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Leadership in Action Part 3 of 12
This winter, Michael Joyce has been riding the Your Money Bus and offering free one-on-one financial counseling to people in cities on the East Coast. The bus is a project of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors' Consumer Education Foundation, which Joyce chairs. As president of JoycePayne Partners and as one of Worth magazine's Top 100 wealth advisors, Joyce riffs on the latest federal economic-stimulus package; what he's learned from coaching 5-year-olds; and which president is his favorite. For the extended interview, go to RichmondMagazine.com.
Q: So it's President's Day. Who's your favorite?
A: I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to this. In second grade, I had memorized all the presidents and can still recite them. I love to read biographies of George Washington.Washington was a great leader, not only as a general but as the first president since there wasn't a playbook. He was really able to work with fractious individuals and do it in a way that kept us on firm footing for a couple hundred years.
Q: The federal economic-stimulus plan passed on Friday, Feb. 13. What's missing in it?
A: Probably the biggest driver of jobs in our economy, maybe forever, has been small businesses. I would have liked to see more of a focus on providing stimulus to small, credit-worthy businesses.
Q: What's good about it?
A: What I do like about it is that there is some true infrastructure spending within it. It will provide some economic growth, though it may take some time. My kids will have something to show for it as they drive over a bridge in the future.
Q: Who would you invite to your own economic summit, living or dead?
A: First, Alexander Hamilton who almost single-handedly developed modern finance in the United States. He was focused on the big picture but also incredible with details. And he had a remarkable memory. I would also invite Warren Buffett and Adam Smith, who wrote The Wealth of Nations in 1776. I would also ask Alan Greenspan. He has been panned lately, but he was not afraid to go against some economic truisms in the 1990s. He was soaking in a bath for his bad back and reviewing economic data about growing productivity and chose, instead, not to raise rates. And I would invite Karl Marx as a foil for Adam Smith.
Q: Where do you get your financial news from?
A: My mornings are a whirlwind. I workout with the Seal Team four mornings a week, and then it's a mad rush getting two boys to school and then right to the office. I read the Wall Street Journal online and in print. I check bloomberg.com. I do not sit and watch CNBC or Jim Cramer. Most of my information comes from the Internet. I also read the Harvard Business Review, which is a great source of thinking, and we use Woody Brock, a thinker and the most eccentric man I've ever met.
Q: Who is Woody Brock?
A: Woody is thinking 10, 20 years out, on thematic things that will change the economy. He's an economist and mathematician who studied at Harvard and Princeton.
Q: What surprised you most as you talked with folks on the Your Money Bus tour?
A: Most people remain optimistic they can get out of debt, with a little bit of help. We talked to folks from janitors at the [Washington] D. C. library to people who drove up in a Mercedes or Lexus, and the question was, "How can I get out from the burden of debt?" We suggested paying off one high-interest credit card first. Get one paid off for a sense of accomplishment and move on to the next.
Q: I read that you coach your three sons in a variety of sports. What have you learned from coaching?
A: I actually coached 5-year-olds in flag football in the fall with my 14-year-old son, Tim. I wanted to teach the team a misdirection play and my son said, "They don't know the difference between their right and left, how are we going to teach them a scissors play?'' We tried to teach them to shake hands, how to treat their referees and opponents with respect. We tried teaching them something that will stay with them, even if they couldn't remember what to do after coming out of a huddle.
Q: Any glimmer of good financial news?
A: We are in a period of massive de-leveraging, with everyone too addicted to credit. It is painful in the short term, but in the long term, I'm optimistic. The credit markets have improved and big, credit-worthy companies are able to issue debt.