As the pandemic raged in June 2020, with a volatile stock market, financial advisor Dewey Steffen launched the “What does Dewey do?” podcast.
It was about helping his clients at Great Lakes Wealth – of which he is founder, CEO and chief investment officer – and other members of the community navigate their way financially and otherwise.
To date, the hit series has been viewed more than 2.5 million times on social media.
Who listens? Who is watching ? Mainly a younger audience, Steffen told ThinkAdvisor in an interview. The show’s topics included ChatGPT, the cannabis industry, and cryptocurrency.
“When we started, (the podcast)… was aimed at our current and potential customers,” he says. “Then we realized that customers, and older people in general, weren’t listening to podcasts. But for Gen Z and millennials, it’s totally their thing.
Interview guests included Kevin O’Leary of “Shark Tank” fame and Jan VanEck, CEO of VanEck Investment Management, as well as celebrities like swimmer Peter Vanderkaay, a four-time Olympic medalist.
In this light-hearted bi-weekly podcast, Steffen discusses financial topics with an easy-to-understand approach.
“It establishes us as an industry expert,” he said in the interview, “and allows (potential prospects) to view us as relevant, established and professional.”
Targeting “the emerging wealthy,” Steffen says, the firm oversees a total of $220 million in assets under management and assets under advisement, including its Great Lakes Private Wealth, which targets clients with $2.5 million. dollars and more assets to invest.
Steffen, 52, with 28 years of investment management experience, offers a dozen portfolio models — eight traditional strategies and four custom models — ranging from “super safe” to “super aggressive,” he notes.
In a recent phone interview with Steffen, speaking from Northville, he gives his views on a potential recession and names the asset class that is “king” right now. Here are highlights from our conversation:
THINKADVISOR: Why is your podcast “What Dewey Do?” » so popular with young people?
DEWEY STEFFEN: When we started, it wasn’t aimed at young listeners or viewers; it was aimed at our current and potential customers in the community.
Then we realized that customers, and older people in general, weren’t listening to podcasts. But for Gen Z and millennials, it’s totally their thing.
So we have evolved: we now promote the podcast directly to these generations.
What makes your podcast different?
We address the topics that are currently on the minds of younger listeners and viewers.
We did one recently on ChatGPT. We did two or three interviews on cannabis and two or three on cryptocurrency investing. (Another is) “Top 5 Ways to Become a Millionaire by 30”.
What is the fundamental appeal of “What Dewey Do”?
Probably the content, the production, the promotion, the passion behind it.
It is a labor of love to give back to the community.
Please describe the show.
Originally, it was just me being interviewed by a co-host about the topic of the day.
Now we have guests. We have episodes with community leaders (and others) who have a story to tell, knowledge to share, and advice to give.
This is more of a video broadcast than an audio-only podcast.
You can see our guests being interviewed and we have graphics that explain things.
Has the podcast helped your business?
There hasn’t really been a direct return on investment. We never thought there would be any.
But it has helped our business significantly for two main reasons: it establishes us as an expert in the industry and allows people who might be considered potential clients to view us as relevant, established and professional.
What is the origin of the podcast?
In March-June 2020, during the pandemic, the market was extremely volatile and falling every day. I was on radio and television and people asked me what to do.
Then a local radio celebrity and associated production company asked me to start a podcast to help our community through all of this.
What advice did you give?
I said (investors) should focus on the ‘three Ps’: don’t panic, be patient, execute your plan. All of these will stand the test of time.
Since then, we’ve added a fourth “P”: Prepare the process because now is the time to make money.
But are you preparing your listeners and viewers for a possible recession?
We say if there is one, it will be light – so plan for it. But we could avoid a recession and only have a slowdown in the economy.
What do you think are the best investments right now?
We believe it is very important to invest in sustainable assets and liquidity. The first is that cash is king right now. You get paid very well to have your money in cash.
We did a podcast about this (with an analogy) about a deck of cards: The jackpot was real estate; the queen was a durable asset, like gold; the king was cash. And stocks were trumps because stocks can be a 1 or an 11, better than a 10.
The wild card was private investments: private credit, private equity. The second wild card was crypto, a small part of your portfolio.
Your company offers concierge-type services. What do they imply?
We are small, but we have a big impact.
We believe in being proactive and personalized – two more P’s – with our customer service.
Each client is assigned a full team consisting of two advisors, a support person and an office administrator.
Our service protocol is to contact every customer every month. These calls are scheduled. Four of them are quarterly financial reviews, and once a year we do a financial plan review.
We are also committed to responding 24 hours a day, including nights and weekends, to any customer needs or issues that arise.
We have lots of technology and online access, but we still believe in the phone.