“The family that prays together stays together” is a familiar quote that holds true for the Egermier family. But they also work together, eat lunch together almost daily, and travel together. And through it all they’ve built a close-knit family and a successful business in which they’ve extended their family philosophy to include each and every individual they work with.
Jerry and Deb Egermier met while both working for the FBI in Washington, D.C. During the Watergate scandal, agent training was put on hold, so Jerry returned to his native hometown of Omaha and Deb transferred to the FBI Omaha office. Jerry went into the banking and insurance industry for a number of years, but when faced with the decision to relocate for work, he and Deb decided to stay in Omaha to raise their four boys. Instead, Jerry started working at a friend’s financial planning office, and in 1993 opened his own investment company: Egermier Wealth Management Group.
Deb had since stopped working at the FBI to stay home with their sons and started helping Jerry with processing paperwork and back office organization. Today, after 41 years of marriage, the couple still works together, although there is some debate as to who is truly “in charge.” Two of their sons also work with them, Mike and Mark, along with a third Certified Financial Planner, Jake Rehder, who Deb and Jerry consider to be a fifth son. Their son Marshall is also industry, but with another firm, and their son Matt is currently in the Marketing industry, but Deb and Jerry hope one day he may join the firm as well.
Interestingly, joining the family business was never an expectation, and Mike said he hadn’t considered it growing up. “If you would have told me at age 16 that I’d be working with my family someday, I never would have believed it,” he admitted. But he did have a natural interest in business and investing, so after graduating from college, Mike worked for Oppenheimer Funds in Denver. Unfortunately the experience came right as the tech bubble burst. He moved back to Omaha a few years later and started helping out at his dad’s firm in 2001. In 2008, his brother Mark joined them after having worked for Metlife the previous four years.
“We didn’t recruit our children to come work for us,” Deb explained. “We felt that it would be difficult for the kids to be trained in the industry by their parents, and that it would be much more beneficial for them to gain outside viewpoints of the industry.” She added that when they did eventually come on board, it was a pleasant surprise. “It’s a good feeling to have built a business that they want to be a part of.” And one advantage of having children join the business, is that clients know that the same philosophy established by Jerry and Deb will continue long after they retire.
That philosophy places a heavy emphasis on education, both for employees of the company and for its clients. Every advisor at Egermier Wealth Management has the Certified Financial Planner designation, holding them to a higher standard than some of their industry peers. And educating clients on all facets of their finances is a priority. “Everybody needs financial planning,” Jerry said. “Some people like to do it themselves, but many people need assistance, and we want to help them do that, so we offer an honest, ethical place they can trust.”
Many of their clients are generational, which leads to different investment styles and needs, so understanding which strategies to implement is important. And because they work with so many families, the firm holds fun events every year for its client families. They also support community efforts such as adopting a family at Christmas, holding a document shredding day after tax season where donations go to Skutt Catholic High School, located across the street from their office. Some of the advisors also serve as board members on the Nebraska Cancer Alliance as well as their finance committee, trustee for the Mary Our Queen school endowment, and Mark is president of the Nebraska Financial Education Coalition.
Even in a busy, professional business environment, the family makes time for each other, including eating lunch together at the office, where they are often joined by spouses and grandchildren. They share lots of laughter, challenge each other to be their best at work and at home, and most importantly, they know they can rely on each other. “We’re like an old-fashioned family where everyone helps each other out,” Deb said. “We’re so blessed; everybody is an equal and gets along, which is what you hope for with a family business.”