Even as a youngster, James R. Veal liked math and science. So when he went to college, he majored in engineering. But as with so many young people finding their way in the world, a chance encounter changed his career plans. While in college, a friend introduced him to a stockbroker. Soon after, he realized how a career in finance could give him the chance to help people and build a profitable business, and so he promptly switched his major to business and finance.
“I liked it because it dealt with people,” he says. “I’m people oriented. And the idea of helping people financially as well as looking at this business as an entrepreneur, it felt better than being an engineer in a laboratory.”
So, 15 years ago, Veal started as a “rookie broker” at a small investment banking firm on Wall Street. He then went on to work as a financial consultant with a major bank as well as a number of independent broker-dealers.
Three years ago, he decided to strike out on his own and opened his own independent financial planning and investment firm in his native Philadelphia, JRV Wealth Management Group, LLC.
Today, he manages roughly $10 million in assets for his clients, 85 percent of whom are African-Americans. Predominately, his clients are boomers, seniors and senior African-American women.
Outside the business, Veal volunteers his time to teach courses on financial literacy at Temple University and at a local church.
In the first part of LifeHealthPro’s conversation with Veal, he speaks about the challenges African-Americans face in retirement and strategies to overcome them.
SMA: What are some of the notable risks African-American’s face in retirement?
James R. Veal: There are serious challenges for most people in the retirement, but the African-American community and other ethnic groups face a larger challenge because of the lack of financial planning in the early stages of their employment. Much of their worries, I believe, will be centered around the possibility of outliving their savings.