Hello friends! Got a treat for y’all today – an interview with one of my cool wealth manager friends, Rob Wilson. AKA “Hip-Hop’s financial advisor” (which you’ll learn more about here in a second). If you ever needed proof that working with money can be sexy, this is it! As long as you like hip-hop, the NFL, or celebrities in general, haha…
Rob and I connected a couple years back through our online endeavors, but it never occurred to me to actually pick his brain on some of this financial goodness. Particularly with what it’s like to be a financial manager to multi-millionaires. I don’t have plans on quitting my day job anytime soon, but it is nice to know other fun options exist :)
Here’s some background on my man before we begin:
Rob Wilson is a financial advisor at an independent financial and investment advisory firm based in Pittsburgh (a.k.a SixBurgh – The City Of Champions). He received his bachelors degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, and his Masters in Business Administration from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University.
In essence, Rob’s a pimp. And he can be found here: robwilson.tv
Now on to the interview!
You’ve been (awesomely) dubbed “Hip Hop’s Financial Advisor.” So of course I have to ask – who are some of your celebrity clients?
Great question. During my time as a financial advisor I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of notable individuals in sports and entertainment.
Two of the biggest recording artists I’ve worked with are rapper Tyga (Lil’ Wayne’s artist from Young Money) and R&B/Rap artist Ryan Leslie. (pics attached). I also work with fellow Carnegie Mellon alum, actor Gaius Charles from Grey’s Anatomy.
In sports, I’ve worked with a number of NFL players, from undrafted free-agents to top-10 draft pics. In fact, I’ve had a client not only play in, but win the Super Bowl for the last 7 years! Here are a few:
- Jay Alford – NY Giants SB XLII
- LaMarr Woodley – Pittsburgh Steelers SB XLIII
- Darnell Dinkins – New Orleans Saints SB XLIV
- Andrew Quarless – Green Bay Packers SB XLV (damn they beat my Steelers though!)
- Hakeem Nicks – NY Giants SB XLVI
- Terrence Cody – Baltimore Ravens XLVII
- Russell Okung – Seattle Seahawks XLVIII
Is it weird managing someone’s money when they’ve got so much more than you? (At least I presume? ;))
At first, absolutely. When I started out in the financial industry at Smith Barney, they trained me for a few weeks and then gave me a phone, a desk and a list and told me to get to work. Ever though I have an engineering degree from the University of Pittsburgh, worked for Big 4 firm Deloitte Consulting, and had just finished my MBA at Carnegie Mellon, I still had to build up the confidence that even though I was just beginning my wealth building journey, I had the fundamental knowledge and resources to help them with theirs.
Once you start to gain a few clients (I certainly didn’t start working with athletes right away, that took time) and you see the results of your work, it gives you even more confidence. You start to realize that you are kind of like a athletic coach that works with great players. As far as I know, Hank Haney has never won a major championship on the PGA tour. However, he helped Tiger Woods win 6 majors and 31 other tournaments. When you realize how that type of relationship works, you can talk to anyone.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen one of them spend their money one? (Definitely do NOT name drop on this one, haha…)
Cars, without a doubt. I’ve seen them buy Bentleys, Lamborghinis, Range Rovers, etc. But it really gets interesting when they start to customize them with rims, sound systems, paint jobs etc. It’s nuts. At the end of the day, though, it’s their money.
What’s the BEST thing you’ve ever seen one of them do with their money?
Listen. It’s hard for a 22 year old who has been told that he’s a “star” all of his life to understand that life in sports and entertainment is typically short lived. You have to plan and be ready for your second act. But the same mentality that makes them the best at what they do (arrogance,fearlessness, bravado), hurts them in other areas of their lives because those aren’t the best qualities in relationships, business, or in general life.
The ones that listen from the start spend wisely, save money and build a portfolio of investments that will create an income stream once their career is over. They’ve bought annuities that will guarantee them income for life. Insurance policies to protect their families.
They’ve also taken the time to learn about business, rather than just throwing money at a venture they have no experience or knowledge of. Franchising is a good way to do this. In fact, I’m working with a recently retired client on opening his first 15 Wingstop franchises. He’s done things the right way.
One of the things I love about you is that you’re always working on ways to connect with your community, especially with the youth. Tell us more about “The Best Kept Secret” show you’ve launched.
Thanks J, I appreciate you saying that. I spend a lot of time speaking to kids, but I never wanted them to become totally fixated on the fact that I work with athletes and entertainers, because it’s very difficult to make it to the top in those fields. I wanted them to know that there are many other options available to them to achieve the success that they desire.
I realized that it’s hard for them to visualize success outside of sports and entertainment, because for some kids, that’s all they see thanks to TV.
I believe that if you show them there’s another way, and give them proof as motivation, they will find their way along that same path.
If you could manage anyone’s money, whose would it be?
Oprah! I’d only need to have one client, and I could learn so much at the same time.
Finish this sentence: The last thing I saved for was ___________.
We’ll I’m currently saving up for expenditures that come along with one of those “big days” in your life. But don’t tell my girlfriend, it’s a surprise. :)
If you weren’t a wealth manager, what would you be doing right now?
I’d probably be a partner at Deloitte. When I started business school, my intention was to augment my engineering degree with business acumen so that I could go back to Deloitte as an unstoppable force with both business savvy and technical skills. When I got there, my perspective changed and I felt like I wanted to do something entrepreneurial.
I wanted a lifestyle where I could do well for my self and do good for others at the same time. Working with and teaching people how to build wealth seemed like a great way to do that. But if for some reason that was taken away, I’d be in the technology space. I’m an engineer at heart, that happens to focus on finance. Now, if only I would have invented What’sApp!
You’re about to launch your 3rd year of March Money Madness. What are you hoping to accomplish with it, and can anyone join?
Yes, I created March Money Madness as a way to use sports to teach people about the stock market and investing. It works just like filling out a bracket for the NCAA College Basketball Tournament, but using stocks instead of basketball teams.
The game between the stocks occurs during one week in the real life stock market. The stock with the highest return during the week wins the game, and so on throughout the tournament until you have a champion. It’s really fun and I’ve gotten tremendous feedback on how much people who know nothing about the market have learned by playing the game. Anyone can play by signing up at MarchMoneyMadness.com, and it’s totally free.
For anyone that is looking for a structured educational experience while playing the game (weekly recaps, video tutorials, live webinars), they can upgrade to the “Insider” level for only $25. We’ve got a number of schools and programs signed up this year in an effort to increase the financial literacy of their students.
I’m just hoping to educate as many people as possible this year. I believe that the higher the percentage of financially literate people we have in the country, the better the economy will be for everyone.
Have anything else up your sleeve you’d like to share with us today?
Yes, I just launched a new podcast in iTunes called #MoversAndShakers. It’s an interview show where I interview…wait for it…movers and shakers who are crushing it in business, sports, entertainment etc. It launched in the beginning of January and has already been listened to in more than 30 countries!
I give out a lot of advice but I realized that people also want to hear from people that have put a lot of the principles that I talk about into practice. This show allows me to show my audience that these wealth building strategies do actually work.
True or False: Budgeting is sexy?
This is a no brainer. It’s actually the first thing I notice about a woman! :)
BAM! And in case you’re wondering, he does offer his services to the non-super-wealthy too – I asked ;) Here’s exactly what he told me, actually:
“Yes, I can certainly take on new clients. As a matter of fact, I recently “soft” launched a program for young professionals that need financial advice and guidance, but don’t necessarily have a big portfolio to give to a traditional financial advisor. The program is called Financial Personal Training and you can find it at financialpersonaltraining.com. It’s like having a trainer at your gym, but for your financial health.I hope that your readers, both baller and non baller, will appreciate the opportunity to work one-on-one with someone who has their best interest in mind and isn’t looking to sell them any products.”
So give him a shout if you’re interested! I make no money off anything, btw – I just like what he’s about. And that he mixes two of my favorite things in life together – rap and cash money, baby!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I have :) Keep hoarding those dollars!
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