Byron E. Caskey
Wells Fargo Advisors
In short, what do you do?
I work with my clients to help them understand, develop and implement a financial or investment strategy for their family or business. A lot of my role is education and equipping them them to make better decisions with or without me.
After studying broadcast journalism in school, then working in the insurance industry, what prompted your career move to financial services?
I love insurance and everyone should have it. However, I felt I was limited in what I could offer clients to address their needs and complete their full financial picture. On the other hand, Wells Fargo Advisors allows me to offer insurance if needed in addition to investments, lending, trust services, and so we can take a comprehensive approach to planning.
What are some of the biggest changes in the financial services market that you’ve seen since starting in this sector?
There are a lot. The biggest would have to be the client advisor relationship and what that entails. Many of the advisors in my office started as a broker. Their day-to-day involved selling stocks, bonds, and mutual funds helping clients accumulate an investment portfolio. Today we talk about planning and how everything you have plays an important part in the overall picture.
Tell us about your customer/client service philosophy.
My philosophy is simple – education. The more that I can make my clients “mentally smart financially” or financially literate, the better it is for me. I always tell them that it is vital to their success if they can decipher the noise at the water cooler in the office, on the news, and a family member that just had a good sound bite from that of a true advisor. As we all know, we live in a microwave era. So we think creating financial stability can just happen when we want it to and that’s not the case. There’s no such thing as a quick fix.
Tell us about some of your involvement and volunteerism around financial literacy initiatives.
I’ve given talks around town and would love to do one each week if I could! I’ve spoken at City Hall, St. Louis Community College, WashU, Jennings School District and small businesses. It’s my way of giving back.
We can change our city’s trajectory in a decade if we begin to break the cycle of financial impoverishment. It’s the old adage “give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime.” We need to stop handing out money and teach people how to make it. Learning the importance of setting money aside for college early is a big win, having life insurance assures that a parent or guardian can be present emotionally and not have to worry about the financial burden in the absence of a parent that passed or why the local credit union is better than the cash advance place. We do that and we wouldn’t recognize our city in 15 years – I truly believe that.
What are your Top 3 favorite St. Louis landmarks or places to visit?
- Any new restaurant or microbrewery in the city and I’m a fan.
- Everything in Forest Park.
- We live by Grant’s Farm and my daughters love going there, so it wins, too.