Am I well diversified and holding the right types of investments? (In my opinion, no.) Could I be doing better? (In my opinion, yes.) Do I have enough money to support my retirement? (Most likely, yes.)

That portfolio belonged to my grandparents. They were my first client, and I am eternally grateful for some of the lessons that I learned from them. They modeled some incredible behavior (personal, and as well as financial), and from who I developed my first mantra for thinking about client advice: is this something I would do for my grandparents?

This project I embarked on with them, finding and framing answers to important questions, was a pivotal moment for me. I found the experience to be thoroughly rewarding. For me, it was as if a light had been turned on in a dark room. I realized that by basing a financial advisory business on honest and relevant advice, I could deliver significant value and develop meaningful relationships with the people I worked with while having a positive and sometimes dramatic impact on their lives. I also realized that in a time of uncertainty and sometimes turbulent markets, that these services were relevant to almost everyone I knew.

I believe in a few fundamental principles of personal finance and investing: live below your means, revisit your goals regularly, invest wisely and for the long term, re-balance and reevaluate your investments at regular intervals.

These might seem like simple concepts on the surface, but in everyday life they are often difficult to implement and live by. Simple, but not easy.

I strongly believe that my number one priority is to give honest and accurate advice that always serves the best interests of the client. I enjoy helping people plan and invest to achieve their financial goals.

If that is the kind of relationship you would like to have with a financial advisor, I look forward to talking to you.

Chris Duke
August 31, 2010