We asked Brett about how he got to where he is today…
Q. Let’s start with the basics. Where are you from and where did you go to school?
A. Born in a small fishing village just outside of the great Redwood Forest in Fortuna, California on July 19, 1960, I graduated from Libertyville, High School just outside of Chicago, IL. I received my Bachelor’s of Science at Mac Murray College in Business Management, Accounting and Economics.
Q. How did you get interested in the Financial Industry?
A. I attended Duke University’s prestigious Fuqua School of Business. At Duke, I was President of their IBM Users Group while attending the MBA program in the early 1980s. In that capacity, I assisted some seasoned financial advisors in automating their office using IBM Personal Computers. I developed an automation program to manage their client relationships and investment modeling. As I worked on the project I found my life’s calling.
Q. What brought you to Minnesota?
A. I came to Minneapolis to do a consulting project in the fall of 1986 and fell in love with the city, realizing I wanted to raise a family here. I moved to Minneapolis and entered the Prudential Securities Training Program in New York City. Within four hours of landing, I got a job teaching aerobics on Wall Street. I studied hard, got lots of exercise and developed prospects back in Minnesota. Upon returning to Minneapolis, I immediately worked to develop new clients and completed the Prudential Securities internship in May of 1988. In my first year in production, I became one of their top advisors in the Twin Cities.
Q. What prompted you to write your first book?
A. In 1990, one of my favorite clients passed away. On the client’s deathbed, I promised to help his wife live from the returns of their assets. Right away I learned WHY he was concerned. She quickly started spending ALL their hard-earned savings. Knowing this sacred promise could not be kept; I decided to write a book to help others avoid making the same poor investment decisions as penitence for the broken promise.
Q. How did you come to join United Planners?
A. We were an early adopter as a fee-based investment advisor. We decided to move to the independent channel, and in 2016 we contacted an industry expert and asked them to recommend a great Broker/Dealer. They suggested United Planners.
Q. Who would you consider to be your Mentors?
A. My life mentor is Ben Franklin. I cannot think of anyone who had accomplished more in a lifetime than good old Ben. Ben Franklin said that one of the keys to a life well lived is to find seven of the smartest, value-centered people and grow old together with them. It may take a lifetime but as you find them; your life will expand in many ways. If you read my book, “Your Guide to Financial Freedom,” Chapter One is about properly using mentors, setting up a compelling future over a 10 year, 5 year, 3 year and one year plan. I have also modeled my life after reading the book, “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” by Richard Bach, which was about a seagull seeking to learn how to fly and finding his greatest purpose in life. In the process, he learns to know, grow and contribute to others along the way. I saw the shortcut to life is modeling mentors who are getting the results desired.
Q. How do you keep things “fresh” in your career?
A. Fiduciary Studies Conference, Allianz Conference and Product Due Diligence Conferences. I try to gain insight from top advisors at these conferences, advisory council meetings, due diligence, peer reviews.
Q. What are your hobbies?
A. My hobbies include study, travel and spending time with my family. Once I learned that winners change how history was written, I started collecting very old books, ranging from 150 years to nearly 500 years old. The subjects range from history, biographies, writings of famous people, and books of historical significance. Once you view a subject from multiple perspectives the real story emerges, along with their corrected life lessons.