Little did I know that when I opened my first investment account at the age of 14, I would be planting a seed for a career in the financial services industry. During my years as a professional jockey, while other riders were playing cards or shooting pool in the jocks room, I’d be studying the Wall Street Journal or the latest copy of Barron’s. My passion for investing must have been noticeable to those around me as a young jockey. Many horse racing industry folks started asking me for advice on investing or setting up a retirement account.
Life has a magical way of working things out for all of us. During my time attempting to break into the jockey colony at the big thoroughbred tracks like Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, and Del Mar, I met an executive who asked me a simple, yet difficult question, “Why are you still riding?” I didn’t really have a good answer for him other than to say, “I like it.” He went on to explain that I had too much talent in other areas to waste my time trying to win more races as a jockey. Noting my business degree and my passion for investing, he lined up an interview for me at PaineWebber in Long Beach, CA with the administrative assistant to the branch manager; she was an old friend of his.
The branch manager was planning to hire three new candidates for their broker training program in 1996 and the applicants were stellar. Most had advanced degrees or came from wealthy families. I had neither. I did have determination and an interesting story to tell. After all, how many financial advisors do you know who were former jockeys?
During the interview, the branch manager, sales manager, and recruiting coordinator grilled me. Not on my knowledge of financial matters, but on my feelings about good bets for the night’s racing card at Los Alamitos. I gave them a few horses that I liked and would be riding that weekend. Our conversation couldn’t have gone better. In solidifying my status as a possible candidate, the branch professionals actually showed up at the track that weekend and the horses I had told them to bet on all won. Needless to say I got the job!
Retiring from riding race horses was strange, since I was at the top of my career as a jockey. I was a household name and often had to turn down potential mounts because I was booked on other horses. However, I knew that I wanted to show the world I was capable of making it in business. When I retired from horse racing, I went from being a big fish to a minnow. My retirement was broadcasted live on ESPN after riding my last race at Los Alamitos Race Course in 1996.
Those first few months as a financial advisor were a major struggle. Far from the glamour and fame that I felt it would be. My life was a sun-up to sun-down, never-ending siege to fill my client book. Many of the horse industry enthusiasts I had come to know well gave me the opportunity to manage their investments, while many others did not. Nationwide, PaineWebber sent over 300 brokers through their training program in 1997. I was one of the 23 who “made it.” The failure rate is high in the financial industry. I have found that most advisors burnout, fail to attract enough client assets to manage, or both. To be retained after the first year, a new broker needed to have $6 million of client assets under his or her management. The pressure was intense. I developed acid reflux during that year, but at the time I had no idea it was a result of the stress I was under. Now, all these years later, I have found that stress, worry, and negative thoughts have been the cause of nearly all of my physical ailments. I’m happy to report that I am cured of every ailment or illness I once had – healthy as a horse!
I moved back to Utah in 1999 to be closer to family and to start my own family. I changed firms later that same year after becoming disillusioned with the PaineWebber office. I spent 10 years in the Salt Lake City office of SmithBarney and gained many more clients during those years. I also became the proud father of my first three children.
The year 2008 brought some struggles as I experienced a divorce and a very significant global recession. In May of 2009, I married a wonderful woman and my best friend, Heather. Together, we had another daughter, Berkley, and with the addition of her son, Brigham, and my son, Cade, and my two daughters, Karly and Kaiya, we filled every room in our house. I’m happy to report all of our kids are happy and healthy.
I made the decision to open my own company in October of 2009. This gave me more control over the location, employees, and products I could offer, but also an affiliation with a more stable broker dealer – Raymond James Financial Services. This decision was one of the best of my career. Tragically, 6 days after I joined Raymond James, my younger brother, Brody, took his own life.
The 10 year anniversary of Peterson Wealth Services is something I am very proud of. We have survived mini recessions, recoveries, political turmoil, international conflicts, interest rate hikes and cuts, and clients passing on. Through it all, we have always upheld our core beliefs, which are to place the clients’ interest ahead of our own, be conscientious, courteous, and dependable. We have done our best to understand each client and their unique situation, and provide meaningful solutions to their goals and objectives. We have made our share of mistakes, and have been wrong a few times on economic or market predictions, yet our effort and accountability have never wavered.
It has been my great privilege and honor to have served so many wonderful clients over the past 23 years, and specifically the last 10 years since opening Peterson Wealth Services. On behalf of everyone here at my firm, thank you for your continued trust and loyalty. We are truly blessed to work with so many amazing people, each with their own custom list of financial goals and dreams!