My Journey to Coyle Financial Counsel - Part 1

My Journey to Coyle Financial Counsel - Part 1

For over 30 years I worked for large, global financial institutions in a variety of capacities, most recently managing bond portfolios for large institutional clients. How is it that I came to work for an innovative advisory firm serving individuals? And what have I learned after two months on the job?

My soul searching began in earnest the day in early 2011 when my employer announced that they were reorganizing the office in Downtown Chicago. The investment professionals were offered the chance to relocate (along with their jobs) to the firm’s global fixed-income headquarters in the heart of New York City. Raised in a small town 35 miles west of Chicago, I married my high school sweetheart, graduated from both the University of Illinois and Northwestern University, worked in Downtown Chicago my entire career and raised a family in the suburbs. My roots go deep in the Midwest. I have nothing against New York, but the decision to stay put was relatively easy for me at this stage in my life.

Now it was time to find another job. I enjoyed managing bond portfolios. I also enjoyed working with my clients, which included large corporations, religious orders, health and welfare funds and foundations. The Credit Crisis, which started in the summer of 2007 (financial stress fractures appear in the credit markets first) and lasted through the first quarter of 2009, was a very tough time to manage money. It was very satisfying to help successfully navigate my clients through that difficult time.

The Credit Crisis was a time of great trust-building and I miss the working relationships that were forged through it all.

It didn’t take long, however, for me to discover that there are very few bond management jobs left in Chicago. So, I updated my resume and began the process of networking with friends, former colleagues and recruiters to get a feel for my prospects for finding employment in the investment business in Chicago.

Early on in the process, while in Wheaton one day, I called a longtime friend, John Dragstrem, seeking wise counsel on navigating a career change. After reconnecting over a cup of coffee, John invited me back to his office to get a demonstration of something he called a Wealth Map. It was very visual, comprehensive and high tech. I was impressed with such a unique way to portray a family’s financial state and future goals.

John invited me back to his office to get a demonstration of something he called a Wealth Map.

Quite unexpectedly, the next day John contacted me to say that he thought I might be a good fit with the firm’s future growth plans, since they were considering adding someone with investment experience someday. We subsequently agreed to pray about the possibility of working together while I continued my job search. As time went on, the prospect of helping individuals and families with their investment decisions became more and more attractive to me. Eventually the decision became obvious and I started work on August 1st.

See Part 2 for the three things that I have learned from Coyle Financial Counsel.

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