Welcome to my blog about my conversation with Mike Curtis, the founder of Curtis Financial Services. The way I love to start most of these interviews is asking my guests about their journey in our profession. I always look forward to hearing their stories – even those I already know so well. Let’s learn how Mike got started in our industry and his path bringing him to where he is today.
“That's a long story, going back to high school,” said Mike. “I was one of the students married in my senior year. My aspirations for college were derailed and I needed to go to work. After I graduated, I first worked at a grocery store. I also found out that corporate life wasn't too good for me after being fired twice. I thought I needed to do something else and joined a large insurance provider back in 1975 at age 19. I was with them for 32 years. In 1980, I started doing retirement plans and defined benefit retirement plans for professionals such as doctors.”
“I got my securities license and immediately I saw the opportunity with fee-based versus commissions and the business started to grow. The insurance provider started making some decisions that were not in the best interest of my clients. Thankfully, there was Cambridge, and we made the decision to jump over to Cambridge in 2006. That transition was so much easier than what I thought it was going to be.”
Mike’s clients are fortunate that he was fired early on is what I just heard. I guess that's lesson number one, from our session today, which is that sometimes when bad things happen it actually sets your direction for where you're really meant to go. It’s inspiring to know that Mike picked himself back up each time and walked through the doors that were in front of him.
Mike’s headquarters are in Muscatine, Iowa, and Cambridge loves Iowa, for obvious reasons because that's where we're headquartered too. I happen to know that he also has an office in Punta Gorda, Florida. We spent some time talking about managing multiple locations in terms of the opportunities and the challenges. I asked him if he would recommend this approach to others, and if it has given him growth opportunities for his business.
“Being in an office in Iowa and Florida has given me a lot of clients that want to be best friends and have their meetings in Florida during those winter months,” said Mike. “That's been very advantageous finding all these new friends, but we haven't really had any challenges. We have a lot of clients down in Florida, so it allows us to see them under great circumstances and beautiful weather.”
I am wondering about Mike’s clients in Iowa, and other than wanting to visit in Florida, how they respond to Mike splitting his time between Iowa and Florida. At the same time, these days we are in an environment where clients really don't have a concern of where you're located.
“We are very concerned about how clients were going to react. Would they feel that I was down there golfing, playing, and not taking care of their needs? It was funny because when the clients would call in, especially during the winter and it would be 20° below outside, they expect Mike is down in Florida and ask me to give them a call. When they found out I was in Iowa they asked what was wrong with me. They accepted it very well and expected me to be down in Florida, and we generally go for about a month in the wintertime, and then go back and forth about every other month. Clients have not had any problems with it at all. They actually encouraged me to spend more time down there during the winter months. I just have great clients.”
It’s wonderful to hear his clients embraced his approach. Shifting gears a little bit, I asked Mike what he would say is the most rewarding thing for him in the workplace and what he loves doing.
“It's rewarding more from the aspect of that trust and bonding and friendship relationship that you develop with your clients. They know that they can trust you, and that they can count on you. The confidence and the respect that they give you in other attributes of their lives where they feel that you can help and they use us as a starting point. I appreciate they feel that they are going to call us first.”
In my view, this is the trust of this industry. Mike is describing the value and importance of the advice profession from the perspective of the clients who look to their trusted financial professional.
Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to listen to my podcast and hear Mike’s advice for those considering the advice profession and the approach he takes in serving his clients. Mike is among our Spirit of Cambridge¹ honorees. We appreciate he chose Cambridge for his business as he’s serving clients from the Midwest and Southwest.
1The Spirit of Cambridge Award is given annually to independent financial professionals who are dedicated to serving their clients while reflecting Cambridge’s core values of integrity, commitment, flexibility, and kindness. Each year, Cambridge home office associates select three award recipients from a pool of outstanding financial professionals who have been affiliated with Cambridge for at least 10 years. The awards are presented during Ignite, Cambridge’s annual national conference, along with a donation by Cambridge to a qualified charity of each recipient’s choice to further honor their spirit and dedication to their clients, Cambridge and the industry. The Spirit of Cambridge awards began in 2012 to recognize quality financial professionals reflecting the Cambridge spirit, and thousands of dollars has been donated in their honor to charities across the country. Given their dedication to their clients, Cambridge, and the financial services industry, this is a well-deserved award for each honoree.
Testimonial statements and personal experience stories may not be representative of the experience of others and is no guarantee of future performance or success. Quotes are highlights from the podcast episode and may reflect edits for brevity and/or clarity within this blog by Cambridge’s CEO, Amy Webber. These messages and materials are the confidential property of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. (“Cambridge”). The ideas and information in this presentation are general in nature and provided for informational purposes only. The accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of the information cannot be guaranteed. The information contained herein is not intended to render tax, legal, or investment advice. All rights reserved. Further use is prohibited without prior written consent from Cambridge. Please contact ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ for questions or consent.
Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a broker-dealer, member FINRA/SIPC, and investment advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Both are wholly owned subsidiaries of Cambridge Investment Group, Inc. Cambridge and Curtis Financial Services are not affiliated.
Testimonial statements and personal experience stories may not be representative of the experience of others and is no guarantee of future performance or success.
Cambridge Stronger – Hosted by Amy Webber