November 2011

John B. Rush: Trusted Advisor

Author: David Tobias | Photographer: Mark Staff

John Rush thinks he’s boring.
How can you be a financial planner, a student of history, a wealth manager and an insurance rep in the current economy and even think there’s a possibility that you’re in any way even close to being boring?

This economy, with its wild stock market spikes, its rollercoaster trends, its throwbacks to a Great Something (hint: rhymes with “Recession”) and its unending political peripheral influences is built for a guy who might think he’s boring but who is exactly the guy you want sitting right smack in the middle of your boat during heavy seas. We need some stability here, and John B. Rush, senior financial advisor and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) for Ameriprise Financial, is just the one to provide a bit of ballast.

Now, that last bit should not be interpreted as a comment about his weight, which he’ll admit he struggles with a tad, even though many of John’s clients have recently expressed concern that he might need to watch it. That’s not because his clients are particularly worried about John or something as silly as appearances.
No, no, no… this is self- preservation. So many of Rush’s clients (he has 512 of them) count on him to be around for a long time and continue to guide them in their retirement choices, their investments, and legacy decisions, that they insist he take care of himself—for their sake. Finances can get intensely personal sometimes, and you need someone who can step back, take in the larger picture and provide perspective.

Because when it gets personal, you want a guy who’s stable, grounded, rock solid—okay, maybe a titch boring—to be your trusted advisor in all those critical decision-making moments. But most of all, you want someone who’s astute, knowledgeable, experienced—someone you can trust to have your best interests at heart.
And that’s John Rush.

Rush got started in this business of short-term market-influenced ups and downs, and long-term quests for financial freedom and stability for his clients, when he was in college at Ohio State University. He actually was a history major, but got lured into a contest, sponsored by AT&T, that encouraged business geeks to chart the market, make informed choices, take an initial investment and make it bigger.
Although he wasn’t a business major (or a business geek), a friend of his was, and Rush was intrigued. He utilized his history-honed research abilities (no Google search existed at the time) and learned quite quickly that he was really good at this, finishing the competition in the top 10 percent among some 20,000 competitors.

That wasn’t quite enough to immediately convince him that this might be his future, but the thought lingered until he was convinced by his own broker to take the leap in 1999, moving to Hilton Head to join her firm where he immediately met a hurricane named Floyd head-on and survived a tech market crash that soon followed. Neither was enough to shake him loose from a career shift and a geographic move that felt right.

For Rush, his wife Lynette, who also works in the office, and the John Rush and Associates staff that’s 100 percent licensed as brokers, the critical piece that feels most right is “putting the human side to the financial side.”
“The philosophy— and it’s going to sound corny—is treating people the way they want to be treated,” Rush said. “If someone calls, make sure they get a response. Everyone in this office is licensed, because I don’t want a client of mine calling in and getting someone who simply doesn’t know the answer.

“That’s just not what we’re about,” he said. “We need to know our client, what they hold (investment or insurance-wise) and what their life is about.”
Lynette takes it one step further, maintaining that 95 percent of the time, she can tell which state a client lives in without looking it up, and she and the rest of the office staff know a great many clients simply by voice.

The trust that’s engendered from that personal attention takes the form of faithful clients who want to know more than the simple, sometimes erratic ups and downs of a stock price.

“Investment-wise we do the best we can. We can’t control the market. No one can. But, number one, I want to be my clients’ guide,” said Rush. “I want to educate them and give them choices—not only on the good things or potentially good things in their investment, but also the bad things. I feel like I’ve done my job if my client can tell me, yes, I’m in this strategy or this portfolio for X, Y, Z reasons.”
Rush is not only a financial advisor, he’s also a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, which, he says means that he specializes in “taking nest eggs and turning them into income streams. “In particular we’re trying to turn them into an income stream that will last longer than their lifetime—that’s what everybody wants,” he said.

The base strategy is a one-two-three concept that involves identifying a retirement dream, planning it and tracking it, which, when successful, is consistent with Rush’s personal definition of wealth: “doing what you want, when you want, how you want.” Depending on where clients are in life—planning retirement, about to retire, retired—that translates to varied investment strategies that Rush can bend, mold and manipulate to suit.

“I think John is pretty artful at taking a lot of those options and still showing how we can make it work,” Lynette said.
Considering Rush’s background, perhaps that could be called art history.
John Rush and Associates will be contributing to the Hilton Head Island and Bluffton communities by making Thanksgiving special for those not as fortunate as others this year, coordinating teams of drivers to deliver Thanksgiving food baskets for The Deep Well Project on Sunday, November 20 to approximately 120 families in need on Hilton Head Island.

They’re also organizing a food drive on Saturday, November 12 to assist Bluffton Self Help in feeding approximately 250 families in need in Bluffton. Contributions of canned food and frozen turkeys may be dropped off at the Ameriprise Financial office at Suite 328 of 1533 Fording Island Road (the same shopping center as Upper Crust Pizza near Moss Creek). In fact, Rush and his staff have teamed with Upper Crust for freezer space for the turkeys. Both events are part of what Ameriprise Financial corporate calls the “National Day(s) of Service.”

For more information, call 843-837-1220.

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