Before he joined Edward Jones as a financial adviser in 2002, Brian Conrad served as a military policeman for the U.S. Army, as a state trooper for the state of Washington, and as K9 search and rescue handler.
What do all those careers have in common? Each job allowed Conrad to help other people, and that’s what he has enjoyed most about being a financial adviser since 1996, with 17 of those years at Edward Jones.
“The most rewarding part of this is seeing the clients reach their goals,” Conrad said. “Everybody has something different they are trying to accomplish. Some people want to buy a house in five years. Some people want to take a trip to Alaska that they never took. For some people, it’s leaving a legacy for grandkids or great-grandkids or whatever is down the road. And we have the ability to do all that stuff, so it’s wonderful.”
The process is simple. Conrad meets prospective clients to plan a personal strategy in tune with their goals. He then follows up with each client every four to six weeks — by phone call, newsletter or quarterly review — to ensure the client is still on track to meet those goals.
“When a client comes in for an annual review, we might introduce an annuity, we might introduce insurance, we might introduce a stock or bond or mutual fund — it could be anything — but I really have no dog in the hunt to point me in the direction of which thing I want to sell,” Conrad said. “It’s whatever solves the client’s problem.”
Sometimes his job is providing objective advice when clients hear embellished reports of tariffs or trade wars. Edward Jones also has another safeguard to prevent people from making impulsive decisions when they watch the news or hear bad soundbites about the economy: It has no online trading.
“Edward Jones has inserted the adviser as a circuit breaker, if you will, in between the client and a decision to maybe sell,” Conrad said. “Now, at the end of the conversation, it’s always the client’s money. We are going to do what the client asks us to do, but they hire us for that impartial advice, so we are going to give them that information from an unemotional perspective.”
Conrad keeps clients calm by reminding them that every downturn is usually followed by a four-year upturn. He also tries to get clients to adopt a long-term vision instead of reacting to ups and downs in the markets.
“You’re driving from here to Chicago, you’re on the turnpike through Pennsylvania and you see flashing lights,” Conrad said, using an analogy. “You see flares and eventually you will come across two or three cars on the side of the road. People are exchanging information, a trooper is there, and these people have just participated, truly, in a crash. But you have a choice: you can either crank your car to the right and drive into their car and also participate in their crash or you can keep driving to your long-term destination of Chicago aka retirement. The media would like everyone to think, OK, the market went down, that affects absolutely everybody and you’re participating in this, and the reality is, this isn’t your exit. Your exit is another 5,000 miles down the road.”
A ways down the road from his office in Severna Park, Conrad is active in the community as vice president of the Pasadena Business Association, and he volunteered seven times for AngelRide in Connecticut, an event that raised money that brought camps to kids in hospitals.
For more information about investment opportunities, schedule an appointment by calling 410-544-8970 or visit www.edwardjones.com/brian-conrad. Located at 479 Jumpers Hole Road, Suite 202, in Severna Park, the branch tends to book appointments two weeks in advance.
“It doesn’t take a whole bunch of money to get started,” Conrad said. “We can do an IRA (individual retirement account) for as little as $5,000 to actually open the account and be up and running. We can do individual investments. Most mutual fund companies want either $1,000 or $1,500 to get started, but once you put that initial amount in, you can save as little as $25 a month or not at all and just occasionally drop in birthday and holiday money if that’s what you want to do.”