The Story Behind Confidence Wealth
An Interview with Rem Oculee
Remember how you felt when you had a friend who was doing something you were convinced was to their detriment, but you just couldn’t do anything about? Rem Oculee can vividly remember his conversation with a close friend in 2000. It was at the height of the stock market internet bull run. He hadn’t seen his friend in some time, so they were getting together for lunch to reconnect.
“My friend was excited about how well the stock market was performing,” Rem recalls. “Several years ago, one of his family members passed away, leaving the rest of the family millions his mother, brothers and sisters were to divide.”
“Because his siblings lived overseas and knew he did very well following the advice of his financial planner, they had asked my friend to take charge of investing the entire estate for them. At some point, they wanted to help their mother move to a warmer climate and live in a nicer place, and to have more funds set away for their own retirement. They wanted to accomplish that through investing.
“My friend had similar plans of his own. He and his wife were going to send their daughter to a costly Ivy League college. His daughter was supposed to enroll in the fall of that year, and my friend himself planned to retire early, so he and his wife could travel as they always dreamed. He also had a side business he wanted to start, and the money they were making from their investments was going to be the seed money for the new venture.”
Knowing that Rem was successful in the financial industry, his friend was eager to show how well his investments were doing.
“When I saw where their money was invested, when he told me his plan,” Rem continued, “I tried to tell his friend that yes, your nest egg was doing very well, but everything depended on the market continuing its rapid growth. There could be real problems if the market suffers a downturn. I urged him to see another financial adviser since I didn’t want my opinions on his methods to get in the way of our long friendship. I later realized I was wrong. I should have been more insistent.
“I could tell by his expression he didn’t like what I said. He looked as if I’d just poured cold water on his enthusiasm. He thanked me for what I’d said, but he affirmed to me that he knew what he was doing and that his financial adviser had made him money in the past, and while there was no specific financial plan nor risk strategy, he believed he was on the right track.
“Maybe I should have pushed him harder. I just wanted to warn him that no market goes up forever. It’s always unpredictable. But again, our friendship got in the way since I didn’t want to appear to lecture him.
“So, we finished our lunch, and said we’d have to get together again soon. Two months later, the bubble burst, and by July of that year, everything came crashing down.”
Rem’s second conversation with his friend didn’t happen until they finally saw each other five months later. By then, his friend’s nest egg was less than a fifth of what it was when we last talked, meaning he and his family would have to get more than 500 percent return on their investments just to get back to where they were before.
“I felt really bad for him,” Rem acknowledged. “He looked like a different person. He had to keep working at his same job and give up on his plan for the new business. He just didn’t have the capital. Now, he and his wife wouldn’t get to travel, and their daughter had to enroll in a less prestigious college.
‘Worst of all,’ he told me, ‘was having to tell my family their investments had crashed as well, and that our mother couldn’t move south after all.’
“I’ve seen and heard many such stories over the years,” Rem said. Situations where average and sometimes even experienced investors lose huge amounts – sometimes everything they have – because their uninformed or narrow-thinking advisers told them to go after bigger returns, with no consideration of what happens when the bottom drops out of the markets — and without consideration for having a properly structured financial plan.
“After hearing my friend’s story, and seeing many like it, and knowing the devastation so many people felt during that awful time, I became even more determined to create Confidence Wealth.
“In 2002, I decided to use the experience I gained over the years to create a model firm that’s based on education and fulfills my mission of using advanced strategies and solutions that are overlooked or too complex for the average adviser. I wanted the solutions that require extensive research and effort because average solutions don’t always solve people’s financial problems.
“I wanted a completely independent company away from the regular Wall Street hype. I wanted a wealth management organization whose first priority was to account for market downturns and corrections. I wanted to help our clients with the preservation (saving) and distribution (spending) stages of their financial plans. That was a big point for me because most other firms will focus solely on investments.
“I also wanted a firm that helped our clients grow their wealth through tax-efficient and estate planning strategies. And for our business clients, I wanted them to have the best strategies that connects their business life to their personal financial life.
“I also wanted a team of highly trained advisers fully committed to those principles. We would only take on clients who agreed that riding a high-flying but volatile market or chasing after the latest new strategy or hot investment is not the way to achieve real wealth and financial security.
Above all, I wanted a company that wouldn’t allow a situation like the one that happened to my friend and his family.
Rem states proudly, “This is how, and why, Confidence Wealth was born.”
Rem and his team at Confidence Wealth have continued to take a powerful, holistic approach to wealth management. Their process isn’t subject to whim, and it doesn’t believe that what happened in the past will always happen that way again. Rather, it draws on Rem’s 30 years of experience in both business and finance.