President, Senior Partner
Jeff grew up in a middle-class family near Richmond, VA during the 60s and 70s. His
father Walton instilled a strong work ethic early on and taught him the value of
persistence by his example. After attending Bridgewater College in Virginia’s
Shenandoah Valley, Jeff married his high school sweetheart, DeAnn. They started a
family and ultimately had three daughters: Melissa, Meloney, and Miriam.
In the early 1980s, Jeff worked for Ukrop's Supermarkets in Richmond, first as a stock clerk and later as a pricing specialist managing the new IBM UPC code check-out computer system for the Chester store. Walton Harris owned a modest real estate agency and encouraged Jeff to join him in the business.
Jeff continued working for Ukrop's while earning his real estate license. He planned to work part-time but soon realized he wasn’t interested in a traditional “sales” job. But at his Dad’s office Christmas party that year Jeff discovered his true passion and his life was changed!
A young stockbroker was describing various investment strategies and pointed out how some mutual funds had annual returns of 10% or more over several decades. This was almost double what Jeff earned at his local bank; and he was hooked!
He began reading voraciously and soon discovered a concept called “Buy Term and Invest the Difference” in a book titled “The Power of Money Dynamics" by Venita VanCaspel. In essence, the author recommended inexpensive term life insurance for families like Jeff’s so they could afford adequate coverage.
But the life insurance industry pushed whole life insurance (a combination of term and a savings account) because it generated higher sales commissions. And the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had just published a research report stating the average return on whole life insurance was about 3%.
Jeff discovered he could buy four times as much life insurance with term, and still have money left over to add to his mutual fund. And if the mutual funds continued averaging 10% or so, he’d have two to three times more money in savings at retirement compared to the life insurance policy’s cash value.
Still working full-time at Ukrop’s, he earned his investment and insurance license and began showing anyone who would listen what he’d done for his own family. After two years working part-time, Jeff decided to pursue his financial services career full-time.
In the early 90s Jeff founded his own Registered Investment Advisory firm (RIA) which enabled him to work with clients on a fee for service basis. Over the years he’s earned a variety of professional designations, which coupled with his experience, give him a strong foundation to serve his clients.
In 1999, Jeff earned his Financial Planning designation through Raymond James University in St. Petersburg, FL. In 2001, he completed his Certified Wealth Manager designation through The Cannon School at Northwestern University in Chicago.
Since then he has earned several other professional distinctions: Center for Fiduciary Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, 2003, Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF); Alliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors at Loyola University, 2008, Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor, (CM&AA); and FI 360 at The Wharton School, 2010, Accredited Investment Fiduciary Analyst, (AIFA).