Celebrating Over 20 Years at Schwab: Tim’s Commitment to Service
By Andie Teresi
"The only constant is change here at Schwab. The one thing that I can take away is that we are always evolving as a company; we are always changing."
Since Schwab’s inception in 1971, the firm has been constantly evolving and transforming the financial services industry as people know it. As Schwab was getting started as a company, Tim R. was enlisting in the military to serve his country. Tim is currently a Financial Consultant in the Plantation Branch in South Florida near Fort Lauderdale. Tim’s backstory is uniquely service-oriented, starting with years of devoted military service, which eventually shifted to serving clients in the financial industry when he joined Schwab in 1992. He was one of the original 28 individuals who were Series 7 licensed brokers to be hired in Orlando, and he even spent 8 years at TD Ameritrade, finally returning to Schwab to round out his career.
As the end of April is approaching, so is Tim R.’s length of service at Schwab. Before he starts his next chapter, I was able to speak with him and catch up on his plans for retirement, his career journey thus far, and the things he’ll miss most about working at Schwab.
Born in Morocco, Tim’s youth was spent in many different countries because of his father’s military background: “My father was in the Second World War. He went through Normandy, was wounded, and came back to the United States. He went back into the service and the first duty station was Lisbon, Portugal. My mom got pregnant and they flew her down to Casablanca, Morocco.” After being born in Morocco, Tim’s family headed back to Portugal and from there, “We took a ship to the United States and my dad and family drove across the United States to San Francisco. We jumped on another boat and went to the Philippines. We were there for a year and then Korea for a year and then Japan for four or five years – I think I was 11 or 12 before I came back to the United States permanently. My father retired in Columbus, Ohio and we moved to St. Petersburg in 1968. Then, in 1971 I joined the service and was in Jungle Infantry School and started my career in Service.”
From 1971 to 1989, Tim spent over 15 years in the Army operating in various places including Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. He also was awarded the Purple Heart in 1974 and was discharged in 1979 to attend college. However, when he was on orders for Officer Candidate School in 1989, he decided to end his enlistment to become a stockbroker, which ultimately was the catalyst for his career journey at Schwab.
Before he started as a stockbroker, Tim was introduced to pursuing a career in finance by one of his friends. Tim’s friend was a branch manager at a financial firm, and after watching him take a phone call with a client, Tim was hooked on how he could do the same thing: “I sat there and I watched him in five minutes make more than my entire year salary as a staff sergeant in the United States Army and I looked down and went, ‘Okay. What do I need to do to do this?’ In response, Tim’s friend handed him the Series 7 study manual. Tim took the books back with him and after studying for quite some time, he sat and took the test. “Back in those days it took about a month before you got your result and so my friend calls me and says, ‘Hey, congratulations! You passed your Series 7 the first time around’.”
After Tim passed his test, he had to tell his chain of command that he wasn’t going to reenlist in the military: “They were disappointed, but I was starting something new and different, so I literally got out of the Army on a Friday and started my new job on a Monday. I did that for two or three years.” Tim mentioned he had a different friend who went to work in the Tampa, Florida branch at Schwab and this was one of his first impressions of what it would be like to work at the firm: “He talked about the culture, what his job was, and I liked that. I like more customer service and being responsible to the client.” This spurred Tim to pursue a career at Schwab, so he started applying right away: “I made the trip up to Orlando for the interview and I was so confident after my last interview, I went ahead and rented an apartment and made plans to move up there. Sure enough, three weeks later, they called and offered me the job and I took it.”
From that day forward, Tim was inspired by the culture of Schwab and how “it was all about the client. Chuck has always been about what’s right for the client, always putting the customer first.” Tim spent over 10 years at Schwab and in 2005, he transitioned to work for TD Ameritrade and shares that between the two firms “there were a lot of similarities. John Bunch was actually head of branches and he completely changed the culture and it really morphed and mirrored Schwab’s culture.” Eventually, Tim decided to make his way back to Schwab in 2013: “I started my financial career with Schwab, and I wanted to end my career with Schwab – it was a sentimental thing.”
As Tim has spent the majority of his time at Schwab, I was curious to know what his biggest takeaway has been in his career journey so far: “The only constant is change here at Schwab. The one thing that I can take away is that we are always evolving as a company; we are always changing. I came in as a broker in my late 30s, so I had a late start in life. I didn't know anything about computers, so I had to teach myself. That’s my takeaway: as Schwab was changing, my skill sets were changing for the better.”
The next big change for Tim is finally retiring. Tim shared his excitement to pursue his hobbies full-time, which includes radio, overlanding, and creating a YouTube channel: “I'm an amateur radio operator, so I talk literally all around the world and I do it digitally, as well on sideband. I do it in my truck and I do it here at my house.” Next, Tim described his plans for overlanding: “My plan is to move up to another piece of property up in Middleburg, Florida. Once I get a caravan or RV, what I'm doing is actually called overlanding and that's where you’re basically camping out of a vehicle or trailer that's off-road, but I don't plan on being in any RV parks or trailer parks as that’s totally off the grid. I want to have my overlanding as a hobby and every 10 to 14 days I'll go someplace different and enjoy photography and other people.” Tim also labels himself as a foodie: “I love to cook. We're going to start a YouTube channel and document all of this for my friends and family. We'll be doing radio on the mobile out there and the thought is in Colorado, you’re thousands of feet up in the air, same thing in Arizona and Utah. I’d like to go someplace high, put my antennas up and talk with people around the world. All my life as a child and young adult was spent traveling all around the world. I never got to see the United States – this is my chance.”
Lastly, as Tim transitions to his retirement adventures, I asked him what he’d miss the most about working at Schwab, and with a heartfelt response, Tim answered, “My clients.” He explains that in his opinion, being a Financial Consultant is one of the best jobs out there because, “You really are involved with your clients and your clients are more than friends, they’re really like your family.”
From his time in the military to his tenure at Schwab, Tim’s commitment to his clients is a great reminder of the foundation that Schwab was built on – service is at the heart of everything we do.
As Tim moves on to his next chapter and is able to explore the world, join us in celebrating his time at Schwab and the impact he’s made in the lives of our clients. Best of luck, Tim, and thank you for your service!