When his military pension wasn’t enough to support our family, my father went into life insurance. He realized no one was coordinating all of the separate aspects of families’ financial planning. The Glass Steagall Act was still in effect, and it kept all financial companies separate; insurance was separate from banks were separate from investment firms.
He had a wall in his conference room painted black, and he would bring in clients—plus their banker, their accountant, their attorney, their stockbroker— and together, they’d all work out a strategic plan, which my father would draw out in chalk on the black wall. When the meeting was over, he’d take a Polaroid of the wall for every party, so that everyone could execute their part.
That was the background that I grew up in, and my goal has always been to be that central source for families who come to Gatewood. I want to identify what our clients’ goals and objectives are and have an actual plan, with trackable metrics, so they can determine if they’re on-track or off-track—similar to a business plan. But there’s more to it than that.
Our wealth is determined by our choices—our behaviors. We choose what house we’ll live in, what car we’ll drive, what schools our children attend. Wealth is primarily a factor of our behaviors around money. So our firm’s greatest value is in our behavioral coaching—investor-behavior coaching—to help our clients make the decisions that really will help them to grow and protect their wealth over time.
Over the last 30 years, the U.S. has gone from being the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation in the world. Gatewood is on a mission to share our expertise with families, helping them to become and remain self-reliant so they can give purpose to their money—because when we help people grow and maintain their wealth, we are helping society. We’re helping people create capital and to be capital contributors.
Our vision is to become a nationally recognized, comprehensive financialplanning and investment management brand at the crossroads where our clients’ lives intersect with wealth planning, integrated technology, and financial behavioral coaching. We want to build a platform that connects all three of these in a single, integrated view: a dashboard of clearly defined goals with realtime trackable metrics, scenario analysis, and advisor access. This way people can track improvements through real-time personalized guidance, anywhere and anytime and on any device.
When I started in the industry, this sort of information was hard to find. Today, the problem is that information is so abundant, how do you know what’s relevant? How do you even know what’s real?
Information is not what makes people wealthy. It’s the decisions they make that make them wealthy or poor. Everyone knows what they need to do to remain physically fit. The information doesn’t make them fit; they have to put it into practice. What we’re doing is enabling them to leverage their financial information to make the best decisions they can.
The challenge in our industry is that large firms have legacy systems, so it’s very difficult to change to one that is truly current and much more enabling and efficient, like the platform we’re developing. We’re becoming the disruptors in our space and leading our clients to the kind of wealth that gives their money purpose.