Taylor R. Schulte

Taylor R. Schulteage 31

Founder, Define Financial

Fast Facts

  • Drinks two or three cups of loose-leaf green tea every day
  • Wanted to be a professional hockey player growing up
  • Guilty pleasure: eating carne asada burritos and binge-watching Netflix

Taylor Schulte created his own wealth management firm, Define Financial, about two years ago, building on seeds planted long before he knew a thing about advice.

Fearful of flying, Mr. Schulte didn’t follow his father into a career as a commercial pilot, embarking instead on an entrepreneurial path inspired by his grandfather, who with no money migrated to the U.S. by boat from Germany. “He’s a big reason I’m in this business,” he said.

When he was 12, his grandfather bought him some company stock, teaching him the value of long-term investing as he tracked price movements in the daily newspaper. Now he’s the one offering lessons.

Mr. Schulte volunteers at the San Diego Center for Financial Literacy, offering educational workshops for the area’s youth, military and low- to moderate-income individuals. He’s also part of an advisory panel at San Diego State University that’s seeking to make financial planning a possible major for students.

At Define Financial, Mr. Schulte oversees about $35 million in assets, a portion of which is tied to clients he gained in his first job as an adviser at Morgan Stanley, which he joined right after graduating from the University of Arizona. It was while working on Wall Street that he witnessed the wild effects of the financial crisis on markets and got yet another lesson on staying the course – although this time by watching other investors panic.

“Because I was so inexperienced, I was probably more numb to it than other financial advisers,” said Mr. Schulte. “I didn’t lose any clients. I stayed calm, and I helped clients stay calm.”

– Christine Idzelis