Archive for September, 2013

Wide Eyes and White Lies

Posted: September 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

Once again I am back to share my thoughts with all of you. I have an uneasy relationship with the idea of blogging. Exposing yourself and your ideas for the world to read is never easy. Quite frankly I can’t think of a more uncomfortable thing to do. That being said I think now is the time to break out of what I have always considered my comfort zone. The quest for personal growth has lead me back to writing and if there was ever a time that I felt I should share my voice it is now. I hope you will all find what I have to say entertaining, relevant, and educational.

Now that we have that out of the way let’s dive into the meat of what I want to share with you.

This blog was designed by me to share some of my thoughts on the market and current events. And that is exactly what I am about to do.

This week marks the 5 year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Remember them? Over the course of these last 5 years there have been some dynamic changes to not only the market but society.  The changes I speak of are quite obvious so I am going to rehash them. Today I feel like talking about the roller coaster ride that I have been on since the start of my career.

Please close your eyes and think back to a time when life was simple; the beers were colder, the market was hotter, credit was flowing like the rivers of Capistrano, I am talking about 2006. I came into the finance game as an intern  at a great firm based out of Tampa, Florida. Wide eyed and dreamy I started down the same road as Bud Fox. I was going to make it big, I was going to be the highest flying, baddest ass, hardcore cold calling big money producer. I was ready for the high life, as they say I felt I was born to be a player. On day one I shined my shoes, ironed my shit and dressed myself in the finest Burdine’s $200 suit I could pick off the rack. I was going to get to work early, stay late, work hard, play hard, have sex with our administrative assistant. Things were looking up!. As I walked into an empty dark office and took a seat at my desk as sudden rush comes over me. This is what I have been waiting for, other than playing for the Yankees there was nothing else I would rather be doing. As the morning progressed and the office started to fill out I began to realize that after to all the years of waiting the day was finally here. I sat there and thought to myself “fuck the odds I am going to be a million dollar producer with in a year. No body will stop me”. After a cup of coffee a shot of espresso my boss walked in and started laying out the plan of attack for the day.. First things first make coffee for the entire office, ok so I figured there would be some bitch work. Second file this pile of paperwork, again I understood. After about an hour of filing like a mad man and making a damn good cup of Joe I walked in ready for the next assignment. All the while I was wondering where is the intensity, why is no one screaming at their phone, why are they not pitching the hot stock of the week. I mean money was to be made and we eat what we kill right? As I stood there waiting for direction something started coming pretty clear to me: This is not like the movies. There was no screaming, no yelling, no active trading, low stress and smiling faces. Begrudgingly I sat back down at my desk in the bullpen with my next assignment SCANNING, it was my job to take the entire office paperless. Needless to say I was dissapointed , but I began the project and powered through.

Moving forward about a year down the road I was called into the bosses office. After months of scanning, filing, coffee making, and technology servicing I heard the best thing a recent college grad could hear….”would you like a job”. Fuck yea I wanted a job the internship was lame but now I am an employee I can break this chain and begin to make some damn rain. Or so I thought….Now that I was employed with a giant $21,500 base salary I had to start producing revenue. Sounds great, sounds easy, and it sounds fun. I prepped for the 7 and figured I paid my dues and now it was my time. But a funny thing happened on the way to Thompson-Prometric, I was grossly under-prepared for the exam. I figured what the hell I am a smart guy I know some things about finance, how hard could it be?  Well fuck it was very hard and I failed big time. So now my hopes, dreams and aspirations are on hold because of some stupid test. The 90 days will pass and I will take the test again and pass with flying colors…….wrong once again my ego and desire to have fun took over and I failed. It cant get much worse than this I thought. I am going to be a bar back forever; hopes and dreams are no longer on hold they are crushed. Well through the darkness comes light, it happens everyday. After some moping, a bout with self pity and doubt I was ready to start again. And that’s where the story begins…

My career had truly began when I took the risk and moved back home to NY to work with a family friend who was in the business. He was young, brash, fun and he produced. My role was to come in and be the junior adviser. I had gotten over the idea that the profession was like the movies, regardless of what they may say getting on the phone and cold calling is about a fun as watching paint dry and about as pleasurable as knee surgery. My role was defined, I finally passed the 7 and 63 and the race was on. All of this is taking place around the time words such as sub-prime, credit default swap, and mortgage backed security became part of our daily vernacular. For the first time in my life I began to understand the undertaking that being a financial planner truly is. News started to become worse, people were worried and answers were few and far between. All of a sudden this game does not seem like so much fun. One night during the mess I was watching Cramer on Mad Money and he was screaming buy buy buy in regards to Bear Sterns. Bear Sterns I mean is there a bigger and stronger player on the street? I guess so because within a week they were bankrupt and all hell broke loose. That was March, fast forward to September of 2008. Now we are in the midst of a historic election and a historic economic meltdown. As I sat in the conference room of the Chicago Hilton listening to Don Connelly talk about hard work the DJA and SP 500 collapsed. This was it our markets were melting down. Subsequently Lehman failed, the banks were bailed out, we went into recession, you know the rest.

As we came out of the recession and began to pick up the pieces I started to dawn on my that everything has changed. Markets, politics, psychology, policy would likely never be the same. I sit here today writing this post not because I feel like I am a profound sage of knowledge but because as things always change they always remain the same. We seem to be getting on track economically, the markets are at an all time high, I am finally becoming the producer I thought I would but even with all that I sometimes sit back and think have we learned anything from the past five years.

As we continue on lets be clear of one thing the only constant in life is change. My idea’s about finance changed, the dynamics of our economy changed, and our world has changed. As many look to days gone by as the good times I look forward and inspired by the potential of my generation. We can and will save the country. We can save our economy as the previous generation dies hopefully we can inspire those who are coming up behind us to rise. Hopefully they come in with the same wide eyes that I did, what we can do without are the white lies.