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The Untold Story of Pure Portfolios

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

August 2021 marks the five-year anniversary of Pure Portfolios. This is the untold story of how we launched.

The Build-Up

I was searching for a way to tell my wife. The timing was less than ideal. We were about to have our second child. She was running on fumes, taking care of our two year old, working the night shift at the hospital, all while 7 months pregnant.

I basically was going to tell her, "Hey honey, I'm going to quit my job, sell our house, start a company, and make nothing for almost two years. By the way, I could drive us into bankruptcy."

I needed to soften the message a bit. I took my shot one Saturday morning over coffee and began rambling misgivings about my current job and where I thought the investment industry was headed. She sat intently and listened to my noncoherent rant.

After I paused, she softly, but matter of factly said, "Do it."

The following Monday, I walked into my employer's HR office, wearing flip flops and shorts, handed over my letter of resignation, and walked out.

Ramping Up

The wheels were in motion. I had made the decision, but I had been planning this for years. The investment industry was changing and I wasn't interested in the old playbook. I needed to pursue my vision for what a modern, progressive wealth management company could look like.

I would be launching the firm with another colleague from my former employer that had left a few months earlier.

We agreed in principle with a consultant that would help us set up compliance, operations, custodian relationships, technology package, office space, etc.

We wrote marketing collateral, designed the website, and settled on a non-traditional name, Pure Portfolios.

A few days before launching the company, I would get hit with a bombshell that put everything in jeopardy.

Abandon Ship

"I'm out."

"What do you mean you're out?"

"It means I'm out. I took another job."

On the eve of launch, my future business partner bailed on me. For some reason, I was eerily calm. Looking back, I'm surprised I didn't fly off the handle.

I had two choices...

Find a corporate job, make decent money, and ignore the entrepreneurial fire in my belly.

Proceed with the launch of Pure Portfolios, but given the new circumstance I would have to front the entire seed capital from my own pocket.

I chose to launch. It was Monday, August 1, 2016.

Double Back

I was blankly staring at my computer monitor when my cell phone rang. I glanced to see who it was. The name "David Gewant" popped up.

David Gewant was my ex-business partner that left me high and dry. He was now working for another firm in town.

I wanted to answer the phone with a profanity laced tirade. Instead, I took a deep breath and mustered up a half-hearted hello.

"Hey man, the website looks great."

I wasn't in the mood for small talk.


"Look, I can't explain it, but God is telling me Pure Portfolios is where I need to be."

I didn't say anything at first. Not what I expected.

"Meet me at Pure Portfolios' office tomorrow morning at 10am."

Pure Portfolios was now a two person operation.

Fast-forward to today, we manage ~$220 million with six associates. But that's not the point of the story. What I learned along the way might help someone who is stuck i.e. a job they don't like, indecision, getting in the gym, etc.

Self Reflection

I later would ask my wife why she didn't give me any pushback about quitting my job and starting a company. My decision affected everything from where we lived to our lifestyle. Her response is forever seared into my brain...

"There was never a doubt that you would be successful."

I didn't consciously recognize it all the time, but my spouse's confidence and support empowered me. Don't underestimate the power of your spouse being all-in with you. On the flip side, don't underestimate your spouse not being fully onboard.

There's never a good time to do anything. Life is full of distractions. There are a million reasons to stay the course. If you want to make a change, don't think about it, start doing it today.

People think huge transformations are needed to reach our goals. It's amazing how much one can accomplish by stacking up small wins, day after day. Pros show up every day and do the work, even if they don’t feel like it.

Gregg Popovich, one of the best coaches in NBA history, hung the following quote in the locker room of the San Antonio Spurs...

"When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps one hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet, at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before." - Jacob Pries

Be intentional with your time. Learn to say no. When you're getting pulled in 80 different directions, stop and ask yourself, "what's important now?" I've found I can do three things well: work, family, fitness (which includes golf), the rest I cut out.

Don’t cut corners or be in a rush to make money or grow. Starbucks opened it’s 17th store in its 16th year of operation. Play the long game. Choose people over profits every time.

A special thanks to our clients, partners, associates, and readers. Here's to the next five years!

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