CFP®, CRPC®, CLTC®
Private Wealth Advisor
The Rettig Group – Retirement Wealth Advisors
Joe Rettig reaches 35 years of service with Ameriprise on May 21, 2021.
How did you become a financial advisor?
I went to Temple University and was a criminal justice major. I started working in security for GM and realized I didn’t want to do that. One of my best friends worked at IDS and recruited me over, but they wouldn’t hire me because I had no background. So I started with another firm in Pennsylvania and then they gave me an office to open Clearwater, FL, when I was 25 – I don’t know what they were thinking. Later, I got hired by Ameriprise. If it wasn’t for my friend, I might not have gotten in the business.
What sticks out from your 35 years?
So many things. The awesome environment we have with Ameriprise. There’s a lot of people out there that have helped me along, mentored me and coached me, and now I’m able to give that back. I know people who work for other broker-dealers, and their environment doesn’t come close to ours.
The only constant is change. I started in 1986, we were managing $14B in AUM, and it’s now close to $1 trillion. We had about eight mutual funds, a couple certificates, and a couple insurance contracts, and now our toolbox is vast. What sticks out is how complex the industry, the company and the advice has gotten.
I also really believe our current Ameriprise leadership team has clients first, realizing if we take care of our clients, our shareholders will be happy with the results, and for our clients to be taken care of, advisors have to be taken care of. It’s a good mix – at other firms, it’s the firm first.
What do you like about what you do?
It’s the people, it’s the clients, it’s the families. It’s knowing that every one of my days is going to be different. Every family I work with is like a different Rubik’s cube to figure out, and it makes my days different. I met with a client yesterday I’ve been working with for 31 years – they’re having family challenges, and I helped them through that. People look to you not just for financial advice, but also family matters because they trust your opinion.
What advice would you give a college graduate about to enter the real world in this field?
The potential in this business is huge. It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, but if you have passion and stick with it, you’ll be incredible.
Associate yourself with good people, good coaches, good mentors. It takes a village of good people to raise a financial advisor, you just can’t do it on your own. You have to have the analytics of a CPA, but with the personality and heart of a social worker. You have to be amazing at coping through disappointment and failure.
I got lucky and got put in a career that at the time I didn’t deserve. I grew up in the career and ended up deserving it more over time. All I know when I started was that I was in security with GM and my friend Greg was in securities with IDS. I was 23, talk about pure luck. I made 12K first year, 16K the second, 24K the third. I did a lot of coping – it was like getting a master’s degree.
Tell us about your family.
I have been married to Carolyn for almost seven years. My daughter Jessica is 33. She’s married and expecting a daughter in November – my first grandchild. My son Kyle is 30 and is getting married in July in California. My stepdaughter Hannah is 16, and my stepson Tyler is 20 and in music school in Orlando.
What are your interests and hobbies?
I love to travel, and I love sports – all the Tampa Bay sports teams. I’m a season ticket holder to the Bucs, Lightning and Rays. I also love golf – we live on a golf course – and fishing.
What book do you most give or recommend to people?
There are so many books, but the most is probably The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. They have one for teens, and there are three or four spinoffs. If people read that, they can get through a lot of things in life the right way.
What’s your motivation in life?
My motivations are all about increasing freedom for my family, friends and clients. If I look at my values, a lot of them are the f words – family, friends, freedom, faith, fairness.
The things I do the most are increasing the freedom to my clients to increase their choices and experience freedom in a better way. And for my team too at work, making sure they’re well taken care of, that they can go on vacation and come back refreshed.
What do you want to check off next on your bucket list?
I’m going to the Greek Islands on May 18. I’ve never been there. We got a 99-foot schooner with 10 friends – we’ll be at a villa for two days and then on a schooner for a week with a captain, two maids and a cook.
That will be amazing, but most important is becoming a grandfather and watching Kyle get married.
If you could put up a giant billboard with anything on it, what would it say and why?