This week’s Spotlight introduces our newest Wealth Strategist, Eric Willer. Eric brings extensive experience and expertise to our team. With a diverse background in the financial industry and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, Eric has excelled in various roles throughout his career. His experience as a Research Analyst and a Financial Advisor served to sharpen Eric’s skills in investment analysis, portfolio management, and client relationship building.
Eric uniquely spent the first 6 months of his employment with us at our Lone Tree, Colorado headquarters. In September, he moved back home to Dallas where he lives with his wife, Linda, and daughter, Sky.
Eric, it is no secret that you are a Texan, and proud of it. Is that where you have always lived?
“Yes, I grew up in Dallas. I’m Texas born and raised. I have traveled quite a bit and lived in several other places. Right out of college, I worked in Europe. I also lived in Florida for a time, and worked in Midtown Manhattan. And, when I first started at WD Wealth, I even survived a Rocky Mountain Spring that at times felt like winter. At the end of the day, this is home and I always seem to find my way back here.”
As you went away to college, how was it you came to pursue your current path?
“I guess a good place to start is that my father was an airline pilot, so of course, we traveled quite a bit. Being exposed to different cultures and countries at a young age gave me an interest in international business. Also, I always happened to be good at math. I started out in college as an aerospace engineering major and soon realized that was not going to be my path. I wasn’t a great fit for engineering, and began to focus on studies in business. As I continued in college, I developed a focus on finance and ended up with a major in finance with an emphasis on finance and international business.
It seems like I have always had an interest in investments. While in college, I was involved in an international organization called AIESEC. It’s a French acronym for International Association of Students and Economics and Business. I applied a lot of effort and time with that organization. One aspect of that organization is to place graduates in a finance/business position in a foreign country. While still at university, I was able to do a semester abroad in Denmark. The fact that I was pursuing international business studies proved to be very helpful in landing my first job out of college. After I graduated, I worked for a year at a bank in Helsinki, Finland, investing the bank's money in international stocks. I led the bank's investments in Spain, Italy, and the United States.”
How exciting! I am going to tease you a bit. How did you manage all that international engagement when you don't even speak American English without a Texas accent?
“Well, there is an interesting angle to that! While living in Copenhagen for my semester abroad, everyone, I mean everyone in Denmark was obsessively following the American TV series, Dallas. They were all into the Ewings. I suppose, actually being from the city of Dallas did add some value, or curiosity to my persona. You know, I was a business student from Dallas. It raised some eyebrows, that’s for sure.
Eric, please amplify the details about what you do at WD Wealth Strategies.
“I am one of the Wealth Strategists here at WD Wealth, and in some ways I have a niche for alternative investments and tax strategies. But the reality is we all are pursuing innovative ways to secure quality investments and tax strategies for our clients. I bring my extensive experience in the investment industry to help our clients build their wealth and maintain their wealth. A key component of what I do is educate our clients. I have always acknowledged that I am not a natural-born salesman. But, I do have a lot of intellectual curiosity which serves me, our team, and our clients very well. It amazes me that we have over 100 unique tax strategies which we have developed internally. Learning about these and how they interact fuels me. I am driven to be on the cutting edge of all the opportunities out there and then pass this knowledge onto our clients.”
Having some entrenched and varied experience in a variety of financial sectors, can you speak to your perceptions of WD Wealth?
“What continues to impress me about this company is the synergy and growth that we derive from each other. We actually compound our research and refine new strategies by interacting closely each day. I have been around the industry enough to recognize the unique culture that exists here. My peers are keenly intelligent, witty, and exceptionally analytical. That is tough to find in any company. Another thing I notice about the culture of this company is that everyone is a team player and as a group each individual fiercely supports the personal and professional growth of each person on the team. It is not professionally competitive at all. And we have fun. Yes, we work hard, but we also have fun together. It is a remarkable culture and I am grateful for the opportunity we all have to grow this business together.”
If you had to name your favorite movie what would that be?
“Generally, I prefer to watch movies that take me away from reality, ones that are either mysterious or suspenseful, or just flat out funny. The latter type of movie reminds me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It’s just an all around silly movie that will definitely make anyone laugh.”
Do you have an interesting or favorite quote you’d like to share?
“I have always liked quotes from Winston Churchill, the British leader who had a large part in saving the free world in World War II. He said, ‘The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.’ On a lighter note, he said, ‘The best argument against Democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.’”
What about recommended reading? Is there a favorite book you are reading now?
“I am currently reading The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe. It chronicles how history moves in cycles, with each cycle lasting about the length of one long human life. They elaborate that each cycle is composed of four twenty-year eras, or turnings. Within their discussion the authors offer predictions about the fourth turning that we are currently experiencing.”
Can you share a favorite financial podcast?
“My favorite financial podcast is the podcast from Cathie Wood's ARK Invest company. The podcast is called FYI - For Your Innovation. It focuses on the leading edge of technology companies. It is a very interesting way to learn about major technology trends and pick up investment ideas along the way.”