My story is a bit of an odd one, and it even involves working at Hamilton for a while. After graduation in 1972, I went through the General Electric financial management training program. I was with GE from 1972 to 1975, two years in Schenectady, NY, and one in San Jose, CA. While in San Jose, I attended a Hamilton alumni event in San Francisco and ran into Sid Wertimer and Martin Caravano. They told me about a job opening in the Advancement Office as the alumni director. I applied for the position, flew back east for some interviews, and pretty soon I was back in Clinton.
After four years in what was then called communications and development, I moved on to Richmond, VA. For a short time, I worked for a minor league hockey team doing promotional work. In the course of working that job, I bumped into a former Cornell hockey player who was kind enough to do some business with me. It turned out that he was a recruiter and assistant manager for a financial services firm called Manulife. After several phone conversations and meetings, he encouraged me to think about changing careers and to pursue financial planning. I followed his lead and started working at Manulife in April 1980.
That began a 35-year career as a financial advisor, primarily working with families in and around Richmond. I built my business through referrals, and after a couple of years, I was quite sure that I wanted it to be my career. It was a great job because I loved running my own practice, having clients, and being responsible for the day-to-day decisions of running a small business. I really like people, and love hearing their stories. Helping people with their financial goals and objectives was both stimulating and creative.
I was an in-house advisor for the first half of my career and then set up my own shop in the late 1990s. Eventually, I brought in three other people to help me with my growing practice. Those folks have now taken over the business, allowing me to retire about five years ago.
In retirement, I still do some volunteer work that relates to both my financial advising career and my fundraising duties at Hamilton. I really like the subject of deferred giving, and have helped some nonprofits set up legacy societies that encourage their supporters to consider charitable gifts at death. Kind of a weird niche hobby for a retiree, but I really enjoy it.
I would welcome the opportunity to talk with Hamilton students about either financial planning or development work.