Q & A with Stan Reeg

Why did you write this book?

The original impetus was my son urging me to document my “story,” so that future generations of my family could know the details of how I grew up poor and was determined to make something of myself.  Todd wanted me to explain the principles I used to become successful and wealthy.

In 2015, I met author Rich Wolfe at Baird’s 18th Hole Hospitality Tent at the TPC Deere Run Golf Tournament.  After answering a number of his questions, he suggested that I write a book, and said that he’d help, as he felt that others could benefit from some of my life experiences and practices that might help them to become successful.

It occurred to me that with the evolution of change continuing to accelerate, technology is replacing workers, and jobs are being lost, leaving many people having to “re-boot” and find a different field, just as I had to do back in 1985.  Perhaps by reading my book, some will be inspired, and others will learn a bit from the retelling of my experiences. 

What do you think young people starting out in their careers can take away from your life story?

I would like them to know that where you come from is not so important.  What is important is dreaming big, establishing big goals and then taking the right steps toward success.  I believe that you don’t have to be the smartest person in the world; that you can’t look for shortcuts; that you must use some common sense, and most importantly, you must DO THE WORK! 

Principles that I believe in are:

  • Honesty and Integrity are irreplaceable.
  • Always over-deliver, and consider quality as a measure of success.
  • Make things happen, so do not get comfortable and just sit around waiting with hope.
  • Don’t follow the crowd, because they are just average.  Dare to be different.
  • Set big goals.
  • How we succeed is as important as if we succeed.
  • Don’t be afraid to stick your neck out and take some chances.
  • Be willing to operate outside of your comfort zone, as you could be breaking through to new horizons! 

So many people are unable to overcome a dysfunctional background.  What was it that allowed you to have the optimism and self-esteem to know that you would be rich and to follow your dream?

My mother often told us growing up that “birds of a feather flock together.”  I wanted something different for myself, and I believe that a person has to first want something different for themselves, and then work toward change. You have to make it happen for yourself. 

When I was about 10 or 11 years old a thought entered my head, and somehow I just knew that I would become wealthy someday.  I did not know how I would get there, but from that day forward, I truly believed it.  My full-time job in a factory was not going to get me there, so I looked for more. Getting involved in the Amway business at age 26 provided me the first possibility of becoming a millionaire.  This opportunity introduced me to “possibility thinking”, and to inspirational and motivational books and audiotapes. I became aware that if I wanted to be successful, I needed to get out of my comfort zone, and associate with other’s who had found success.  I believe that a person has to first want something different for themselves, and then work toward change, ultimately, making it happen. 

What are your tips for succeeding in the world of investments?

  • Set goals for yourself!  I have always set very high goals and then tried to develop a plan that I would stick to! 
  • In the world of Investments, it is important to maintain a good understanding of the economy overall and to process the information with a level head, and then not allow emotions to factor into the equation and direct your “moves.” The various stock “markets” can create emotional reactions when they are trending higher or lower.  It is impossible to anticipate when the market is going to go up or down and it is important to try and not “time” the market.  You must stay “IN” the market as Profits and Losses are only realized when you sell stock holdings. 
  • In regard to stock, know that you are not buying the market itself, but instead, you are buying stock, or ownership in some of the great companies of the world.  The values of all stocks fluctuate, but over the long term, those well established companies, like John Deere, Microsoft, McDonalds, and Pepsi continue to grow and succeed, and the stockholders get to share in the profits through stock ownership. 
  • The long term trend is your friend, and for the past 92 years, the S&P 500 Index has averaged in excess of 10% of year in total return.  Focus on the historical perspective, the long term trends and time horizons. 
  • Diversification is essential with regard to surviving the volatility of the stock market. 

How do you give back to your community?

I believe that if a person is fortunate enough to enjoy success that they should “share the wealth.”  I credit Clinton Community College for unveiling my skills with numbers and analytics, and then guiding me to pursue a career in the Financial Services Industry.  I have achieved great success, and am a big supporter of Community Colleges.  I feel that they are a major provider of training and education for non-traditional students, and those who are choosing to develop new skills in the trades, which are greatly lacking today.  I have continually chosen to support The Paul B Sharar Foundation, specifically, which helps to fund education for some students at the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges.  In fact, all the profits from my book go to the Foundation.

I continue to support my childhood community through annual giving, and am passionate about maintaining the historical integrity of my hometown church, and other buildings.  Beyond that, I make annual donations to other organizations.

To what do you attribute your success?

I think that having the right attitude, great determination and a tremendous work ethic have served me well.  I believe that I have been successful because I have made the habit of setting exceptionally high goals for myself, and then doing everything in my power to make things happen so that I can achieve success.  I also believe that everyone should start and end each day with gratitude and with positivity

How do you balance your business and personal life?

I try to find personal balance in home, work and community involvement, and it’s about setting priorities.  It is certainly a challenge, but I believe you need to be “present” and engaged fully in whatever activity you are involved in.  While in the office, my time and attention are focused on my clients, whether it is on the phone or in person. I remain in contact with them regularly, making sure that they are being provided with the outstanding service they deserve.  My priorities are Faith first, Family second, and Career third.