Although I started helping people with finances in 1998, I have personally been investing since age 11: In 1980 interest rates were sky-high as the Federal Reserve tried to control inflation. My dad took me to the local bank where I had some lawn mowing money in savings. I bought a certificate of deposit yielding 15.9%, which means the money more than doubled over the 5-year term!
Also, when the Hunt brothers tried to corner the silver market, I bought silver bullion, which is still in my safe deposit box. And my mom worked for Pepsi Cola so I bought shares of Pepsi stock. One of the original stock certificates is framed on the wall of our office in Marshall.
While I enjoy helping people with their financial decision making and investing, my professional career was forever changed by the experience described in the Beer and Peanuts Story. I realized that I needed to help people think about their lives, not just their money. According to the book of Genesis, the first thing humans heard was a command to be fruitful and multiply, and they were given stewardship over all of creation. Part of my life mission is to help people fulfill their purpose, share their talents, and remain vital members of their communities.
My wife, Julie, and I have four children ranging from college to early elementary school. (She makes me look better, doesn’t she?) While we both grew up elsewhere, we love our adopted hometown of Kalamazoo. We serve as family pastors for Stones Church in Kalamazoo, a non-denominational, cross-cultural movement with a second campus in Grand Rapids, MI.
I have also fallen in love with the people of Andhra Pradesh, India. Julie and I support India Rural Evangelical Fellowship, which houses and educates thousands of poor and orphaned kids and young adults in Southern India. Here is picture of me at a big meeting in 2014.
One thing that surprises people who only know me from work is that I have played in a rock band since high school. The ConFessions are a 60s and original rock band; I’m on keyboard. Check out the ConFessions on Facebook. Julie and I also love to travel, visit our family members who are disbursed across the country, and ride our bikes.
I would love to hear your story of how you are planning or doing life in retirement.
John Knowlton is a Certified Financial Planner™ and co-founder of Oak Point Financial Group, a registered investment advisor in Michigan.