Bill Hansen

Bill HansenCFA®, CMT

Co-Chief Investment Officer, Principal

What sparked your interest in investments and financial planning?

I’ve always been fascinated with financial markets. When I was around 8 years old, I began to spend a lot of time with my grandparents on my father’s side. My grandfather always kept a stack of annual reports and a Dean Witter stock guide next to his chair. I would sit there and look through the annual reports, even though I didn’t understand the numbers. I liked reading the letters from the CEO and reading about all of the directors and their backgrounds.

I began investing in individual stocks at age 15. We had an investment class at my high school that gave us a discounted subscription to the Wall Street Journal, which I would read in study hall. Sometimes I would come home and watch Nightly Business report on my 12” RCA color TV. For reference, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was around 1200 at this time.

In my first job, I was an analyst in the leveraged finance area. That is where I learned to analyze financial statements, and also had the opportunity to meet with management of many privately owned manufacturing and distribution companies. I began investing in a more organized and regular fashion. As my career progressed and the company grew, what I felt we were missing was the planning side. We led with lending and also managed investments, but many of these investments were more commission focused. After 13 years with the same organization, I left banking to embrace the world of fee-only financial planning, where we are on the same side of the table as our clients. I found that having a financial plan gives clients peace of mind to help withstand temporary periods of market volatility without making dramatic changes to their investments or strategy. The plan is the road map and the investments are what help get you to your destination (success, however you may define it). That was the missing piece of the puzzle, and I believe that planning and investments are equally important.

Over the years as I have studied markets, I have realized that there are several legitimate ways to create a diversified investment portfolio- carefully constructed models, whether they consist of all funds/ETFs or that include some individual stocks.

How do you do good in your community?

I serve on the Board of Directors and as Board Treasurer for a local Charter school (grades 5-12) and am involved in several different committees on the church that our family has attended for many years.

When you retire you’re going to…?

Travel and continue learning about economics and the stock market. All of these are fascinating to me.

Where did you grow up?

River Forest, a near-west suburb of Chicago.