A third-generation financial planner with a passion for educating, Jacob Gold tells ThinkAdvisor in an interview, “I’m trying to do my part to further the cause of spreading financial literacy to the masses.”
It’s safe to say that a talent for financial planning seems to be in Gold’s DNA. His grandfather and father were both planners, and now his 18-year-old son is his apprentice.
An adjunct professor at Arizona State University, Gold, who is founder, chair and CEO of Jacob Gold & Associates, created a new bachelor’s degree, in personal financial management, for the college. It was available for the first time last year.
Students who earn the degree are permitted to take the certified financial planner exam immediately after graduation.
Gold recently became the recipient of a ThinkAdvisor LUMINARIES award in thought leadership for his innovation, as well as another LUMINARIES award for advisor growth.
The hybrid FA manages about $240 million in client assets; two other planners working under him manage approximately $39 million each.
The boutique firm’s client list numbers 450 to 500 households of mostly retired or about-to-retire people in their 70s.
Educating clients is critical, Gold says. To be sure, not only is it good for them, it’s good for his five-person boutique practice too:
“It creates a bond, and it’s a very effective way to keep assets sticky,” he says.
Gold’s enthusiasm for education extends to teaching executives of large corporations how to manage their personal finances. This also allows him to meet younger prospects.
The Gold family’s evolution as planners is a microcosm of financial services’ evolution in compensation: Gold’s grandfather focused mostly on insurance products; his father was a transactional broker; Gold’s comp is based on assets under management.
He began apprenticing to his father when he was just 10 years old. Indeed, all three of his children — two of them daughters — have followed in his footsteps.
At 10, they ceremoniously don a Brooks Brothers suit jacket — Dad has a matching one — and are allowed to go to the office and sit in on Gold’s client meetings.
A fourth-generation Arizonan (“My mom’s ancestors literally came in on the wagons”), Gold was Series 7-licensed at 21 and worked in his father’s firm for the next six years.
But no longer wanting to be a broker and eager to “get out from behind [his father’s] shadow and create something of [his] own,” as he puts it, he indeed created something of his own: He left the firm to form a brand-new practice.
ThinkAdvisor recently interviewed the CFP by phone. He was speaking from Scottsdale, Arizona, where he is based. Discussing his son’s intention to become a financial planner, he said:
“Like me, he’s going to have to reinvent a new career within the existing financial services space.”
Do his daughters aspire to be planners too? Replied Gold: “They look at it as a good Plan B.”
Here are highlights of our interview:
THINKADVISOR: What differentiates your practice from others?
JACOB GOLD: We lead with education. It’s all about being financially responsible. I’m trying to do my part to further the cause of spreading financial literacy to the masses.
You just won a ThinkAdvisor LUMINARIES award for thought leadership. Please explain what led to your being honored with that recognition.
When I started teaching as an adjunct professor of finance at Arizona State University six years ago, I proposed creating a personal financial planning degree that would allow students to sit for the CFP examination immediately upon graduation.
It took a good four years working with the president of the school and others, including the law school and accounting department, to create the course, and then working with the CFP Board.
Turning to client education, what else does it accomplish?
It creates a bond between the client and us because they appreciate knowing things they never understood before.
The intimidation factor goes away. They really feel that we’re partners and can work together as partners.
In addition, it’s a very effective way for us to keep assets sticky. The clients know that we really want to empower them and that everything else is secondary.
What prompted you to get into the industry?
I’m a third-generation financial planner. My grandfather Everett Gold was a planner. He trained my dad, Kelvin William Gold, and my dad trained me.
I started as an apprentice to my father when I was 10 years old. Now, my son Kelvin, who’s 18 and a freshman at Arizona State University, has been apprenticing to me.
Did he start when he was 10 years old?
Yes, and my two daughters as well. As soon as they each turned 10, the kids could start coming into the office. It’s a big day to be working with Dad.
To mark the occasion, they put on a special Brooks Brothers suit jacket. I have a matching one. It’s very ceremonial.
My youngest, Bella, just turned 10 this year. It was a big deal for her to come to work with Dad and sit by me in my meetings.
You’re 43. How long have you been a planner?