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Meet David Coles of WMBC in So Cal

Today we’d like to introduce you to David Coles.

David, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up with a family focused on giving and helping others. Often times, my family spent our free time making care packages for the military, blankets for individuals going through cancer treatments, or planting trees in our community parks. If my parents ever heard of a friend or acquaintance in need, they jumped at the opportunity to lighten another’s burden; whether it was making dinner for a family whose mother just had surgery or anonymously providing Christmas for a family whose father was laid off. It didn’t matter who, what, or how inconvenient it was; the answer was always ‘how much can we do?’ Having these experiences as a child showed me the importance of others and that no material object can replace the happiness that comes from giving and connecting with people.

I started my career as a wealth advisor in April 2009, one of the worst times in the history of our stock market and economy, the Great Recession. Millions of people lost their jobs, homes, and retirement savings. I started my career listening to people share their fears and worry about the future. I remember talking to parents about their sorrow for not being able to provide college for their children anymore. These incredible people felt as though they failed their spouses, children, and organizations they cared about.

I realized that the greatest impact I can make in my career was to help people integrate wealth into their lives properly, which leads to secure, happier, and more fulfilling lives. In order for this to happen, we truly needed to understand our clients on a personal level. This was the spark that led me and my business partners to develop Human-Centric Wealth Planning™. This is our tool to deeply understand who a client is, evaluate what they have available to them, and create innovative financial systems rooted in their actual needs.

Has it been a smooth road?
I wish it was a smooth road! We have had many struggles and setbacks to work through. Running a small business is not easy, I have so many “hats” that I wear, and I often get stuck in catch up mode and fail to spend time on building the business. One struggle I remember had lasted for over two years. I had ideas to implement in the business, but I had no time to focus on them. I remember lying in bed one night unable to sleep because I had no idea how I was going to implement the things in my dreams. I felt if I didn’t, we would be stagnant for years to come.

Then, my solution finally came to me. I needed to hire my brother, Evan. I had practically no money to pay him and he and his wife loved living in San Francisco. I had NO clue how I was going to persuade him and his wife to move away from the work and family they loved in exchange for an income barely higher than minimum wage, but I knew I needed his expertise.

I flew up there and pitched him on my ideas for the business. I asked him to consider moving home to create something that could make an impact on the lives of many people, something that was ours to give to the world. On top of my masterful pitch and minimum wage pay, I offered him my studio apartment for them to live in since the business could not offer more money. To my surprise, they accepted! Money and space were tight during that time but Evan and I were up early brainstorming and up late making the adjustment. Eventually, the dreams I had were coming together and as it did, it was coming together even better than I imagined.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
We take a very different approach to the role of a wealth advisor than is typical. My father started in the finance industry nearly 40 years ago and started his own wealth advising firm in 1983. After nearly 40 years of managing wealth, we observed that a significant amount of time was spent with clients was focused on areas of their lives beyond investment management including family relationships, career decisions, vitality, and more. We realized that the impact of our work was less about increasing the rate of return and more about helping people integrate their wealth into their lives. In short, we believe that “wealth is about well-being™.”

To make a greater impact on a client’s happiness and relationship with their money we decided to start with THEM. What makes up their well-being? If we could understand that, we could create more meaningful financial systems and not just fit them into solutions that WE decided they need to fit in.

Our Well-being questionnaire was developed by scientists with over 12 years of experience working internationally to create measures of well-being. From the responses to the questionnaire, we create a Well-being Profile that shows a person’s scores in parallel with an international benchmark comprised of over 40,000 respondents. This helps guide our clients to understand the components of their well-being and identify opportunities to use their wealth to create greater harmony in their life.

What were you like growing up? Personality wise, interest wise, etc.
I was always an inquisitive child. If there was something to learn I wanted to learn it. If there was a way to challenge myself or a competition to participate in, I was there. I participated in many different sports and activities from organized sports to extreme sports and mental sports. But through this competitive nature shined this heart that wanted to connect and help others in any way I could.

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