Mission Wealth's Spotlight on the Team for September is Client Advisor, Skyler Kraemer! Skyler joined Mission Wealth in August of 2019. Skyler has over nine years of experience in the financial industry and holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies, a Masters of Science with an emphasis in Personal Finance and the CFP® designation. In this interview, you will learn more about Skyler's love for traveling, his love for sports - including the Mets and the NY Giants - and some childhood experiences that shaped who he is today. He has a passion for helping people and for being a lifetime student - always learning as much as he can.
What are a few childhood experiences you had that formed who you are today?
I was born and raised in NYC, in Park Slope in Brooklyn until I was 8 and then Chelsea in Manhattan until I was 18. Growing up my mom used to drag us to a lot of plays, museums, and bookstores and I didn’t realize what a privilege that was until I moved out of the city.
My Dad was also really great about us participating in sports. We played soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in spring and a lot of times he would coach our teams.
At the age of 12 my parents sent me to a three week canoe tripping summer camp in Northern Canada. My brother and I flew to Toronto, then took a bus six hours north, then took a bush plane, which takes off and lands on water, to basecamp.
We were there for two nights and for rest of the time we were traveling by canoe along lakes and rivers and sleeping in tents. There was no TV, internet, or cell phones. We didn’t even have watches. Being a city kid this was a big shock to me, but I eventually learned to love it.
Some of my best childhood memories from those trips include pushing myself beyond my physical limits, learning how to make a fire in the rain, fishing, mountain climbing, seeing bears, moose, bald eagles, and the northern lights. These experiences more than anything sparked my interest in environmental issues which eventually led me to attend University of California, Santa Barbara.
How do you like to spend time outside of Mission Wealth?
My two favorite things to do in life are 1) going to the beach and 2) barbequing. Any time I get to be outside, in the sun, with food(!) and family/friends is a good time for me.
I also love to travel with my wife, Kate. Last year we went to Greece for our honeymoon. This year we visited Paris and Amboise for our one year anniversary. Next year we are planning on going to Austria and Italy. We love going anywhere that has good wine tasting.
On a day to day basis, when I’m not traveling, I like spending time with friends and family, going to sports events, concerts, movies, plays, and museums. Basically anything that you need a ticket for I’m usually into. I also love doing things that are competitive, whether it’s golf, bowling, bocce, corn hole, etc. If it’s a game and there’s a way to win, it sounds fun to me!
Are you a raving fan of anything – like a sports team or band or school? And why?
I love books that are made into movies or TV shows and comparing the two. Whether it’s Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park, or The Godfather, I really enjoy reading something and then watching the film adaptation.
I’m a huge football fan. My team is the NY Giants but I follow most teams/players because I’m in three fantasy football leagues. I also adopted my wife’s Alma Matter, the South Carolina Gamecocks as my college football team since UCSB doesn’t have one.
I’m a big fan of Mets baseball. It’s been a rough decade but this year they’ve been super fun to watch.
What’s something interesting that people don’t know about you?
In high school I was convinced that I wanted to be a fine artist and very seriously considered going to art school.
I eat strawberries with the green leafy part still on.
I don’t drink coffee and I’m allergic to egg yolks so I’m not a huge fan of breakfast at all.
If you could offer any advice to your younger self, what would it be?
I would advise myself to be more patient.
The career, the wife, the house are all going to happen one day and everything you want now comes with its own set of problems. It’s hard, but try to focus on enjoying what you have right now.
I would also tell myself to learn to meditate and start doing it every day.
At Mission Wealth we talk to people all the time about what their goals and aspirations are. So what’s on your bucket list?
A lot of my bucket list is travel related. I want to see all of the major European cities (London, Munich, Barcelona, Rome, etc.). So far I’ve been to Paris, Prague, and Edinburgh. I also would love to see the great pyramids at Giza. Some other notable standouts that I would love to see include Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand.
There are also a couple of adventures I would love to do. They include climbing Mt. Fuji, re-attempting to summit Mt. Shasta, and white water rafting through the Grand Canyon. I would also love to see more national parks, like Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc.
There are a couple of intellectual pursuits I would love to do as well. I am interested in completing the Certified Private Wealth Advisor® (CPWA®) certification. I would also love to teach financial planning at the college level and eventually one day write a book.
Finally, and most importantly, I definitely want to have kids.
Are you a part of any organizations or clubs? Tell us more about it.
I’m a member of the Financial Planning Association of New York and New Jersey.
What do you think makes you well-suited for your current role?
I have a passion for helping people. Also, I’m good at math but I also have good people skills and I think financial planning is the perfect profession to combine the use of both sets of skills.
Is there something about your personality that guides your approach?
I’ve also been interested in improving myself in any way that I can. I consider myself a lifetime student and I think that’s one of the things that has gotten me to where I am today.
The world of personal finance is always changing. Whether it’s new laws being passed, or new research being put forth, there is always something to learn and get better at. I think being someone who is always interested in learning something new helps me stay on the leading edge in the profession.
What are your favorite kinds of clients to work with and why?
I really like working with retirees because I enjoy helping them live off of the fruit of their labors.
I also love working with small business owners because their situations tend to be more complex and there are usually more opportunities to help them find unique and interesting ways to improve their financial situation.
What kinds of issues do you help your clients with and what kinds of unique services do you provide your clients with to help them with these issues?
There is a taboo about talking about money, especially among different generations. A unique service I like to offer is to facilitate conversations about money between parents and their adult children.
Success Story: Tell me an actual story about a client that you helped and how you changed their life in a positive way.
A few years ago I met with a prospective new client. It was a husband and wife in their mid-50s who were considering hiring an advisor. The husband had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and had been told he only had a few months to live.
Up until that point he had been the one who handled the finances including trading in their accounts. They met with us because the wife had no interest in investments and they wanted to make sure that she would be OK. The husband passed just two months after our first meeting and we began working with the wife.
Through the financial planning process we determined that during her late-husband's life time, they had saved more than enough for her to live comfortably. We began managing the portfolio in a conservative way, to make sure that she would be protected from market turbulence so she would never have to worry about money again.
Being the person who gets called to help when someone’s spouse passes away is something that I will never forget.
Give me one piece of financial advice you would offer clients:
Don’t check your investment account balances too frequently!
I think about once a month or even quarterly is probably best. Checking investment accounts too frequently can lead people to do things that only hurt them in the long run.
If you want or need to check something more frequently, check your transaction history in checking accounts and credit cards. Monitoring that frequently can really help improve your financial situation.
What is a subject or area of finance that not many people know a lot about, but understanding it could really help their financial picture?
Cash Flow management. Setting up an automated system so the bills are getting paid, and you're saving up to hit various different goals is key. A lot of people just shoot from the hip when it comes to their cash flows but I encourage clients to examine what’s coming in and what’s going out under a microscope at least once a year.
What are some important things to consider when choosing a financial planner?
Personality fit, trust, and if they are a CFP®/Fiduciary.