Tammy Schuler is a financial advisor and Vice President of Bison Financial Group in Evansville, IN.
How did you become a financial advisor?
When I was in elementary school, my grandpa started buying stocks for me. I had this big binder and all the kids would be playing in the neighborhood and my mom’s yelling for me to come in and record my dividend checks in the binder. So I was mad I’d have to come in. But then when I hit high school, I’m like, wait a minute, I’ve got money. That was pretty cool.
So that was my first exposure, and I always knew I wanted to do business. When I graduated from college, I started doing marketing research for a company, but after so many years, I had my daughter and I didn’t want her in daycare very long, so I got into personal training, which I did in college. As soon as my daughter went into pre-K, I went back to business.
I started at a credit union as their financial consultant. From there I ended up with Merrill Lynch to Wells Fargo and now Amerprise.
What do you like about what you do?
Being able to help people get to where they need to be, and giving them peace at night. The best story I can think of is about a local bank here that was laying off people years ago, and I had a client who was concerned about being laid off. And I said, “Why don’t you come in here, let’s just do some financial planning, let’s just see what you look like.”
So they finally agreed to it. I did all the numbers and when they came in and I told her, “Even if they lay you off, you could retire today and still hit every single goal you wanted,” you should have seen the look on her face –all the stress and fear (disappeared). Then she looked at her husband and said, “I think I’ll quit tomorrow.” He’s like, “No, you can’t quit yet.” So it was kind of funny, but it was just one of those moments where you felt like you really made an impact.
Tell us about your family?
I’ve been married to my husband Brett for a couple of years. My daughter Megan (18) is at David Lipscomb College in Nashville, my stepdaughter Kiersten (22) is in a Master’s program at Indiana University in Bloomington, and my stepson Carson (19) is at Vincennes University in Vincennes, IN.
Tell us about your love for RVs?
In 1999, I had season tickets for the St. Louis Cardinals. I’m a huge baseball fan. We would go over there and stay, and they jacked up hotel ticket prices. So I said, “I think I’m gonna buy an RV,” and I could keep my dogs with me, and then I could go over there and stay for 22 bucks.
So that kind of started it. The very first day I picked it up, I had them put my motorcycle on the back and my Jeep on the back, and I took off for California.
I had that one for about four years, and then I upgraded to a diesel pusher. I had that one for about 16 years – I took my daughter everywhere, and my mom. I’d take my friends down to Nashville, I’d take trips in it. More so than anything, it was security and safety.
I’m on my fourth one now – we just got it in August of last year. It’s a game changer for sure. Even to this day, my husband – we’ve been married a couple of years now – he has me park it. So anywhere we go, I’m the one that’s parking it. It’s 45 feet long. It’s like a house driving around.
It’s glamping. It does make it nice because we go and stay on the beach and even in COVID, my daughter and I went and cooked our meals and everything in there. So it gave her at least a mental break from feeling like all the walls were closing in on her at home during that period.
Also, it’s a niche because when you get into a park, RV people will come up and ask where you’re from. They want to know your story, they want to sit down, they’ll pull up a chair and they let down their guard. We’ve had people within a day ask us to travel with them somewhere. People aren’t going to do that at a hotel.
I can work from the RV too. I have a tri-monitor that slides over my laptop. And then I have a traveling printer that I take. And then of course I have my hotspot. So there’s not been a time that I haven’t worked when I’ve been in the RV.
What are your other hobbies or interests?
Besides RVs, I love scuba diving. My daughter is 18, but when she turned 14, I took her down to the Caymans and got her certified so I could have a diving buddy. I like anything outdoors. I like fire pits. I like Jeeps. I like mudding. I love going down to Nashville, and I like mom-and-pop restaurants.
What advice would you give to a college student or recent college graduate who wants to be a financial advisor?
I would tell them to intern in a financial advisor’s office. They’re not going to be doing obviously what financial advisors are going to do, but you’re going to see enough glimpses of things going on and can get involved. Just get involved in groups because those are going to be your best centers of influence of people wanting to refer to you.
For someone coming out of college or in college – intern. You’ll learn a lot of things from people that have been in the business, even if you take one piece from this person or that person, and then obviously making those contacts and being in those organizations will be helpful.
What motivates you in life?
To be better than I was yesterday and to keep learning. I think AI (artificial intelligence) is going to take over a lot of what we do. But what’s always going to be needed is that human aspect. I don’t know that AI will ever learn that. AI could probably do a lot of what I do way faster, but it will never empathize with a client that’s had a husband pass away. I’ve sat on the phone with them for an hour and a half, most of them crying and just consoling them. I don’t think AI is ever going to be able to do that, or figure out what’s important to them from an emotional aspect because it doesn’t make sense to the computer.
What book do you most recommend or give out?
So I used to get books all the time, but I found this app called Headway that takes a nonfiction bestseller book and summarizes it so that in 15 minutes, you’ve got the meat of the book. I listen to one in the shower, and then as I’m getting ready, I listen to another book, and then the third book is on my way to work.
The best time for personal development, I feel, is in the morning – my attention span’s much greater. And if I can just get the main meat of the book and not the fluff, it makes me more productive, I think.
What purchase under $100 has most impacted your life in the last six months?
It was probably about ten dollars, and it’s a t-shirt I bought for my dog Daisy – she’s a Bichon Frise. Everyone wants to pet this dog or hold her because everyone’s coming up, and she’s approachable. So I got this shirt and I got it through compliance, and it says, “Do you have enough $$ to make it through retirement? Ask my mom!” and then it’s got my logo. So, that’s a conversation piece when people come up to her.
What’s the next big thing to check off your bucket list?
I want to go to all 50 states. Of course, you know having an RV that’s doable (I’ve been to Hawaii). We were trying to count it up the other day and I’m thinking it was like 23 to 26 I’ve been to. I’d also like to go to Bora Bora.
But I’m a creature of habit, and we go to Florida and park on the beach and it’s the clearest water. We try to go other places and then I think, “I wish we were at the beach.”