What an honor it was to interview my father, Jeff McKay, for this week’s team member spotlight! One of his greatest attributes is his ability to see potential. Over the years that has meant everything from building a business, recruiting talent, real estate acquisitions, and countless car restoration projects. I have always admired his ability to have such vision, to view the world through a lens of what it could be rather than what it currently is. For over 47 years, he has been working with clients to help them realize the potential of their financial goals, a career that he has found to be greatly rewarding. Enjoy learning more about him and the vision he has for the future!
LINDSEY: Tell us about yourself?
JEFF: Being the oldest of four brothers, life has always been an adventure. My father was a career military pilot before retiring to private aviation. Growing up in the military meant that we moved around a lot, which helped us all become naturally outgoing. I went to 3 different high schools before we moved to Washington and finally put down roots. I graduated from Federal Way High School and completed a BA degree in Business at Western Washington University.
LINDSEY: Tell us more about your family?
JEFF: I have been married to my wonderful wife Annie for 20 years. Together we have a blended family of five children, four daughters and one son. We have been blessed with 6 grandchildren and another one is on the way. With a big family there are always lots of opportunities to gather. We are fortunate to have so much of our family live locally.
LINDSEY: What three events most shaped your life?
JEFF: Marrying Annie 20 years ago, joining Voya Financial 36 years ago and enlisting in the Navy 52 years ago.
LINDSEY: What made you chose a career as a financial advisor?
JEFF: When I graduated from the university, I was not exactly sure what I wanted to do. I met with a recruiter from the financial services industry and he was the one that convinced me that it was worth considering. I liked the idea that I could make a difference in people’s lives, to help them achieve something. The recruiter was right, the work we do is tremendously rewarding and I can’t imagine having a career doing anything else. I am passionate about helping our clients but also helping others see the benefits a of a career as a financial advisor. I have recruited nearly 100 financial advisors over the years and maintain relationships with many of them.
LINDSEY: Can you tell us more about your time in the Navy?
JEFF: I was an enlisted man for the first 20 years in the Navy as an air crewman in P2V Neptunes and P# Orions. I operated the detection and tracking gear for hunting Soviet submarines in the cold war one weekend a month and a few weeks every year. After being commissioned, I became an intelligence officer briefing air crews for missions and preparing for engagements in North Korea and in the Gulf. After38 years, I retired as a Naval Reserved Commander. It was an honor to serve in the Naval Reserves, one I am reminded of every time I am saluted by the gate guards when entering a military base. (My grandkids love to see them salute me!)
LINDSEY: Looking back at your life thus far, what are you most proud of?
JEFF: As I am sure many of our clients can relate to, my proudest moments can be found in raising my family. I will forever cherish the births of my three daughters, Jaida, Lindsey and Brooke. I am proud that our children are self-sufficient and independent with strong moral fibers, living healthy and prosperous lives.
LINDSEY: In that reflection, is there anything you wish you would have done differently?
JEFF: If I could go back and change one thing about my life, I would spend more time with my mother. Mom was selfless and totally committed to our family, always giving of herself.
LINDSEY: What is one lesson that you have learned in life that really changed your perspective?
JEFF: Never take good health for granted. Unexpected health occurrences have ended many dreams. Make your dreams happen as soon as you can, live life to the fullest!
LINDSEY: What do you miss most about the “good old days?”
JEFF: Muscle cars!
LINDSEY: Being an avid car collector, what was your first car and what is your favorite car now?
JEFF: My first car (and my first speeding ticket) was a 56 Chevrolet hot rod. My current favorite car is my 62 Maserati 3500GT, hand build by old world craftsman.
LINDSEY: Who inspired you during your formative years and who do you find inspirational now?
JEFF: Growing up during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the Cold War Era, John F Kennedy inspired me. Today, I find Bill and Melinda Gates dedication to improving life for so many others to be truly inspirational.
LINDSEY: What is the best book you have ever read?
JEFF: I love reading wartime books. The best book I have ever read is Blind Man's Bluff - The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage, by Sontag and Drew. I am currently reading Atkinson's trilogy of the Second World War.
LINDSEY: What is your favorite sport?
JEFF: I am a pickleball player. Anne and I play 2-3x a week. It is big in sunny places like Hawaii and Arizona. We have met many of our new friends on the pickleball court.
LINDSEY: What is your favorite food?
JEFF: Chicken, especially chicken and rice. I eat it a lot here in Hawaii and will always order it if I come across it on a menu.
LINDSEY: Do you have a skill or talent that most people do not know about?
JEFF: I have some skills in restoration, with a passion to restore cars, boats and houses. In many ways I am a treasure hunter, I see the diamond where most people only see a lump of coal. My wife would tell you I am a magnet for such “projects”, but the truth is I love to seek them out and see them through.
LINDSEY: Do you have any major plans for retirement or bucket list items?
JEFF: I plan to spend a good part of the year in Hawaii and at the top of my bucket list is navigating the open waters as I sail from island to island.
LINDSEY: Theme of Hawaii is persisting. What calls you to Hawaii?
JEFF: My mother was a country island girl from the Big Island of Hawaii before meeting my father, a 19-year-old sailor returning from the Korean War, in Honolulu. I spent some time there in my youth as well as returning annually while in the Navy Reserve. The weather and the aloha spirit combine to make it an attractive place to live. I hope to have a longer life enjoying a healthier, outdoor lifestyle. Family and friends love an excuse to visit Hawaii, so we expect a lot of company.
LINDSEY: Over the years you have recruited many people to join you in working in financial services, one of the earliest being your brother Jim. What has it been like to work with him for nearly 40 years?
JEFF: I have always enjoyed being a mentor and a role model for my youngest brother. Jim is a born competitor; I respect his determination and drive and the growth our business has seen as a result of our friendly competition. Jim and his wife Marilyn are our best friends.
LINDSEY: What are your hopes for our industry?
JEFF: My hope is that there will be much more financial literacy for Americans at an early age allowing them to become more financially independent through the use of professionals and incentives. Most people do not have access to a financial advisor until they have managed to accumulate some money on their own. The earlier we can start the conversation the larger the impact will be. Younger generations are going to be much more dependent on their own savings and investments, instilling confidence in that process from a young age will be essential to their success.
LINDSEY: Which of our firm’s core values (Family, Authenticity, Integrity, Conviction and Impact) resonates the most with you?
JEFF: All are a part of my fiber. Impact resonates the most, I feel the calling to a make a difference in people’s lives. That is what originally drew me to becoming a financial advisor in the first place. We are committed to ensuring that work we do has significant meaning to our clients, their families and our community.
LINDSEY: Looking back at the many lives you have impacted over the years by providing financial advice, what was one success story that highlights the importance of what we do?
JEFF: So many stories come to mind. I had a client that through the financial planning process we identified a large estate tax burden. We determined that using life insurance to cover the tax liability was the best solution for their circumstances. The client was a believer in life insurance and understood the benefits but was hesitant to take action. I can still remember walking out of their house, getting in my car and even starting it before I turned back. We had a heart to heart follow-up discussion that gave them the confidence they were looking for. Sadly, they both passed away prematurely. The family was grateful for all the planning that we made sure was in place and funds that were available to cover the substantial estate tax. Always working with high conviction and the client’s best interests at heart has made for many success stories over the years.
LINDSEY: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our clients in closing?
JEFF: To our clients, I want you to know how much it means to me to have you place your trust in us. Seeing your well thought out plans carried out is the reason we do what we do, our reward is in your success. I will miss working with you, but I am confident that the work we have done together will continue to serve you. I have done my best to make sure you will be well cared for; I leave you in the best possible hands you could be in.