10 Questions with Bryan Grisak

by Ben Hoak | Apr 2, 2021

Bryan Grisak

Private Wealth Advisor
Grisak and Associates, Blue Ash, Ohio

Bryan Grisak is reaching 21 years of service with Ameriprise on April 5, 2021. He and his wife Jess have three kids: Olivia (11), Will (8) and Jack (7).

How did you become a financial advisor?

I graduated from Miami of Ohio in December of 1999. That fall semester I went to a job fair and met a representative from American Express Financial Advisors. I really only talked to her because she was by herself and no one was talking to her. I went to the informational session, took the test and got an offer.

American Express was the only offer I got, so this career and this path found me. I get the opportunity to be a part of some of the most important parts of clients lives. We get to be there when their kids and grandkids are born, we get to help them plan for college, we get to be there to watch them retire and pay their houses off. I just got off phone with a client who just wrote the last check to pay off her mortgage. That’s not something you get to hear about all the time.

You’re also there for the not-as-fun parts of life and have to plan for the unexpected. Unfortunately, we see clients die, and we shed tears with family members because they have become part of our lives.

It’s very rewarding and very fulfilling. You can have a very good life for yourself by getting 500 clients and sharing experience and memories together. I feel very fortunate I’ve gotten to experience that.

What else sticks out to you as you think about your 21 years?

I started my career at the beginning of a two-year recession, and I bought a practice in 2008 right before the financial crisis. In the short-term, timing has never been a strength of mine, but long-term those things have been smoothed out and made better.

What advice would you give you to a college graduate just starting their career as a financial advisor?

Overall, all of the advisors I’ve ever met at Ameriprise have great instincts and they follow those instincts. If this industry feels like a good fit, do what you can to stick with it. If you determine it doesn’t feel like a good fit, I don’t care what you do, but you may not be able to fit that square peg in the round hole long term.

What are your hobbies and interests?

I do Spartan races, I like to read, I do Cross Fit and I do a lot of activities with the kids. I’m a huge music fan and I can’t wait to get back to going to concerts. Jess and I have seen the Foo Fighters live three times. Our favorite concert of all time was Bruno Mars in Indianapolis – it was one of the best shows we’ve ever seen. We got to see nine concerts that year – Lady Gaga, U2, Green Day, Bruno Mars and more.

What book do you most give or recommend to people?

It used to be The Happiest Baby on the Block when all my friends were having babies. That book definitely saved my life and Olivia’s life, making sure we survived those first few months as new parents and a new family.

For business, it’s a book called Purposeful Retirement by Hyrum Smith, the former CEO of Franklin Covey.

What purchase under $100 has most impacted your life in the last six months?

My journal. I’ve been keeping a journal since Olivia’s 2nd birthday , so I have nine years of memories, things we’ve done, songs I’ve listened to, things the kids have colored for me stuffed into the pages, how we found out the boys were coming into the world, the adventures we’ve taken as a family.

That’s my legacy. These are handwritten journals, and I’m hoping one day the kids show an interest, wanting to read them. I use a basic composition book, it costs maybe $2.50. I go through about a journal a year, and it gives me an opportunity to reflect back on things I’ve learned over the years.

What do you want to check off your bucket list next?

I was going to go to Japan this year for the Olympics – I have a minor in Japanese from college and have never been. A buddy and I were planning on climbing Mt. Fuji too. All that will have to wait now. My bucket list is experiences I want to have with my kids, filling our lives with experiences more than stuff.

I’d love to see the Browns going to the Super Bowl and I’d love to see the Indians win a World Series, but that won’t happen in my lifetime.

What’s a hidden or unusual talent you have?

I can do some voices and impressions (like Eric Cartman from South Park). I used to be a gymnast and I’m still reasonably flexible for being 43 years old. I also know a lot of movie lines and references and music lyrics.

If you could put up a giant billboard with anything on it, what would it say and why?

Fear is the thief of all dreams.

What’s your motivation in life?

To be able to have control and choice over my decisions. Some choices are out of duty or obligation, but a lot of choices I make are geared toward getting to a level of financial and ideological independence. If I wake up one day and don’t like what I do any more, I want to have the freedom and independence and choice and control to change that.

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