"WE HAVE BEEN THROUGH one of the most difficult economic times that many of us will ever experience," says Ryan Smith from his office in South Jordan, Utah. "It's hard to believe that Diversify has been around for 10 years. We've been through a lot, but we have so much more that we need to accomplish."
In 2004, Dan Luke and Ryan Smith co-founded Diversify, Inc. (formerly known as Diversified Financial Planning, Inc.). Amidst one of the most difficult decades in our country's economic history, Diversify has quickly become a leader in the financial services industry in Utah.
Smith and Luke have agreed to memorialize their firm's 10-year anniversary by taking a few photos and letting me interview them. I ask them, "How has Diversify been able to make such a name for itself during such a difficult economic environment?"
The story unfolded from there. "Ten years ago, Ryan and I broke away from a Wall Street-based investment firm to become independent and escape the pressure of selling one type of product. [At that firm] we were incentivized to sell, sell, sell; regardless of the client's circumstances," says Luke. 'Too many financial advisors operate under a captive and high pressure sales model and we don't believe it is always the most honest or ethical way to make a living."
When Luke talks about investing and personal finance, you can detect traces of his own history on the subject. When he was in his teens, Luke's parents were forced to declare bankruptcy and lost their home, and things were never quite the same.
"That was a lot for me to handle at the time," reflects Luke. "But it truly changed my life. I became dedicated to helping others avoid that kind of experience. I'm sure that all of this played a role in breaking away [from the other firm] and creating Diversify."
"Investors give us their trust and they give us their money," Smith explains. "And those are two of the most important items that anybody could give, We take that seriously and have built our entire company with that understanding in mind."
Luke shares a story of a relationship that developed in the early years of Diversify. He teamed up with a little known radio personality who hosted a show about personal finance. That radio personality was Dave Ramsey, who at the time was only airing on one AM station in northern Utah. Luke was one of the first financial professionals in the country to begin working with Ramsey as an Endorsed...