Rob Wilson: Hip Hop’s Financial Advisor


Robert WilsonHip Hop Generation — a term customarily applied to blacks born after the civil rights movement that has, in some cases, broadened to include anyone 18-35 who grew up on hip-hop music and culture.  President-Elect Barack Obama understood the significance of targeting this generation for their vote, and like Obama, Financial Advisor Robert Wilson is also focused on building his practice with the young hip hop entertainers, rappers, and athletes.

Internationally acclaimed financial expert Suze Orman may be recognized worldwide, but Robert Wilson is cleverly carving a niche in the financial industry by providing financial advice to the Hip Hoppers because he says they comfortably spend their money on 200 dollars sneakers, sporting their high priced bling-bling and other expensive items, but need help when it comes to being financially savvy. Wilson says he wants this generation to start building wealth and is advising many of his clients to start investing and saving.

Wilson also shares his thoughts about the current market conditions post election and strongly advises the public to not hide their money under the mattress because of the volatile market.

Beckham Media: Now that Obama has won the election, do you think there will be some stability in the markets?

Rob Wilson: The turmoil in the markets isn’t simply a function of who is in the oval office, so I think there will continue to be volatility in the markets for some time.The markets will be looking for some direction from the President-elect on how he intends to combat the problems in the economy and in the financial markets. Clarity on those points could provide some stability, but ultimately it will be the plans that have already been put in place in addition to any that the new administration might adopt that will hopefully strengthen the markets and the economy.

Robert WilsonBeckham Media: It appears the markets continue to go down, unemployment continues to go up—what advice do you have for your clients or individuals interested in putting together a portfolio?

Rob Wilson: It all depends on the individual, their age, goals, risk tolerance etc. However, what I work hard to get investors to understand is that we should not be overly surprised when we enter periods like this. Recessions happen, on average, once every five years. Since we know this, we need to plan and manage our investments in anticipation of times like this. You know that Christmas comes the same time each year, yet not saving money to buy gifts. You know that it’s coming why not be prepared.

I don’t know when the exact bottom in the markets will occur, but the goal of investing is to buy low and sell high. We will probably look back at this period and realize that it was a tremendous buying opportunity.

Beckham Media: Some folks say it’s better to just put your money under the mattress right now until the market gets better, what do you think?

Rob Wilson: Well, my bed has never paid me any interest, so I would advise against that. Sure, depending on your tolerance for risk, now might not be the best time for you to be overly aggressive in the stock market. However, you also have to think about inflation. Every day you leave cash in your mattress you are losing money because you are not earning interest, and the things you want to buy are increasing in price. Remember when a gallon of gas was 99 cents a gallon? Right, the good ol’ days. So while it might help you sleep better at night, it’s probably not the best idea.

Besides, the FDIC recently raised the limit on insured deposits to $250,000 until December 2009. If you have more than that in your bank, open an account at another bank and put the excess there.

Beckham Media: Young people came out in full force for supporting President- elect Obama, are you hoping they have the same enthusiasm for investing? How do you plan to reach them and with what message?

Rob Wilson: Absolutely. The saying “Time is money” is very true. The more time you have your money working for you, the better off you are. But it’s not just about investing; it’s about being financially savvy overall.

I hope what people take away from this crisis is that we need to do a better job of living within our means and saving for what we want. We’ve spent a lot of time buying things we don’t need, with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t even like. Unfortunately that attitude has contributed to the current crisis. My generation knows how to spend money; now they need some education on how to be smart with their money.

I conduct a number of financial workshops for young professionals and the organizations they belong to. I stress the fact that they CAN enjoy their lives now (they don’t have to wait until they are 60 to have fun) but also be responsible about the future. All it takes is a little discipline.

Beckham Media: Why are you so interested in the hip hop generation and their need to get their financial plans together?

Rob Wilson: I hate to see athletes and entertainers work so hard to be the best at what they do, only to quickly lose everything they worked for because they were taken advantage of or made a few mistakes.

Beckham Media: With the economic crisis what do you say to this generation?

Rob Wilson: The current crisis simply reinforces all of the concepts that I talk about. If you go ask a successful business owner with a substantial investment portfolio and little debt how he/she feels about the current crisis, they will probably tell you that it annoys them, but they are certain that better times will come again. If you ask the same question to someone with a good job, but lots of student loans and a house that they can’t really afford, they will probably tell you that the crisis is really hurting them.

The individuals that are relatively unfazed by the economic crisis are those that have found careers that they can be the best at, are compensated handsomely for their skills and have been responsible about managing their money. If they can do those things, they will be able to weather this crisis and another one just like it.

Beckham Media: This generation doesn’t have a problem spending money no 200 dollars sneakers and high priced gear, so, how do you get through to them about investing?

Rob Wilson: I tell them that sure, 50 Cent paid $200 for his sneakers too, but he also cleared $100 million on his investment in the company that makes Vitamin Water. What are you invested in?

Beckham Media: Where do we start? What advice to you first offer this generation?

Rob Wilson: Figure out what it is that makes you the happiest and spend your money there. If cars are your thing, spend a little more on your car. If artwork is your thing, by all means hang up a few paintings in your place. But you can’t have a big car AND a house full of artwork AND go out to eat every night AND go on vacation every month…AND… We’ll you get the point. You have to have discipline. Pay your bills and spend on what’s important to you, save the rest.

Beckham Media: At a time when banks are not offering college loans for school, and this generation is finding itself without credit opportunities—what do they do?

Rob Wilson: I recently came across a new T-shirt that said, “Smart is the new Gangster.” That is a clever message, so along those lines, I say study hard, if you perform well enough, colleges will pay you to join their programs.

Beckham Media: Describe what it’s like to represent clients who have a ton of money to invest? For instance, having a client who just won the lottery, how do you handle these clients?

Rob Wilson: Folks with larger portfolios do have complex issues to deal with such as taxes and estate planning. However, that doesn’t stop them from dealing with the same issues that everyone else does. We all want to have everything NOW! I told my client that won the lottery that my only job is to keep him out of the USA Today as another lottery winner that blew all of his money. Sure, he has significant resources, but I still have him on a budget!

Beckham Media: What is your motivation in life that helps you persevere? How do you stay positive?

Rob Wilson: Someone once told me that if it’s not impossible, it’s inevitable.  If you just keep working hard towards your goal, eventually it will happen for you.

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