ARBOR WEALTH: Roll Tide: The future of the American workplace

Published: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 04:30 PM.

As I put my kids to bed…

I wonder what lies ahead …” from “Changes Comin’ On” by Dean Dillon, Buddy Cannon, and Jimmy Darrell and Recorded by Alabama


Some time back I was asked to speak to an investment class at the University of Alabama .  The experience was invigorating. There’s nothing like being around tens of thousands of young people enjoying the best years of their lives on a gorgeous spring day. Author Bill Bryson said the same about living in Hanover , N.H. , but they don’t conclude classes at Dartmouth with a resounding “Roll Tide.”

The presentation focused on how our team makes investment decisions, how these choices differ for varying client objectives and methods for establishing a productive balance of equities and fixed income instruments in portfolios. The students’ questions afterwards centered around these same issues: investment strategies, inquiries involving particular securities, and how decisions are reached on market buys and sells.

As I returned to Florida , I realized that while we had engaged in a theoretical discussion regarding investment choices, no one had asked about how to build an investment advisory firm as a business.There were no questions about client services apart from portfolio management. No inquiries about the costs of office space or software. No questions about payroll or employee benefits.

What the students really needed was not only a presentation on investing, but insights into the entrepreneurial experience. Somewhere around 75 percent of all self-made millionaires in America are business owners. As the U.S. job market devolves, this number is likely to increase.  The days when someone handed you a solid paycheck with benefits and a pension right out of college are rapidly disappearing. The ability of a young person to identify a need and fill it with a start-up enterprise may represent the lifeblood of our economy in coming decades. 

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