Paul R. Ruedi CFP® or “Paul Jr.” is the subject of our most recent “Advisor Spotlight” blog post – a series of interviews to help people get to know the advisors at Ruedi Wealth. Paul has been with Ruedi Wealth since April 2015 and works remotely from The Colony, TX. He is also a contributor to the Ruedi Wealth Blog and regular guest on Paul Ruedi’s “On the Money” radio show on Newstalk 1400 WDWS.
Q: Tell us about growing up in Champaign, and beyond that…
Paul: There are going to be some parts of this story that will sound familiar to people who have read in David’s interview so I’ll keep this part short. I was born and raised in Champaign. I attended St. Matthew’s for elementary school and Centennial for High School. I graduated from high school in 2007 and followed in my sister’s footsteps and attended Miami of Ohio. I graduated with a degree in Finance in 2011.
Q: Like your brother David, before working at Ruedi Wealth Management you worked at Dimensional Fund Advisors in Austin, TX. What was that experience like?
Paul: I worked in the Financial Advisor Services department teaching advisors about the core investment philosophies behind Dimensional’s mutual funds and how to implement them in client portfolios. It was incredibly educational and set me up very well to do what I am doing today.
I started out working with RIA firms similar in size to Ruedi Wealth on the east coast, until about halfway through when I moved to a group that worked with some of the largest, most successful advisory firms in the country. It was a great learning experience to see how these firms operate. I found it interesting that these larger firms didn’t really do anything special as far as serving their clients that smaller firms couldn’t do just as well, they were just better marketers and happened to grow to a larger size.
Q: That brings us to your role at Ruedi Wealth, and this is where the similarities end. In addition to your role as an advisor you cover a lot of the marketing aspects of the firm. How did you end up in that role and what all does it entail?
Paul: It was almost a happy accident that has a lot to do with the ability to do just about everything I do remotely. Although I loved growing up in Champaign, I loved living in Texas for many reasons. I met my current girlfriend when I was working in Austin, and by the time she moved back to her hometown in North Dallas it was clear I couldn’t put any more than the 3.5 hour drive of distance already between us. When even that became too much distance for us, I moved to Dallas in May of 2016 and still live here today.
I help produce our educational resources (Radio Shows, Blog Posts, Newsletters, Seminars) and manage our various marketing platforms like our web site, google marketing, event management, and social media accounts that promote our company. I love the fact that this work can be done almost anywhere and involves a certain amount of creativity. And like everyone at Ruedi Wealth, I enjoy what I do because I really feel like it helps people. Even if people read our blogs and listen to our radio show and never become clients, I still feel like I have made a positive impact on their lives by providing them with helpful perspective on complex financial issues.
Q: How do you like living in Dallas?
Paul: I love it. I live in a suburb called The Colony about 20 miles directly north of downtown Dallas. I’ve only been here a year and a half but have really settled in and feel like I have roots here. Two of my dad’s brothers have found their way to the North Dallas area before I did, so I get to hang out with family on a regular basis. My girlfriend grew up in the area and all of her immediate family still lives in the area as well. Though Champaign will always be my hometown, North Dallas is very much starting to feel like home to me as well.
I feel like I get the best of both worlds living in Texas because I am still able to work with my family at Ruedi Wealth. One of the benefits of the job is that it brings me back to Champaign at least once a month for work, and while I’m in town I get to see my family and friends. With this amount of going back and forth, one of the best perks of living in Dallas for me personally is a direct flight from DFW to Willard Airport. My trip is now around four hours door to door - can’t beat that!
Q: You received your CFP® designation just under a year ago. What was that process like?
Paul: It took a lot of work and was a little stressful in the days leading up to the exam, but it was definitely a worthwhile learning experience. By going through the coursework and studying for the exam I enhanced my knowledge of every aspect of financial planning. I passed the exam in March of 2015 and was officially allowed to use the designation in early September 2016 after completing the required work experience.
Q: You mentioned radio shows – some of the people reading this may know you from being a guest on Paul Ruedi’s On The Money Radio Show on WDWS. You recently even hosted your first show as well, the first time only the younger generation of advisors has represented Ruedi Wealth on the show.
Paul: I put together a lot of the content for the show, so when my dad decided to extend his vacation during a radio show week I took the opportunity to give hosting a shot. I’ll admit I was nervous – something about running into Jim Turpin, who I have listened to on the radio literally my entire life, as he walked out of the microphone room while I was walking in made me feel a little bit like a kid at the adult table.
I wasn’t sure how the listeners would respond to the fact that it was only the younger generation of advisors at Ruedi Wealth on the show but we ended up getting a lot of good calls that day! Minus my technical difficulties with pressing the phone buttons hard enough to put the callers on the air, I’d call it a good first run. I enjoyed it and am sure I will host another show in the near future.
Q: You take advantage of your ability to work remotely by traveling frequently. Where are some of your favorite places to go?
Paul: I enjoy traveling to get a change of scenery and generally prioritize seeing or experiencing some type of nature - mountains, oceans, national parks. I like Las Vegas a lot, but probably not for the reasons people expect. I have a good friend who moved there so I’ve been there 5 or 6 times in the past year, but spent my time hiking all the local mountains and generally avoided the strip. On my last trip, my friend and I completed the most difficult hike I have ever done when we hiked up to Griffith Peak, at its highest point around 11,000 feet.
As a person who grew up and still lives on completely flat land at sea level, the mountains are very cool to me. But due to this same upbringing, hiking uphill for long periods of time at high altitudes can be a struggle, to say the least. I’m still working my way up to more and more difficult hikes on taller peaks but there is still much work to be done in that regard. I also feel like I haven’t scratched the surface as far as the places I want to see, even just in the U.S. The places on the top of my list to see next are the Sequoia National Park, The Grand Canyon, Death Valley, and Yosemite.
Q: Other than traveling, what are some of your other hobbies or favorite things to do?
Paul: I love to cook. My dad and uncles are talented cooks and completely self-taught - I like to think I keep up this tradition. My favorite kitchen gadget is my Anova Precision Cooker that allows me to cook my food sous vide. My favorite food to cook is fish tacos.
Another one of my favorite activities is reading, almost exclusively nonfiction. As of right now, my favorite topics are history, theology, and philosophy, but it varies. I am usually bouncing between 3 books at any given time.
My favorite author is Alan Watts. A self-described “spiritual entertainer,” he is best known as a communicator of Eastern philosophies in a vocabulary that allows them to be understood by Western audiences. I’ve enjoyed just about every book of his I have ever read, and he writes on a vast range of topics from Zen Buddhism and Taoism to the history and symbolism of Judeo-Christian narratives and rituals. I also enjoy listening to his lectures on YouTube.
Q: What Kind of Music do you listen to?
Paul: I like all types of music. In fact, I’ve always thought if a person looked at my Spotify history they would probably think there were multiple people using the account. I doubt very many people listen to Waylon Jennings, Dr. Dre, Iron Maiden, Bob Marley, Warren Zevon, and Sam Cooke over the course of an hour.
My favorite band is Pink Floyd by a pretty wide margin. It will probably not surprise you then that they are responsible for my favorite album as well, The Dark Side of the Moon. I was recently able to see Roger Waters in Vegas and it was probably the best concert I’ve ever been to in my life – but it’s a toss-up between that and The History of the Eagles – Live in Concert.
Q: What are your favorite sports?
Paul: I like all types of martial arts and combat sports. In high school, I trained in Jeet Kun Do, Filipino Martial Arts, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, at McVicker Martial Arts here in Champaign, and still drop in occasionally when I am in town for work. I love watching mixed martial arts on TV and following the careers of my favorite fighters. My favorite fighter at the moment is Anderson Silva, but the Diaz brothers are up there as well.
I also love all types of motorsports. Generally speaking, if it burns gas and moves at high rates of speed I like to drive it or watch it be driven. My favorites to drive are probably jet skis or racing go-karts – you can go out and push them and if you crash you generally get to walk away with minor bumps and bruises. There is a go-kart track about 45 minutes away from me on the outskirts Dallas of that I like to go to and fulfill my “need for speed.”
My favorite sport to watch is Formula 1, especially this season with the intense battle between the drivers and teams at Mercedes and Ferrari for the championship and the Haas American F1 team competing in the middle of the pack in only their second year of existence. My favorite driver is Kimi Raikkonen.
Q: What would you do if you won the lottery?
Paul: I would probably start a school – most likely elementary level because it just seems like success or failure in education is determined much earlier than high school or college. I don’t really know anything about teaching or running an elementary school, so I’d be as hands off as possible. I have several family members that currently teach or previously worked as teachers, so I would rely on them for advice. I’d like to leave teachers free to teach in whatever way got the job done most effectively – and let them influence the way school funds are spent accordingly.
I would also like it to be less restrictive about the educational steps students take. I feel like forcing every student of a particular age to take the same courses holds gifted kids back and keeps them from achieving their full potential. If a 3rd-grade child can do math at a 5th-grade level, why shouldn’t he or she take the 5th-grade math class?
For my own selfish purposes, I would like to sponsor my way into some form of racing or own a race team. Racing sports are notoriously expensive and that’s a barrier to entry for most people – I suppose winning the lottery would remove that.
Q: What are some of your goals in life?
Paul: One of my main priorities in life is to stay healthy because I feel like health is a pre-requisite to achieving any goals and living a fulfilling life. Other than that I’d just like to have a positive impact on the people around me and give back to society in a constructive way. I feel very fortunate my position at Ruedi Wealth enables me to do all those things.
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In the Media
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