Starting A New Career
Wednesday - January 11, 2006
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Client Eric Kwong with Kathy Snyder and David C. Livingston
of Edward Jones
Five years ago I joined the Investment Representatives Team at Edward Jones. My friend and fellow Rotarian asked me to consider the position for three reasons:
I was 49 years old, had been retired from my first profession for five years, and asking myself and my buddy Albert Bediones why in the world would I want to start a new profession.
First, he said, “You like to help people!” (The YMCA career and the fact that we were both involved in Rotary told him that.)
Second, he said, “You like to teach!” (I was teaching sales and marketing at HPU at the time.)
Third, he said, “You’ve already done what we’re in the business of asking others to do. Put away a little each month to help you ensure a secure financial future!” (My retirement from the YMCA was set to begin in 2006 - I had the financial independence most people only dream about).
I took the bait, and after several interviews I was accepted by the Edward Jones team.
When I joined the Jones team I had a lot of concern about being my own boss, in charge of my own time, able to move in my own direction at my own speed. Having retired after 25 years from the YMCA, then owning a direct-mail advertising company, I wanted to be my own boss. I was a scuba instructor on weekends - my only exercise. Would I have to give that up? I belonged to many nonprofit boards of directors. Would I have the time to give something back to the community? Initially it was a very structured environment - lots of education - like trying to drink water from a fire hydrant. I realized soon that it was the best educational experience I’ve ever had.
Everything I learned I could put to use immediately. It wasn’t philosophical; it was nuts and bolts. The tools we have are incredible.
From forecasting to financial planning, from balancing accounts to proper diversification - all the things I had learned years ago from community leaders who helped me invest funds that were contributed to the YMCA. The major difference is that now I am the investment expert. The buck stops here.
My involvement with nonprofits didn’t diminish, it accelerated. My role began to change from salesperson to adviser. Even the perception of my own family members changed. Few of them ever asked me about advertising advice, but all of them have sought me out for financial advice. The transition was good. The rewards, both emotionally and financially, were significant and after five years I realize it was the best career decision I’ve ever made. Two other interesting things happened - I was diving just as much as I was before, and my TriMark business, although on remote control, was growing every year. The more things I had to do, the more time I found to do them.
When I was a youngster growing up I spent a lot of time with my grandfather. He gave me advice on how to live my life:
1) Save 10 percent of everything you make. It doesn’t matter what you make - it matters what you keep!
2) Do something you like to do for a living - you’ll spend a lot of time doing it so it had better be interesting and fun. If you do it well, the money will come.
3) When you’re feeling down, find a way to help others. It will take your mind off your own problems and it will improve your life and the community you live in.
My grandfather has been gone now for 30 years, but the legacy lives on.
So, when someone gives you an opportunity to change your career path, give them an ear. It may be the best opportunity you’ve ever had for real positive change in your life.
I turned 55 on Christmas and began drawing my YMCA retirement on Jan. 1. I love my career, my home, my diving, and look forward to getting up every day. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Next Week: Mark Yamane, President Hawaii Pacific Federal Credit Union
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