Wes Moss the host of Money Matters – Atlanta’s longest-running live call-in, investment, and personal finance radio show – on News 95-5FM and AM 750 WSB. Wes is also the Chief Investment Strategist and Managing Partner at Capital Investment Advisors (CIA). In this role, Wes is responsible for communicating CIA’s position on markets and investments. CIA currently manages more than 2.5 billion dollars in client assets.
In 2017 Wes was featured in Barron’s Magazine where he discussed his career in financial advising as well the investment strategy that he pursues, investing for income. Barron’s Magazine also named him one of America’s Top 100 Independent Wealth Advisors in 2017 and 2019. From 2014 through 2019 Barron’s Magazine named him one of America’s top 1,200 financial advisors. In 2012, he was named as one of the top 40 fee-only investment advisors (under 40) in the country by Wealth Management Magazine. Wes was also named one of Atlanta’s 40 Under 40 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle in 2015.
In addition, Wes is a regular contributor to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution both online and in print, and a regular contributor to ClarkHoward.com. In 2014, Wes was the host of Atlanta Tech Edge, a weekly TV show on Atlanta’s NBC affiliate WXIA, covering the fascinating business of technology within the state of Georgia. He was also the financial consultant for Spike TV’s show, Life Or Debt.
Wes holds a degree in economics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and four sons and loves spending time with his family, coaching lacrosse, and playing golf and tennis.
Wes has written several books including Starting from Scratch (Kaplan) and Make More, Worry Less (FT Press), and has served as a financial expert for both local and national media including CNN, CNBC, and Fox Business Network. He has been interviewed by USA Today, Forbes, Time, The Wall Street Journal, and Yahoo Finance.
His latest book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think – The 5 Money Secrets of the Happiest Retirees (McGraw Hill 2014) has been a best seller in the retirement planning category. The book’s unique message and research has struck a chord with readers and the financial community since its release in May of 2014.
Intro: [00:00:01] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, it’s time for Customer Experience Radio. Brought to you by Heineck & Company, real estate advisors specialized in corporate relocation. Now, here’s your host, Jill Heineck.
Jill Heineck: [00:00:18] Well, hello and welcome to this very special edition of Customer Experience Radio. I’m your host, Jill Heineck. And I’m a business owner, a real estate adviser and customer experience enthusiast. I’m super excited to have Wes Moss on with us today. He’s the host of Money Matters, Atlanta’s longest running live call-in investment and personal finance radio show on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB. He’s also managing partner of Capital Investment Advisors here in Sandy Springs. He always delivers at such a high level. So, I thought it’d be really interesting to hear how Wes and his teams are working to meet the listeners and his investment clients where they are and especially in the environment that we’re in. And so, I thought that we just have a conversation with Wes. And I’ve been listening to a lot of his recent shows and a special podcast that you’ve been airing. And first, just give the listeners a little bit of background about who you are and how you got where you are now.
Wes Moss: [00:01:22] Thanks for having me on, Jill. It’s a lot of fun. I know that we’re doing this via a video, but I know this is via radio. And maybe you should have your own TV channel. It’s what you should have. Radio and television show. And Jill, for those listeners that are not seeing this because it’s all via audio, Jill is broadcasting from … most people have like a plan, and a family photo, and all that. Jill is in the bedroom, and she got two lamps and her bed. That is her home office. And maybe … is that a guitar in the corner?
Jill Heineck: [00:01:54] It is.
Wes Moss: [00:01:55] Yeah, that’s cool. Anyway-
Jill Heineck: [00:01:56] It’s our home office.
Wes Moss: [00:01:56] … she had a cool background. Yeah. Thanks for having me on. I will tell you that we are a financial advisory firm. So, we do investments. Our mission at our firm is helping families find happiness in retirement. And that is the guiding light at our firm. I wrote a book seven years ago called You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think: The Five Money Secrets of the Happiest Retirees. And that was really kind of an outcropping of a survey that I did for habits of happy retirees, and those who are unhappy and were effectively trying to reverse engineer how to be a happy retiree.
Wes Moss: [00:02:34] A lot of that came out of what I saw as those going through retirement, they were really enjoying it, and those who were not as much, and just comparing and contrasting. So, it was almost an outcropping of that. And then, that’s even become even more so the philosophy and the guiding light at our firm. But I’ve been in the investment business right out … I studied economics at the University North Carolina back in the ’90s. Became an advisor right out of the gate. Actually, I was still in school and did an internship at Atlanta in the mid to later ’90s. And then, I’ve been a financial advisor ever since. And I started with a really big firm and always wanted to go independent. And now, we have an independently owned – me and another family, two of our families have an RIA, registered investment advisory firm that we’ve had now for going on 20 plus years.
Wes Moss: [00:03:28] So, that is what we do for a living. As far as the media, my second job, which takes up a lot of my bandwidth and time these days is radio as well. And being able to educate the public on so many new things has been a huge part of what we’ve been able to do and bring to the table as a firm, and a lot of it just goes … people are constantly saying, “Oh, Wes, you must be doing so much work to get ready for the radio. And then, how do you—” A lot of it is, what I’m doing on radio, and I do all these special podcasts now, in addition to Money Matters, the show, really, these are pieces of research and insight that I’m looking for economically to make investment decisions anyway.
Wes Moss: [00:04:17] So, a lot of it is just utilizing the content that we want to glean and find any way. And then, we can produce it in a way. We can publish it in either a podcasts, or radio, or videos, or both. And, obviously, we turn a lot of that into written content on my website at westmoss.com. Again, the media side of the equation, I was on The Apprentice with Donald Trump, if anybody remembers that.
Jill Heineck: [00:04:44] I remember.
Wes Moss: [00:04:45] I don’t know if anyone’s heard of Donald Trump at this stage, but there is a guy named President, or there’s a guy named Donald Trump who is a real estate mogul back in the day, and he had a show on NBC. And that show, I ended up on it, and it kind of opened my eyes up to the media. And the show is really run by Mark Burnett Productions, the guy who started Survivor and, ultimately, kind of woke up to, “Wow, there’s this whole another world of media,” and that kind of got me into doing radio. And I’ve been doing radio now for about 12 or almost 13 years now.
Wes Moss: [00:05:21] So, I do that in conjunction with what I do from an investment standpoint. I’m the chief investment strategist at our firm, and I’ve been been an investor or investment advisor for over 20 years now. And I think all those pieces kind of just come together. So, I’m able to be able to do our client work. Then, I still have individual families that I work with. And then, running the firm that we serve about 3000 families at our firm – Capital Investment Advisors. And then, just trying to bring the most current, up-to-date information on understanding what we need to understand at any given time. And today, that’s the virus, it’s coronavirus, and how that impacts the economy, how it impacts markets, how it impacts real estate. And we’re trying to make sure we’re bringing the leading experts from Johns Hopkins, and Harvard, and the Brookings Institute, all to our podcast because I want to get educated on it. And then, I can turn around and share that knowledge with our clients.
Jill Heineck: [00:06:22] So, let’s go back to real estate for a second. So, you’re talking to your portfolio clients, and they are potentially beginning their retirement journeys or they’re midstream. And now, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and they’re looking at the tickers. And I’m sure they’re asking and looking to you for guidance on, “Do they liquidate? Do they hold on, continue to look at it from a long-term perspective?” And are these questions you’re getting and what kind of guidance are you providing to them?
Wes Moss: [00:06:58] Beyond what is for my 401(k) or my IRA doing, and how much income am I generating, that’s the kind of primary conversation at our firm. And then, number two, second only to that, is real estate. Hey, what should I do with this house? I’d like to go buy my family … my wife and I, the kids are out of the house now, so I’m ready to go. I’ve been eyeing a place in St. Simons, Wes. What’s the best way to go do that? Should I wait? Should I keep my house here in Atlanta, and then go buy the place in St. Simons? Should I rent out my place? Should we pay off the mortgage? Should we refinance the mortgage? So, we do a lot of consulting around, Jill, the best financial … how does your how does your real estate, particularly your your personal real estate? And this is not necessarily commercial real estate, but your personal real estate that might be rental income too, how does it fit into the bigger plan? Because it’s such a big chunk. I mean, whether you’re … it’s always a big chunk. It’s always a big percentage of your personal balance sheet.
Jill Heineck: [00:08:03] So, are you seeing your clients, what percentage do you think of your clients are in the midstream or are jumpstarting, they were going to jumpstart their retirement journey before COVID actually really hit, before SIP maybe, or did you have a group? I’m always curious. Like what happens at that point when you were ready to do it, your maybe in your mid-50s, and you had planned all along to do it, and then COVID hits? And then, do you have to recalibrate and figure that out, or do you just keep rolling?
Wes Moss: [00:08:38] Mathematically, Jill, and we’ve all heard of these statistics that 10,000 baby boomers retire every day, and I’m in the middle of that. And I was shocked. I am constantly surprised at just how many people continue to hit that age of 65, and they’ve been eyeing retirement. So, just mathematically and statistically, a lot of people just retired right before COVID because a lot of people are retiring every day.
Wes Moss: [00:09:04] And everybody has to be prepared for big market correction and big dislocations because they happen all the time. And even though this has been really painful, and I think there’s a higher level of emotional burden, because we’ve all been sequestered in our houses than ever before. The crash of ’07 and ’08, the crash of 2000-2001, I mean, here we are in the third massive crash, and we were down almost 40% of the Dow, at the Nader, if you go back to March, we had three of these now in the last 15 or so years or call it in the last 20 years. So, to some extent, you’ve got to plan for it and figure out how real estate goes into that.
Wes Moss: [00:09:49] And one of the chapters or one of my favorite chapters in You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think has to do with one really interesting, let’s call commonality between happy retirees is they’ve essentially either paid off their primary residence or they have a plan to do so in the next five years. So, interestingly, as years to pay off mortgage goes down, and this is a cool chart I have in the book, as years to pay off mortgage goes down, happiness levels go up.
Wes Moss: [00:10:23] I want to try to … my goal typically is trying to help a family figure out, are you downsizing the house? And can you downsize? And if you can go from a $600,000 house to a $400,000 house, does that help you then have no mortgage? And that’s a huge part of that. I love that conversation is how can we get you to a point where you might be moving at this point, we’re eyeing a place that you haven’t lived before, and I keep using the coast, but I have a lot of folks that want to go from Atlanta to do some sort of other housing situation when everyone’s out of the house. My kids are out. It’s just me and my wife, or it’s just me and my husband. Does it make sense for us to have this big house still or are there places that we can maybe move now that we weren’t able to move before all within big metro Atlanta? I mean, it’s a huge area here.
Wes Moss: [00:11:22] And then, of course, people that are thinking, “Hey, is there a deal in the mountains? Can I go get a place? I’ve always got to do that,” or “We want to go closer to the coast and get something near St. Simons, or on the Florida Coast.” So, those conversations are happening all the time. And I think that you’ve got course. And then, you think of renovation, Jill. You think about like, “Hey, what do I need to do to fix up my house to sell it?” or “Do I want to spend $200,000 to stay here? Would I rather just sell it and go somewhere else?” So, it’s so unique to every family. And it’s kind of a fun … I will tell you, people like talking about their housing situation a lot more than-
Jill Heineck: [00:12:02] They do.
Wes Moss: [00:12:02] … they like talking about their 401(k). Like, “Okay, Wes—”
Jill Heineck: [00:12:03] Yes, true.
Wes Moss: [00:12:03] “… we’ve talked about my retirement account. Now, let’s talk about the house.”
Jill Heineck: [00:12:09] That’s the sexy part. Nobody wants-
Wes Moss: [00:12:10] It’s a lot of fun.
Jill Heineck: [00:12:13] Nobody wants to worry about their 401(k).
Wes Moss: [00:12:15] I mean, everybody can worry about and spend time thinking about the house because we-
Jill Heineck: [00:12:18] That’s right.
Wes Moss: [00:12:18] And now more than ever … and this is what’s amazing over the next several years, Jill, is how much will our insights about our primary residences change in this?
Jill Heineck: [00:12:31] Right.
Wes Moss: [00:12:31] And they’re going to be-A
Jill Heineck: [00:12:32] A lot.
Wes Moss: [00:12:33] A lot. I mean, big time.
Jill Heineck: [00:12:35] A lot.
Wes Moss: [00:12:35] If I didn’t have two doors to get to this office, I would be really rethinking my house situation. We’ve been forced to do work from home. It’s worked out so well. And I have a company of 40 people on our main company, and then 20 people in our ancillary. It’s 60 people working from home, not skipping a beat. So, why would we ever go back to 100% of people going back to the office when we could, forever, if I’ve already done to get back to work office plan. And the third phase, which is the phase one, two, three, we haven’t even started phase one yet, but phase three, I have 30% of us still working virtually until further notice.
Jill Heineck: [00:13:21] Right. So, from a an experienced perspective and cultural perspective with your teams, they still need to be able to deliver whatever they need to deliver to your customers from that perspective. So, how are you motivating them and continually kind of keeping the energy high remotely and being able to still deliver on a high level to your clients?
Wes Moss: [00:13:53] The challenge is that we’re not together. And as humans, we want to be in the same room. And there’s nothing that will ever replace that.
Jill Heineck: [00:14:03] Correct.
Wes Moss: [00:14:03] I would say, being in person, that’s an A plus. Being on Zoom is like a B plus or maybe an A minus, maybe a B plus. It’s a B plus. It’s pretty good. And I don’t think you can build a brand new culture around it, and I think it’s tough to build … I think that it’s easier to maintain a culture via Zoom for, at least, a while than it is to build a culture via Zoom. We got to be together to really build a culture. You’ve got to have holiday parties where somebody maybe made a little bit fool of themselves, and they’ve gotten over it. That’s how you really become close, right? But-
Jill Heineck: [00:14:47] Yeah.
Wes Moss: [00:14:47] But it’s been fine to be able to maintain that. As far as customers are concerned, Zoom has been … I think it’s a really good evolution. It’s not a substitute. It’s an evolution on new communication. I did a client … I never thought I would do this, but I had a group of … I had about 80 clients on a Zoom call just as kind of a test, talking about what we’ve been doing. I do a lot of this via radio and videos where I’ll just send it out and it’s kind of just a message. But this was the first time I’d ever done, hey, I’ve got a bunch of my own clients collectively on the same call. And I’m a little bit nervous about that thinking like, well, are people gonna think, well, you just … now, we’re altogether. Why are we not talking one-on-one money so intimate? Yeah, I just want to talk to you.
Wes Moss: [00:15:41] So, it’s not a substitute for that, but it’s an evolution of saying, “Hey, we can do an update, live update, and everyone together.” And I get so many emails and text messages from clients like, “Thank you for doing that. That was awesome. Let’s just do our next meeting via Zoom anyway when the world returns. I don’t want to drive down to your office. Let’s just do Zoom. I love it.” So, it’s an evolution, Jill, not a substitute. I think that’s a way you can keep your client experience very much up to date and continue the intimacy and that emotional connection. And it’s not a substitution. It’s an evolution in the way we’re doing business and communicate.
Jill Heineck: [00:16:21] I love that. I think that’s incredible. We’re doing the same thing here. I’m not necessarily doing group calls, but it’s been a great way to take a little bit more time to be real clear on what the client is signing, what they’re signing up for. We can talk really intimately without worrying about rushing to get into the car to get into rush hour to leave the office. So, it’s been a really relaxing way to go through everything that the client needs to know. So, I appreciate that so much. And so, when it comes to your listeners, I know you get bombarded with questions, and they just want to know what you think. Have you changed the way in which you are delivering your information? I see you’re doing a few more podcasts now. Are you able to give them everything that you feel like they need? It sounds like your listeners are still very engaged, still really have their ear to the screen. They want to hear what Wes has to say. Are you changing any way that you’re delivering this information?
Wes Moss: [00:17:26] It’s a tricky environment, Jill, because not only is it about the economy. I mean, our job as an investment firm is to help people meet their goals and make sure that their portfolio structure is in a balance. And we are an income-oriented firm. Meaning that what we own for clients are generating income, whether it’s dividends, or interest, or distributions. And that velocity’s still remains. Now, we have changed and upgraded the balance sheet and quality of the type companies that we are owning. We’ve gone a few rungs up the ladder in quality because I think we need to in this particular economic environment.
Wes Moss: [00:18:11] But I think the other thing is when you’re talking about the economy, it’s such a political issue. It’s so polarized politically. So, I’ve had to be really careful about … I mean, I’m not a politician. And I’m not necessarily … I’m not a radio host. I’m not a shock jock to have these … I’m not here to polarize. I’m here to really try to be objective. And I’m always trying to do that. Now, I’ll still get comments on my podcast that, “Oh, because you want to reopen the economy, you’re clearly way right wing radical.” And if I say something here, we should be careful about reopening, I’ll get a message like, “Well, you sound like a liberal.” And just to me, it’s very difficult. It’s impossible today to really totally walk the line in the middle.
Wes Moss: [00:19:00] But listen, my goals, I think as long as you’re aligned objectively with your clients, and you want the same thing. If you’re totally aligned, you want them to meet their goals, my opinions about reopening the economy are, look, the economy needs to be reopened. We don’t want to go into a depression, which I don’t think we will. But if we stay shut down forever, we will. And we’ve got to have some reasonable balance about getting the engine restarted. And I’m not going to shy away from that. I think it’s important because, then, ultimately, companies have to be able to have customers. Ultimately, that flows through to earnings. Ultimately, flows through to stock prices. And that’s-
Jill Heineck: [00:19:42] That’s right.
Wes Moss: [00:19:42] … my vested interest for my clients. And I guess it has become a political issue but, to me, it’s an economic issue.
Jill Heineck: [00:19:52] Well, and your clients look to you for your opinion. Now, again, it’s still your opinion. So, what people perceive to be political is, I guess their problem.
Wes Moss: [00:20:05] This is the world we live in today.
Jill Heineck: [00:20:06] I know.
Wes Moss: [00:20:06] Which is the world we live in today.
Jill Heineck: [00:20:09] Right.
Wes Moss: [00:20:09] So, are you seeing … I mean, I would think, are you … now that we’ve been sequestered for probably, call it seven to eight weeks, let’s call it two months, I don’t know, are people starting to … now that Georgia’s reopening, are people looking in to you and say, “Hey, I’m ready to make or thinking about making a move?” Are you seeing [crosstalk]?
Jill Heineck: [00:20:30] Yes. Our business has exploded in the last four weeks. In the last four weeks, we’ve written six contracts. We have several more in the pipeline right now. It has been incredible, the amount of agreements that we’ve signed to engage our services because part of the reason because of Zoom, we’ve been able to just coordinate it easier and faster. And so, for us, the opposite of what you would think it would be. There’s two more layers to getting contracts solidified. So, I’m going by myself to the property COVID-ready, doing the Facetime walkthrough with the client who’s at home after they’ve already scrutinized online properties, and videos, and whatnot.
Jill Heineck: [00:21:19] And we’re very, very careful. It’s taking a little bit longer. But at the end of the day, it’s not slowing down interest. And so, as we all know, real estate really is the backbone of the American economy. So, as long as people are wanting to buy and sell property, that’s a great thing. But we also know that sector of the economy that’s not working is also going to impact real estate. So, we’re keeping our eyes out, and we are praying, and we’re much like you, very optimistic. So, we are optimistic.
Wes Moss: [00:21:55] I’m very optimistic that we get this right. There have been so much because Georgia was somewhat first to market on reopening. And optically, maybe we didn’t do it in the perfect way by starting with tattoo parlors, right?
Jill Heineck: [00:22:07] Right.
Wes Moss: [00:22:07] But the idea of getting back to work, I’m very much behind and very much in line with. But there’s been so much criticism. There are a couple of different articles that I’ve seen just this week that are bashing the State of Georgia, and there are people that are like rooting against us.
Jill Heineck: [00:22:28] That’s right.
Wes Moss: [00:22:28] And that really bugs me that you can … it really bugs me that you’ve got such polarization. There are folks that are almost they’re scorning us from afar. You’ve got people in the northeast, you’ve got people out west looking at us saying, “You’re irresponsibly reopening.” And I think that what I think is that just because we’re allowed to reopen doesn’t mean everybody does reopen, number one. Number two, just like you’re mentioning, and I think about the … and you hear commercials on our station at WSB Radio, every single one of them is like, “Here’s how we have adapted to do business.”
Jill Heineck: [00:23:10] That’s right.
Wes Moss: [00:23:10] Even roofers are like, “Look, we’re not going to come and shake your hand. We’re going to do this via Facetime. We’ll come and we’ll fix your roof.” Everywhere from roofers to any other industry, they’re trying to figure out how to get back to work safely.
Jill Heineck: [00:23:25] That’s right.
Wes Moss: [00:23:25] And to me, that’s the spirit of entrepreneurs is to adapt to the environment we’re in, not just throw our arms in the air and say, wait. What? We’re gonna have to wait till everything’s perfect again because it never will be. You’ve got to be able adapt to the world that would be, the cards that we are given.
Jill Heineck: [00:23:43] That’s right. That’s right. And I really appreciate your insight and your time today. I continue to be a big fan, and listen, and hope that every time I listen, I glean something that will be able to be applicable to our situation. And I know a lot of our listeners really appreciate your insight. So, I wanted to say, is there anything that you would like to impart on our listeners before you leave? Any piece of advice or tell us where they can find you?
Wes Moss: [00:24:15] Well, one, I would say that I’ve followed Jill Heineck and her team for a long time. And you guys are some of the very best in the business. So, that would be one of my pieces of advice for your listeners.
Jill Heineck: [00:24:25] Thank you.
Wes Moss: [00:24:25] They probably already love you. The second part is that from a financial standpoint, we are, again, available just like anybody else, through Zoom and chat. We have had no business interruption. It’s easier to coordinate today more than ever. And the my thought is, yeah, people can find us at wesmoss.com, which is where we post a lot of our resources and articles about the world we’re living in today to try to keep people informed. And then, you can contact us through that. And I think that that’s a good hub for you to find my firm and the Money Matters team. Our firm name is Capital Investment Advisors. So, you can find our firm through our website, and we still love to chat with folks and see if we can help.
Jill Heineck: [00:25:17] Excellent. Well, I want to thank everyone for listening. I’m proud to share this show with you as these stories prioritize the customer experience as a legitimate business strategy, reminding us that no matter the business that you are in – entertainment, investments, or real estate – the customer experience should always be at the heart of the business.
About Your Host
Jill Heineck is a leading authority on corporate relocations, and is highly sought after for her real estate industry acumen and business insights. As a published author, frequent panelist and keynote speaker, Jill shares her experience and perceptions with people from around the globe.
Jill is a founding partner of Keller Williams Southeast, established in 1999, and the founder and managing partner of Heineck & Co. Her real estate practice specializes in corporate relocations, individual relocations, luxury residential, and commercial properties. Jill’s analytical approach to problem-solving, along with her expert negotiation skills and sophisticated marketing, deliver superior results to her clients. Her winning strategies and tenacious client advocacy have earned her a reputation for excellence among Atlanta’s top producers.
While Jill has received many accolades throughout her career, she is most gratified by the personal testimonials and referrals she receives from her clients. Jill’s unwavering commitment to the customer experience, and her focus on the unique needs of each client, serve as the foundation of her success.
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