In This Episode
Growing up in a single-parent home, Jeff Davids witnessed his mother work three jobs to make ends meet. He realized that he must do something different to secure his financial future. So, he began building a retirement portfolio. “Everybody starts at zero,” says Jeff. The more he learned, the more compelled he was to help his co-workers, especially young people, do the same. After 20 years in retail management, Jeff’s passion led him to become a financial advisor in Winston-Salem with Edward Jones. Every day he helps people from all walks of life go from zero to making strides in the right direction.
Ditra Miller: Hi everyone. Welcome back to the show. I am super excited to have in the studio with me, Mr. Jeff Davids a financial advisor with Edward Jones here in Winston-Salem. Hi Jeff.
Jeff Davids: Hi Ditra. Thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor and a pleasure to be here with you this morning.
Ditra Miller: Actually, it’s my honor, I was sharing earlier, whenever I started with Greater Winston-Salem, one of the first people I was told I needed to meet was Jeff Davids because of how amazing you are, not just in what you do as a financial advisor, but who you are in the community and how you connect with people and just lift people up and all the things that you’re involved in. So let’s just start with a quick intro. Who is Jeff Davids and what do you do?
Jeff Davids: Yeah, thanks. Well I’ve been affectionately known as your friendly neighborhood financial advisor at Edward Jones kind of in my networking circle. I basically tell them, I give people worry-free investing, but it’s so much more than that. I’m really passionate about building a relationship with the people I work with first and foremost. And to kind of give you the story of the why I got into this – I tell you, I grew up with a single mom and she worked three jobs in retail, so she struggled to get by.
My sister was 11 years older than I, so it was basically like an only child. And she struggled, and to this day, she’s turning 74 next week and she lives off of a single social security check each and every month of about $1,100 bucks. And I just saw that, and it just devastates me. So if there’s any way that I can help somebody not go through what she’s going through now, then I feel like I’ve had some purpose.
And no, it doesn’t matter how much somebody has, I don’t care about the commas and zeros in their account. It is about just helping them get better at being better. Moving the needle, making some progress whether that’s a little or a lot. That’s what’s makes my heart go wild when I can help somebody make some progress in their life.
Ditra Miller: I love that. And I love the fact that you mentioned it doesn’t matter how many zeros or how many commas are in front of them or in their account, you want to help them make progress. And there’s a lot of people that may be listening that think, I don’t have enough zeroes in commas to get started or I just got my first part-time job. If it’s a young person, or maybe it’s someone that is middle-aged, maybe they got started late and they’re thinking, there’s no way I’m going to have enough for retirement. And I think one of the things that I read in your bio is that you not only look at those folks, but you have a background in retail and you started helping your employees that were under you look at what they were able to do. So for the folks that are listening that may not think they’ve got enough zeroes in commas, talk about one of those stories or how you helped those folks.
Jeff Davids: Sure. I think everybody knows in retail, it’s not a glamorous paying job, but people make ends meet. And what was passionate to me as a store manager for 20 years was making sure they were doing some of the right things to set their future up for better success than where they were right there at that moment. I think that’s always you know, grabs a piece of my heart when I see somebody that’s just starting out or has been struggling or maybe didn’t save along the way, and I just tell them we’re just going to go through a process and we’re, again, we’re just going to talk about making, making some small strides in the right direction, and that’s what they value the most. I’ve got all walks of life that come and work with me. Some think that they have, oh my gosh, I’m never going to be able to retire. And I tell them, guess what? You are on the three day retirement plan. Meaning if you have three bad days in a row, I give you permission to go ahead and retire right then and there.
And then there’s others, especially the young people. Those are the ones that I really love because I get to teach and educate them along the way because we don’t get enough financial education in our schools today. So being able to teach them about how much they can save, how little it can start out at the very beginning, can add up to big numbers down the road.
Ditra Miller: I love that, and I’m imagining as you’re teaching, whether it’s a young person or whomever, there are different tools. When you hear the word save, a lot of people may think savings account at a bank, but there are so many more tools. As an Edward Jones advisor, what are some of the tools in your toolbox that you offer your clients?
Jeff Davids: I am famous for using what I call goofy analogies. My favorite one is to figure out which size vehicle to put you in. Because everybody can associate with a vehicle.
Whether we need to put you in a Toyota Corolla or no, you need to be in a big jumbo Cadillac Escalade. And then they get it. But I’ve been very consistent at using those analogies, whether it’s farming analogies. I love to garden and volunteer at the food bank garden. So, again, people can realize, hey, do you know one kernel of corn can end up turning into a field of corn over time?
Well, that’s the same way that you are. Retirement nest eggs can grow as well. It just starts with one, everybody starts at zero when you really think about it. So yeah, using these analogies definitely helps get the point across to just about everybody. Again, I try to make this complicated world of investing just sound a little bit easier to understand.
Ditra Miller: You do make it sound easier. As I’m talking to you, it’s just like, why wouldn’t somebody want to go ahead and start investing in themselves? Especially if you’re thinking of it in the analogy, the goofy analogies that you just mentioned, whether it’s a car or a kernel of corn. Well, speaking of corn, and one of your favorite things to do is gardening. How’d you get into that?
Jeff Davids: Well, you know, being in retail for 20 years, I had no idea how to network. And some mentors of mine said, you need to get into the community. You need to just get involved. Just do something and just show up. And I said, well, gee, I’ve always enjoyed gardening. Where can I volunteer?
And I’ll be helping somebody while doing something that I really enjoy doing. And so about for the past three and a half years, I’ve been volunteering at the Food Bank Garden that’s at Crossnore. And all of the food we grow ends up going to Second Harvest Food Bank as fresh food or Samaritan Ministries.
And I’ve been doing that for a few years and the joy that I can get out of knowing that I’m helping the greater part of the community and people that are out there hungry. That brings joy and purpose. And again, I’m out there helping the community, interacting with others.
Ditra Miller: Awesome. Now, is this something that you and your wife do together?
Jeff Davids: We’ve tried that once. She’s not as an early riser as I am, so she helps me out at the garden at home from time to time.
Ditra Miller: That’s awesome. Now you’re involved in the community in other ways as well. Talk about some of those things.
Jeff Davids: Well, being an ambassador to Greater Winston-Salem Inc. is definitely a plus. And I’d say the reason I do that is to really help the new members of Greater Winston-Salem, Inc. understand, one, what their membership benefits are. But two, let them know that there’s somebody just like them that’s probably in the same boat as they were just getting started or want to know how to get active in the community. And I love being a cheerleader especially for small businesses. And I’ve mentioned a minute ago how, I didn’t know how to go out and do networking, so I had to learn it.
And through the small business center at Forsyth Tech I attended some free classes on how to do it and to practice. And I got to do that with other entrepreneurs. And then something inside of me said, wow, I want to be a cheerleader for these small businesses. So I support them every way I can, whether it’s through their grand opening or ribbon cuttings, just stopping by to say hello, or to invite them to a future event that I’ve heard about.
Ditra Miller: Thank you for being an amazing ambassador for so long for Greater Winston-Salem. It always puts a smile on my face whenever going to a ribbon cutting or another event that Greater Winston’s having for our members, small businesses or whatever size they are and you’re there. I can always count on seeing Jeff in the mix and supporting. So thank you so much for that. With Edward Jones, there’s also something that you are involved in community-wise. Talk a little bit about that.
Jeff Davids: Since I started with the with my firm I felt it was important to be available to serve the communities that were underserved and specifically the LGBTQ community.
I’ve been a participant and vendor at Pride Winston-Salem going back to 2018. And it’s really about just being available for the folks in that community. And we have a business resource group at Edward Jones specifically for the LGBTQ plus allies in our firm. And we’ll meet as often as once every month or six weeks and just talk about how we can be available and to understand what the members of that community are going through. And as an ally, it’s very important to me that people are treated as humans first and foremost. And my heart opens up and I want to be known as a safe space for people of the LGBTQ community to come and talk to.
Ditra Miller: You are just a cheerleader for everybody. That is so fun and being so involved and being a business owner, and a husband. That’s a lot to juggle. So for folks that are listening that are in the same boat, they’re an entrepreneur, they’re involved in the community, they have a family. Give a little bit of your own advice of keeping that work-life balance.
Jeff Davids: Yeah, that was not happening with my retail years with work life balance and one of the reasons that it made it easy to shift. Family definitely needs to come first. Whether it’s a few extra moments in the morning or being sure you’re leaving the office at a reasonable time.
And then having an understanding that sometimes that might get need to be adjusted but, you know, making the time to do what’s important to you. You know, there’s no boss that’s telling me, oh, I need to go and volunteer. Or I need to go and support other businesses in the community. But if it’s important to you, you’ll make time for it.
Ditra Miller: I love that. Do you find that for folks that are in your networking circle that have put things in place that you offer as a financial advisor that peace of mind helps them to create that work-life balance with their family because they’re working on their financial future.
Jeff Davids: Yes. Definitely some of the people I’ve worked with have taken that worry off their plate. One of my early clients, I remember she came in our first few meetings, I’d have to have a box of tissues on the desk because she was in tears every single time. Because she was so worried and concerned. And now fast forward four years later, she understands that she is well on track. She’s happy, she’s referring people to come and talk to me. We’ve helped her personal business, helped the employees of her business with their retirement strategies and planning.
So it’s just grown over time and it takes a little bit of getting used to that. I actually have a financial plan, especially for somebody that, that didn’t have one or doesn’t understand it. I tell people it doesn’t cost a nickel to come and sit down and talk with me and have a conversation.Let’s just talk. Tell me what’s on your mind, what’s important to you.
Ditra Miller: So Jeff, you also are very passionate about Alzheimer’s.
Jeff Davids: I am. And so is our firm. Our company Edward Jones has committed to supporting the Alzheimer’s Association. And I have a personal history with that.
My sister is experiencing her journey of Alzheimer’s, literally as we speak at the age of 57. That is a disease that does not discriminate. And the best thing I can tell somebody is get yourself educated about what the possibilities are down the road with Alzheimer’s.
They’re trying to do some amazing things out there with new drugs on the market and things like that. But a lot of people are affected by it in one way or another. And it definitely touches me and that translates to my clients as well. We talk about how to plan and prepare for a oh no, what if scenario.
And while it’s sometimes a difficult conversation to have at the end of the day, they do appreciate us having that conversation.
Ditra Miller: And when you’re talking to people, you’re talking to people right here in Winston-Salem. So I have to ask, what is it that just drew you to Winston-Salem, kept you here and just motivated you to share Winston-Salem with people.
Jeff Davids: Well, definitely it’s the people of Winston-Salem that have probably kept me here. You know, there was a transition of careers. And when I really sit back and realize who is supporting me and how I can support other people in the community, that’s been a big key for me and my family to stay here in Winston-Salem. We’ve probably have had an opportunity to relocate and said, you know, let’s stay here.
You don’t get that in the places that I’ve lived before. I grew up and was raised in Florida. We spent about three years out in the Phoenix market and the people just don’t compare to those that are here in Winston-Salem.
Ditra Miller: Alright, so I have to ask this. Favorite place to go in Winston-Salem for date night for you and your wife?
Jeff Davids: Our favorite place has been Di Lisio’s restaurant in downtown. Off Brookstown Avenue. The food is amazing. The company has been amazing. And if you have not been, and anytime somebody asks me a go-to restaurant, it is always Di Lisio’s.
Ditra Miller: I love it. I’m going to have to check that out. Well, Jeff, is there anything that we did not touch on today that you would like to share with everyone listening?
Jeff Davids: Well, if anybody is curious, they definitely can reach out to me and there’s a couple different ways to do that. One way is through just searching me on Google, or they can look me up on LinkedIn. My office is located here in Winston-Salem. I’m behind the Home Depot area off of Westgate Center Drive.
Ditra Miller: Thank you so much, Jeff, for being here today and for everyone listening – until next time.
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