- October 14, 2022
Ken Hargreaves, 37
Ken Hargreaves has always known what his calling was: somewhere snug in the financial industry.
After taking an investment course while enrolled at Florida State University, he’s probably one of only a few that actually thought, “Wow, this is awesome.”
Then, right out of FSU in 2003, Hargreaves became a financial advisor in New York City. But he didn’t find the right fit until 2012, when his career took a detour into a small independent firm. “It was totally different,” he says. “This is how it should be.”
When he moved back to Florida in 2019, the Bradenton native realized the difference he could make. He picked up his first account with WealthGen Advisors, his Sarasota-based financial advisory firm, in February 2020. A month later, of course, the pandemic changed everything.
Looking back, Hargreaves says he embraces obstacles like that. “I love being uncomfortable and facing new challenges,” he says. “I think it’s exciting. Vulnerability is a good thing.”
That kind of drive, he says, comes directly from his mentor: his mom Kathy Hargreaves.
“I was lucky enough to grow up in the same house as my mentor,” he says. “She’s usually the first person I call if I have a complex problem.”
When he was growing up, he remembers how driven his mom was. To this day, Kathy Hargreaves, a shareholder at Sarasota CPA firm Kerkering, Barberio & Co., works most nights until 7 p.m.
Ken remembers inviting his mom over one night to see her grandchild before he went to bed. But his bedtime was 7 p.m.
“She doesn’t cut out early on Fridays,” he says. “She doesn’t leave work behind. She has an underlying need to not take shortcuts.”
“Her discipline is amazing,” he adds. That influences me daily.”
Since Hargreaves started his own business, he’s realized that he now has the freedom to focus on clients more than ever. “I like to help people,” he says. “Personal finance is so complicated, it’s like a foreign language. There’s so many good people that this isn’t their thing.”
He’s been in the business for 15 years and admits that even he doesn’t know everything. He says he can’t imagine what that’s like for people with no knowledge of the industry. “If I don’t add value,” he says, “I’m out of a job tomorrow.”
— Amanda Postma
City of Residence: Sarasota
Years in the area: 26
Marital Status/Children: Married, one son and one on the way!
Alma Mater/Degree: Florida State University/ Finance
What community group or organization are you most involved with? Stepped away last two years with COVID and newborn, but FPA; Financial Planning Association. Our chapter had the highest number of pro bono hours in the country (NYC).
Are you working from the company office, home office or hybrid? Company office - Rosemary District, Sarasota
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? Or the weirdest task you've ever been assigned? When I was in elementary school, I grew a little old for the daycare my parents sent us to. So the owner suggested I help with chores. It was a lot of work -I made giant pitchers of lemonade, putting toys away, sanitizing and doing laundry. I was 9.
What's your top tip for being productive? It sounds simple, and it is. Get to bed early and wake up early. Sleep is a superpower, and with plenty of sleep and a head start on the day, you can be 10-20% more productive a day. In a 10 hour day, that's 600 minutes - 20% more productive is 2 more hours.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? My wife and I have always talked about doing a dogpark bar.
What's your favorite off-hours activity? Family time. My wife's family has a ranch in Arcadia and it's a lot of fun to go out there to work cattle or ride horses.
What's the most significant item on your life bucket list — and what's keeping you from completing it? Travel to Patagonia and Antarctica - My excuse is starting a business and having kids. But one day soon we will knock those trips out.
What's your favorite podcast? The Investors' Podcast; or Dan Carlin's Hardcore history.
At what percentage on your phone do you start to get Low Battery Anxiety? 3
What are the top three apps used on your smartphone? Outlook, YahooFinance and Twitter.
What books are you reading now? Just finished Where the Crawdads Sing, now reading second Dune book
What's your go-to music genre, band or act to be inspired? All over the board - Country, Chill House or Classic Rock.
Who would play you in the movie of your life? Sean Penn
Where is your happy place? Out on the water
Describe yourself in three words: Fun, driven, curious
Who is your mentor for your career and why? Mom, Kathy Hargreaves. Her guidance has shaped my work ethic.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? There are 3:
1. Hard work - There are no shortcuts. We don't see all the hard work that goes into someone's success, we just see the title, award or accolade. I learned from her to enjoy the hard work; embrace it.
2. Be thorough - One important lesson I learned is that there are many variations of the same task or job. How do you stand out? Being thorough and following through on what you said you would do. It sounds simple, but how many times have you had someone forget to call you back, or promise something and the output was underwhelming? I think about that a lot, and it pushes me to be thorough.
3. Never stop learning. Over the years I witnessed my mom consistently challenge herself to grow and learn more about her field. For both of us it's a desire or need to add the most amount of value to those we work for.