by Monica Chamness
Starting over later in life is something Americans are becoming more inclined to do these days. Such is the case for Teresa Rainey, an investment advisor who recently moved her venture, Investment Education, to a stretch of offices lining the Southbank Riverwalk.
“I started the company three years ago for the purpose of working with women in my age group, which is 45-65, that are at a certain point in their business and need to think about their financial future,” said Rainey. “I help them reach the point of financial independence by finding the right investments.”
Her practice is not limited to middle-aged business women; she also works with younger women, men and families.
“The 45-65-year-olds I relate to the most,” she explained. “I know where they are in their lives and their careers. In 2003, I decided to re-focus on women business owners. My goal is to add 50 women this year so I will have more of my target market on the books.”
Although she moved here from Gainesville five years ago, Rainey is familiar with the financial underpinnings of Jacksonville because of her previous work experience here. After sharpening her portfolio marketing skills, she struck out on her own.
“I really enjoyed securities,” she said. “I figured I was not too old to go back and re-license, so three years ago I went independent.”
By independent, she means she is free of the pressures by management to push certain products. Rainey chooses her own broker/dealer according to the type of work she wants to do. Fees are paid by independents such as Rainey for things such as compliance, errors and omission and the ability to have a branch office. Generally, she works with clients to buy, sell and advise regarding investments.
Suggesting strategies to move assets from the business to the business owner for personal use is another service she provides. Isolating strategies that are tax efficient, appropriate for the client’s circumstances and, of course, legal is her specialty.
“Often everything you earn goes right back into the business,” she said. “At some point you have to take it out of the business and put it into your own account so you’ll have an income for your future. We [she and administrative assistant Lisa Whichard] do some strategic planning to move to less active participation and more financial freedom.”
Formerly a Dean Witter stock broker during the 1980s, Rainey left the industry to spend more time with her children. She dabbled in St. Augustine real estate for seven years, ran a bed and breakfast and operated a boarding house for college students. In Gainesville, she tried theatrical costuming. Now, Rainey’s back doing what she likes best, this time on her own terms.
“A lot of people refer to this type of work as financial planning, but I don’t because that is a specialized area,” she said. “What I do is advise people on what investments will accomplish their goals. If they have a certain time frame, certain needs or a certain risk tolerance, we will find an investment that will accomplish those goals.”
Always inevitable is the change brought with the passing of time, fluctuating markets, modified products and people growing older.
“These corporations who issue stock, these insurance companies that issue policies and annuities — they all have to change with the times to make people feel comfortable with investing,” said Rainey. “If you invested in something 20 years ago, it may or may not be the same animal now. The company has changed, the management structure has changed, sometimes if you bought stock in a blue chip company it may not be that anymore due to corporate scandals. This has been an extremely difficult two or three years in the market. People have left the business because it’s extremely competitive. Investors are disappointed; they’re leaving their brokers. People have pulled out of the market and into cash.”
To reflect the evolving financial markets, she named her business Investment Education.
“People are more interested in educating themselves now,” she said. “They want to know how to protect their future.”
Rainey offers educational workshops off-site on varying financial topics. In March, she will discuss executive bonuses — paying yourself from your business. In May, real estate investment trusts are penciled into her schedule. The conferences are by invitation only.
Just like the investment world, Investment Educators is re-shaping itself constantly, too. To enable the business to grow, Rainey hopes to hire a like-minded partner with common goals to add to her client base of 50.
“The complaints I have heard is that, ‘My broker has too many clients and doesn’t have time for me.’ That’s why I want to remain small, to be able to manage having time for everybody,” she said. “Particularly when you’re in large brokerage houses, you’re pushed to build your client base to huge numbers. People now are looking for personal attention.”