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Personal Re-Introduction

One of my favorite financial bloggers (J. Money – the OG of #personalfinance bloggers) removed himself from the game (i.e. sold his blog – Budgets Are Sexy) in late 2019. 

Hot off the presses… he is back! Evidently, the buyer couldn’t get done what they hoped and J. Money is back in the saddle. I am assuming he will be doing amazing things. If you don’t already follow him, you’ll want to start. 

For his first post, he did a bit of a personal intro, and I liked the format… so, in the name of transparency, I am stealing it. 

Overview 

My name is Jonathan DeYoe. I’ve been a ‘financial advisor’ for 25 years. I started in sales at Dean Witter in 1996. As a young broker I cold-called on Cisco stock – a good, conservative(ish), blue-chippy, tech stock. If people were more aggressive, I shifted gears to Juniper Networks. If people were more conservative, I shifted towards municipal bonds. The first goal was to make a sale and get a commission. 

Once they were customers, if they were open to deeper conversations, I pushed for a comprehensive portfolio review. 

Early in my career, I was convinced that I knew something about investments. I thought I (or maybe our analysts) could – armed with tools and information – choose better investments and (gasp!) time markets. I know… ridiculous. 

Today, I almost never talk about specific investments or portfolio reviews (other than to check for appropriate asset-allocation). Market timing and investment selection isn’t in my own (or anyone’s) circle of competence. No one can consistently predict the market or the economy, so today we talk about financial education and planning. Once clients know how markets work (education) and have a comprehensive plan, the important decision points become obvious. 

The vast majority of the financial mistakes and fears I encounter are because people lose sight of the long-term truth as they confront the short-term noise. 

In a world that is market-focused and performance-driven, Mindful Money is goal-focused and planning-driven.  Mindfulness, the non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, allows us to ignore the media-driven emphasis on consumption (which doesn’t lead to durable happiness) and "beating the market" (which can be neither predicted nor controlled), and focus on simple, disciplined behaviors that have long-term impacts on our lives.  

With a more mindful approach, we can lessen the need to react to today’s headlines, experience reduced anxiety, and enjoy better outcomes.

Detail, for Those who are Interested: 

My Work History

  • Started at Dean Witter in 1996.
  • Dean Witter bought Morgan Stanley and became Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.
  • I moved my business to PaineWebber.
  • UBS bought PaineWebber and became UBS PaineWebber.
  • I moved my business to Smith Barney (the worst career decision in my life – I lasted 3 months).
  • I moved to Prudential and started over.
  • I left the Wall Street Brokerage world to start my own independent financial planning firm in my basement (2001). I started with 6 clients.
  • DeYoe Wealth Management hired our first employee and we signed our first lease in 2004.
  • Mindful Money, a financial education blog, was launched in 2012.
  • DeYoe Wealth Management became a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) in 2014.
  • My book, Mindful Money, was published in 2017.
  • DeYoe Wealth Management rebranded to “Mindful Money” in 2020.
  • The Mindful Money Financial Education Courses launched in 2021.
  • Mindful Wealth Podcast launched in 2021.
  • Wealth Management merged into EP Wealth in December 2021.
  • Mindful Money becomes an education and group services co.
  • Mindful Money Podcast launched in 2022.  

My Personal Financial History

  • I was raised in a poor family. My folks’ grand venture failed in 1974 and my parents didn’t have a steady income between my 3rd and 15th birthday. When I was 15, my dad got a civilian engineering job at Ellsworth Air-Force base and we finally had income.
  • I started working as a mover (Allied Van Lines) at 12 years old – I did this job and worked in Asian restaurants all the way through college.
  • I got a degree in Philosophy & Religious Studies and went to Lutheran Seminary after college. I switched from Lutheran Seminary to Buddhist Academia.
  • I dropped out in 1996 to start working at Dean Witter - I leaned away from the academic study and towards the deepening practice of Buddhism.
  • I worked hard for 18 years to reach my target income of $500k – reaching that goal in 2014.
  • I continued growing revenue and hiring people – grew to a team of 8.
  • In time, I discovered I was very good working with clients, but I was less good as a CEO. My brother and I started talking in 2017 about him handling business operations, technology, and HR.
  • My brother died tragically in June of 2021 the day before his 45th Birthday. This totally changed my life.
  • I merged my firm into EP Wealth in Dec. 2021.
  • I became a SVP & partner at EP Wealth.
  • I make a little over $300,000 from work.
  • I spend about $100,000 maintaining the Mindful Money blog, podcast, and courses.
  • My new goal is to turn that from a $100,000 expense in 2022 to breakeven in 2023 and then a $100,000 income in 2024.
  • I house all my banking at First Republic Bank and all of my public investments at EP Wealth.
  • 90%+ of my family investments are in Vanguard and DFA mutual funds. This is our ‘serious’ money. I lean towards traditional factors – small companies, value, and profitability – in my mutual fund investing.
  • The remaining 10% of our family investments are in angel, seed, and pre-seed investments. This is just fun.
    1. My two best Angel investments to date have been Intensivate (which just completed their A round) and The Athletic (which was acquired by the NY Times in 2021).
    2. The list of failed angel investments (the kind that go all the way to zero) is literally too long to include.
  • I don’t track spending. I track Net Worth. Not as granular, but more fun.
  • I own 80% of my home. I have a mortgage of about $400k. I think about paying it off, but the interest rate is 1.875% (seems stupid to pay that off while inflation is so high).
  • I max my 401k every year.
  • I max my family HSA every year.
  • I’m 90% Financially Independent… almost there.
  • I won’t buy crypto-currencies (too speculative and/or scammy), but I will invest in block-chain companies.
  • I don’t hesitate to go out (for coffee, breakfast, lunch, or dinner).
  • I don’t hesitate to travel.
  • I believe in the power of a morning routine. Mine collapsed when my brother died.
  • 2022 is a habit-rebuilding year. I am working towards waking up early, meditating, working out, stretching, reading, and writing every morning.
  • I am still becoming… 

My Personal Life

  • I’m 50.
  • My brother, best friend, and only sibling died in June, 2021.
  • I’m married.
  • I have 2 teenage kids.
  • My wife and kids are my world.
  • I live in Northern California.
  • I play soccer every week.
  • I have a degree in Philosophy & Religious Studies.
  • I started in the Lutheran Seminary at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU)
  • I dropped out of an MA program in Buddhist Studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) – another school at the GTU.
  • I have been in the financial industry for my entire professional career
    1. Wall Street firms between 1996-2001
    2. Started my own firm in 2001/2
    3. Merged my firm into EP Wealth in Dec. 2021
    4. NOW – wider access to advice and low-cost group services
  • I’ve won lots of awards as an advisor, as a business owner, and as a financial blogger.
  • My first wife and I were divorced in 1999.
  • I married Kate in 2003.
  • I love almost anything involving a forest or a mountain – snow skiing, backpacking, mountain biking, rock-climbing and hiking.
  • I love entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs.
  • I believe we need to do better with wealth in our culture.
  • I love talking and writing about the places where love overlaps money.
  • I love to write and interview guests on my podcasts.
  • I love helping families imagine and reach their best lives.
  • I love almost all forms of music – preferring folk and rock, but enjoying pop, hip-hop, and opera as well.
  • I love the classic cocktails – Negroni, Manhattan, Martini, Old-fashioned, Aviation.
  • My "big hairy audacious lifetime goal" is to finish writing my 5-book series bridging money and mindfulness.
  • My bucket list includes flying a plane and scuba diving.

If you've read this far, I'm impressed. Perhaps this is all a bit of an overshare - but my hope is that by being unguarded with where I've been, where I am now, and where I might be going, I might inspire someone to keep going on their own journey towards financial independence.

And...if I can help, let me know.

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