Rich Schuette is the founder partner of Avalan Wealth LLC in Santa Barbara, California. A Certified Financial Planner, Rich has more than 20 years of experience assisting Avalan clients reach their financial goals. He is a connector of successful business owners and service providers. Not only is he passionate about guiding his clients investment portfolios, he has a passion for auto racing. Avalan Wealth is a current sponsor of the No. 8 Chevy for Richard Childress Racing in NASCAR.
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Intro Speaker 0:00
From Los Angeles, this is the Echelon Radio Network.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:13
This is Jerri Hemsworth with Echelon Podcast. And I’m sitting with Rich Schuette from Avalan, Avalan Wealth Management, which do you prefer Avalan or Avalan Wealth Management?
Rich Schuette 0:24
It’s Avalan. I kept it open. So you never know what the next venture might be.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:29
Where did the name Avalan come from?
Rich Schuette 0:31
So, you know, when I started the company, I wanted to have something that was institutional sounding, right. That wasn’t Rich’s very fine shop of wealth.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:43
Which would be very fine.
Rich Schuette 0:44
You know, it’s good for my ego. But I wanted to look past my ego and have something that could be adopted by other advisors that wouldn’t necessarily have to have any meaning. But it does to me. So Avalan is actually the first two letters of each of my daughter’s names.
Jerri Hemsworth 0:56
Oh, that’s very cool. Very cool. I know something about you that I don’t know, everybody knows. And that is your love of auto racing.
Rich Schuette 1:08
I suspect a lot of people know
Jerri Hemsworth 1:09
Well, maybe. Where did that start with you?
Rich Schuette 1:13
Oh, gosh, I remember. It’s easy to remember because I had the poster from the 1972 California 500. So that was at the old Ontario Speedway. My dad took me down there as a kid in the Winnebago. You know, right out of the Eric Church song right?
Jerri Hemsworth 1:34
Can you still smell the Winnebago?
Rich Schuette 1:36
I can actually. You know, crazy unrelated fact. I still remember the license plate on that. I do, 564AZE.
Jerri Hemsworth 1:47
Oh my god. Wow. That’s a trip.
Rich Schuette 1:49
Yeah. So yeah. So he took me down and you know, he had built this big plywood box up on top of the top of the Winnebago and filled it up with you know, those old aluminum framed lawn chairs with the canvas weave between them. Yeah, they weathered really well inside of that box all year long. The plywood box on top of the Winnebago. And the coolest part about it at the time was like getting to climb up the ladder and sit on the roof in the infield, the California Speedway.
Jerri Hemsworth 2:26
Which is now Fontana.
Rich Schuette 2:29
Yes, but no, right. The Ontario Speedway this leveled. I think that’s now the the big mall down there. And then they rebuilt Fontana, gosh, 20 some odd years ago.So yeah. So that was kind of it. It was IndyCar races open wheel. It wasn’t NASCAR. And I remember I like blue. And I remember that. There’s a blue car on the track that I thought looked cool. And I’m like, Well, I like that one. It turned out it was Bobby Unzer. And so that was kind of that. That was fun. Yeah. And then the following year, might have been 74, my dad took me out to Riverside. And we watched my first NASCAR race there. Same thing, you know, up on the roof in the box with the same chairs, a couple years older and a—
Jerri Hemsworth 3:17
Little more afraid.
Rich Schuette 3:18
A little more afraid. Little easier to follow the cars, right, you can see the numbers better on the stock car. And I remember Cale Yarborough led almost that entire race. So it just kind of was like well, that car, I recognize that car. And so Cale became my dude. You know, and I kind of followed that the best you could in those days. It was mostly like, you know, an occasional blurb in the in the Sunday sports section.
Jerri Hemsworth 3:45
Right. Right. And then you kind of graduated, you stayed with NASCAR. And NASCAR has a big place in your business today.
Rich Schuette 3:56
Well, it did. You know that, I kind of got out of all that for a while. I get sideways with just you know, I don’t know growing up and other things that distracted me. But when they rebuilt the speedway in California, when Penske did that, my cousin bought seat licenses and he’s like “you should do this and I’m like “sure” so I bought one of the two and so we’ve had season seats out there since and it was just kind of like that re entry right as NASCAR is really starting to peak again. I’m like “I kind of remember this” and so yeah.
Jerri Hemsworth 4:30
And Jeff Burton was one of your faves.
Rich Schuette 4:32
Well he was. I totally got out of it. I really didn’t know many of the drivers, you know, of course you knew you know, Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, because those are the guys that were making news but but I didn’t have a driver. I didn’t really care about anyone at the time. And my cousin’s like, “Look, you know, you need to have a driver. It’ll make it more fun. You gotta have gotta have some skin in the game. Pick somebody” and I’m like, “I don’t know.” And so I started looking at the drivers. I’m an analytical guy. I do analytical things for work. And so I started looking I’m like “that 99 car looks kind of cool. 99 is a cool number.” And so I looked a little bit deeper into that driver and it was Jeff Burton. And he, his childhood hero was Cale Yarborough. I’ll pick this guy, he was a rookie. Maybe his second year, it was his first year and in a legit ride in primetime car, and he had just won his first race in the inaugural race of Texas that year. I’ll hitch my wagon to this dude. So yeah, that’s kind of how I got back into it. And yeah, through the years, had various different opportunities, different things that I did that were kind of cool, serendipitously. One of my client’s partner’s father in law was the regional sales marketing director for Exide Batteries, which was really crazy, because I’d already kind of picked Burton and all of a sudden that was Burton’s sponsor, and he kind of shows up, he’s like, “Oh, that’s really cool. You like this guy? I can get you into the race one day and next thing in you know, he had me out, you know, in the pits and the hauler, you know, hanging out me and Jeff Burton in 1999. I met him, which is kind of cool, because when I re-met him years later, I still had this picture that the two of us took in the back of this hauler, and I’m like, “Hey, man, I dug this thing out. That’d be cool if he signed it,” which he did. It’s with my memorabilia up in my office, and he’s looking at that thing and he’s like “God we both looked a lot younger then.” I said “well, you did.” I gave him a little bit of hard time about you know, pink, because I did a lot of pink.He said “hey man I won a lot of races in pink. I like that color.”
Jerri Hemsworth 6:42
Yeah, it’s a good color for him.
Rich Schuette 6:43
So you know that and then I wound up when I re-circled back to him, it was through contact I made in Daytona with a buddy of mine who is also in my business, who runs amateur sports cars. And so he had put an entry into the Rolex Daytona 24, the Rolex 24 in 2010. And I went down to help him pit his car for the 24 hour race, which is pretty cool. Then I met this guy, Tory Galeida, who was doing some stuff with NASCAR, he came up through Ford, super, super cool dude. And we kind of built the relationship down to Daytona over the week, we were down there and stayed in touch. And here we go. we fast forward to 2020. And we’re an official sponsor and partner of Richard Childress Racing, where Tory’s went on to become the president of the racing organization.
Jerri Hemsworth 7:35
At RCR. Amazing. It speaks to where you are today, with your business with Avalan. And launching a new product, Fasttrack by Avalan. And the, forgive the pun, the drive that you have for talking to your clients, about their businesses in their world, and what where their investments are, and their history. And there’s, there’s a passion in you that comes out. Whenever we talk about racing, that I see the correlation, when you start talking about wealth management. There’s a similar passion that comes out of you.
Rich Schuette 8:25
Yeah, you know, there’s the similarities between any team sport, right, and what happens in the world of wealth management is remarkable. You know, our industry likes to really kind of key in and it’s like “a team sport,” you know, but then nobody plays like a team player. And it’s always been something I’ve been really passionate about, about making sure. Like, at the end of the day, we’re in the business of connections, right? Between connecting clients and their goals to their ability to meet them, connecting, you know, fears with money, and the emotion that goes on with that and creating connection there. Connecting people to the right professionals to get the things done that need to be done. And everything I’ve done in my life and in my career, when I really look back and look at where our successes have come from, it’s come from connection and legitimate teamwork. And so yeah, there’s there’s huge similarities and I think that those passions do dovetail tremendously, right?
Jerri Hemsworth 9:27
Yeah, I think as an outsider, I, I clearly see the metaphor of, of finding the best people behind the scenes on the team in order to get the driver across the finish line. In a great position.
Rich Schuette 9:42
It’s truly a team sport. There’s so much preparation that goes in to create the success at the end of the day, and it’s the same thing with anyone in their personal lives as they try to get to their, their end goals. Right. It’s like there’s so much preparation, and there’s literally 1000 analogies you can Make between racing and what we do Those of you that might be NASCAR fans are gonna hate me for even making this analogy. But if you look to the movie Days of Thunder, there’s, there’s a point in that movie where it’s like, well, you got to go slow to go fast, or you got to slow down to go to go faster, which doesn’t really make a lot of sense on the front end of it, but it’s kind of you know, racers talk about it in terms of backing up the corner, right, so you can carry more speed through it. And it’s the same thing, right? It’s like, you know, sometimes it’s not about just charging forward, you know, to get to where you’re going, it’s about really taking time to look at the landscape, understand what’s happening and, and really slow down to go fast.
Jerri Hemsworth 10:40
And there’s truly a strategy when a driver, it’s not just a driver behind the wheel in the car, there’s, there’s so much and from my own experience of going to the races and learning from you what you’ve taught me about NASCAR and behind the scenes, the strategy that goes into it floors me every single time, because many people might think the driver just straps in, hits the accelerator, go, stay out of trouble. But that really isn’t the case because of all the team and the strategy behind it. And gas, you know, all of that. Brakes. tires.
Rich Schuette 11:21
Yep and how much tape on the grill, right? How much down force do you want versus what are you going to give up? I mean, he has a two tires, or four or a half a tank of gas or a full tank? Yeah. You know, you’re going to take no tires, you know. Yeah, I gotta tell you, I always recognized that strategy. And that was part of what pulled me to the sport. But at the surface, it doesn’t seem like that, especially the casual observer. But I gotta tell you, since I’ve been affiliated with RCR, you know, as a partner, getting back to their shop, you wanna talk about strategies, I gotta, I gotta get you back there and let you see that war room. It is like, nothing, nothing you’ve ever seen. I mean, it’s monitors everywhere, computer algorithms trying to figure out at any lap at any point of the time that these cars are out on the track, there’s data that’s getting fed out to their crew chiefs. :ike, okay, if you have to pit now, the algorithm says it’s two tires, and one can have fuel. If you pit in three laps, you know, it’s four tires. You know, if you short pit now your odds are x of that working out versus not working out. And this is all real time and live and happening literally, like, at the speed of sound. It’s crazy.
Jerri Hemsworth 12:34
And again, furthering metaphor for what you do with your clients. And just everything that goes into, you’re keeping an eye on all these little tiny things that make a huge difference for your client.
Rich Schuette 12:46
Yes. So many pieces that go into the puzzle to get across the finish line first. Yeah.
Jerri Hemsworth 12:53
Thanks for sitting with me today.
Rich Schuette 12:54
Yeah, it’s been fun.
Intro Speaker 13:04
Presented by Echelon Business Development. More than just networking. Way more.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai