Howard Joe, a 25-year Dunwoody resident, has a unique relationship with Merrill Lynch. He is a 26-year employee with the company as a wealth management advisor, but his family’s history with the company began decades before his start.
His family came to Augusta, from Canton, China, with his great, great grandfather. The business bug hit with his grandfather, who owned rental property in Augusta. Believing in the American dream, Joe said his grandfather began investing all of his profits into Merrill Lynch.
“His goal was to put all of his eight children, including my father, through college and medical school,” said Joe. “And he accomplished that goal by being a landlord. He bought rental houses around Augusta and rented those out and made his income that way. But he invested the money in Merrill Lynch through the stock market.”
Upon his grandfather’s death, Joe said his mother began taking over the investments and continued the tradition.
“Before computers, in order to invest in the stock market, you actually had to go to a Merrill Lynch branch and sit in there and watch the ticker go by,” said Joe. “And so my mom spent so much time doing that the manager of the office in Augusta said she might as well work there.”
That began his family’s work relationship with Merrill Lynch. Today, aside from Joe, four other members of his family work for the company — his two sisters and their husbands.
“My family has been with Merrill Lynch since 1950,” said Joe. “So we’ve been here for 60 of the 90 years.”
While he enjoys his day-to-day work, Joe has a hobby that developed as a young child. During his downtime he enjoys flying planes. He gets to combine his love of flying with his career, however, in that he is able to fly himself out of town to meet with clients.
His plane is not only for work use, with two teenagers heavily involved in sports activities, Joe is able to use his plane to fly to their different sporting events that are in nearby states.
Joe stores his plane at the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport when its not in use.
With graduation nearing, Joe was asked of any advice he could give to future graduates.
“There are three things you cannot do — don’t use a chemical to alter your mood, don’t be envious of others and don’t harbor regret.” said Joe.
He added, “but the bottom line is study hard and study early, because it’s easier to start off with a good GPA than to play catch up.”
Besides dishing out advice to high school and college students, Joe can also be heard each Monday with his Wall Street update on AM 1190.