Dollars and Sense
Written By: Dionne Evans
Photographed By: Dhrumil Desai
The Expert: Jeff Motske
Credentials: CFP, CEO & President of Trilogy Financial Services
Upon entering the 8th floor office of Jeff Motske, CFP, CEO and President of Trilogy Financial Services in Huntington Beach, two things about him are apparent. First, he is clearly a family man. There are tons of pictures of his wife, Kendra, and children, Tanner and Brooklyn on display everywhere, including in the personalized calendar that sits on his desk. There are also handmade gifts from his kids and a small trophy shaped like a baseball that says “best dad.” Second, it’s obvious he loves sports, especially baseball. There’s a framed jersey on the wall with Motske’s last name that’s signed by Jim Rice, with a picture of the two underneath. One of Motske’s prized possessions, a unique piece of artwork from the Trilogy staff — made up of red, white and blue baseballs, all signed by employees and arranged in the image of the American flag — hangs proudly on the wall. With a nice view of Huntington Beach, everything else about the large office gives away something about the warm and friendly financial planner, too. The exercise ball in the corner and his second, taller desk that allows him to work standing up are clues that he likes to stay fit. The books on display, with titles like “Think Big” and “Never Never Quit” along with the wood sign that says “Dream Bigger” show that he likes to stay inspired and strives for success. Copies of his new book, “The Couples Guide to Financial Compatibility, ” (which came out March 31, 2015) remind you that you’re in a financial expert’s office. Along with his new book, Motske also recently ventured into radio with sidekick Kimber Holdaway in their weekend show titled “Declare Your Financial Independence.” Financial independence is something Motske loves his clients to attain and wants for himself and others.
Q: How and why did you get into the financial industry?
Jeff Motske: I got into this business right out of college. I had one professor who showed me a portfolio and told me, “You should get into this.” I liked helping people, and I liked having a value and purpose to people. I started at one firm in ’88, and I left to take this business to the next level and start helping people and I love it.
Q: Why do you think you’ve been so successful?
JM: I just think I have a really strong value system from growing up. I just wake up every day thinking I want to do something wonderful for someone. I take that into work and family life. When you match that with hard work and knowledge, I think you’re pretty unstoppable.
Q: Tell me about your book, “The Couple’s Guide to Financial Compatibility.” Why focus on couples?
JM: I get that a lot. I’ve been doing family planning for couples my entire career. One thing I noticed was that I didn’t want to meet with a married person unless both spouses were there. I made a rule for client meetings that both people apart of a couple had to be there. I made a quiz for couples, War of the Wallets, a quiz to determine a couple’s financial compatibility, and what I found was that it made first meetings with clients better. They weren’t just about dollars and cents. It was really about their lives together. The quiz morphed into something bigger. I was on the Steve Harvey Show and had one couple take the quiz. He put the quiz on his website and 16, 000 people took it. I realized peopled needed help in this area, and they weren’t just going to make an appointment and meet with a financial advisor, they needed a book. Eighteen months later and it’s finished. When I started writing it, I knew I had something that was going to be powerful and helpful.
Q: Have you had your own financial struggles?
JM: Not since I was married. My wife and I really agree on living within your means and to live modestly. We still have financial dates where we go over budgets and our goals and dreams. I think everyone goes through financial struggles. I certainly did right out of college. The financial firm I worked for closed and I had just bought a condominium. I was left with no job, and it was definitely not the ideal situation with a brand new condo. Since my wife and I have been married, we’ve talked about finances, and we really agree on everything. That’s something a lot of couples don’t talk about. My book is great for people like that.
Q: Now you have a radio show. How has that been going?
JM: It’s been great. I feel like this last month has been the coming out party so to speak. I’ve mentioned the quiz on a live talk on the show. I’ve been able to get the core message across on-air. I hear it now, and I go, “That is really good.” I have a sidekick, Kimber, who is really great. I’m probably going to add a station in San Francisco this month.
Q: How did you get into that media?
JM: I had been thinking about doing radio for years. I had been told by many people that I would do well with it. I’ve seen others in the financial industry who have been successful in radio. It’s a medium that can reach people. The title of the show is “Declare Your Financial Independence.” We coupled that message with financial culpability. I talked to a lot of people who have experience with radio about it. I just went for it.
Q: Why start your business in Huntington Beach?
JM: I grew up here. My house is 2 miles away, and the house I grew up in is just down the road. Huntington Beach is a nice central location. I love Huntington Beach; it’s home for me. I like having a 5-minute commute. It’s been a great spot for us, business wise.
Q: You’ve been in the industry a long time, over 26 years. Do you still find yourself learning new things?
JM: Absolutely. That’s one of the things I love about this business; it’s ever-changing. I’m learning new things on a regular basis. One of the things I love about radio, too, is that people will ask me something, and then I have to look into it.
Q: How are you involved in the local community?
JM: All kinds of ways. Up until this last year, I’ve been a little league coach. My wife and I are very charitably oriented. We give back to several charities. We, at Trilogy, have a matching plan if a trustee wants to give $2, 500 to an organization, we’ll match up to $1, 000. That’s something they love to take advantage of, which is great.
Q: Any plans to branch out into other locations?
JM: In Southern California, possibly. Outside of Southern California, definitely. We’d love to be in some other markets and manage people to go into those markets. We’re constantly looking.
Trilogy Financial Services
17011 Beach Blvd, Ste 800
Huntington Beach, CA 92647