Like many high school students, Jason Van Duyn was no big fan of algebra. But one day a substitute teacher captured the young man's imagination in that class by showing him a cost-of-waiting calculation. It showed specifically how much saving, instead of spending, is worth. The premise is simple and the mathematics compelling: save now, be wealthy later. That realization launched Mr. Van Duyn's career.
"People try to make it confusing, but it's a few very simple things," he said. "If you just follow these simple rules that anyone can follow, their lives will be dramatically better because they'll have a lot more money."
Mr. Van Duyn started his own firm, AQuest Wealth Strategies, an LPL Financial-affiliated firm, in Sterling Heights, Mich., in 2009 as the financial crisis weighed on the industry. He considers the timing propitious. After all, monkeys throwing darts at stock tables can pick winners in an up-market, but people really needed help during that once-in-a-lifetime market rout.
"When things are good, the monkeys don't need me, let alone human beings," he said.
Despite his admiration for the individualist writer Ayn Rand, the broker and adviser is a philanthropist. He said he's gone to a local Kmart and paid off the layaway accounts for every person with children's toys on their wish lists. The former math skeptic, now a candidate for a doctorate in business administration, has no trouble making calculations these days. He said making purchases on layaway is more responsible than using credit cards.
— Trevor Hunnicutt
Founder and CEO, LearnVest Inc.