Getting to Know You: Marla David, Financial Advisor

Marla David is a well-regarded financial advisor operating out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Early on in life, she found that she had an innate grasp of numbers. Throughout grade school and high school, Marla was consistently chosen to participate in programs of advanced mathematics. She even joined her high school’s travelling ‘mathlete’ team, and competed at regional and statewide arithmetic tournaments, garnering a few ribbons and trophies for her effort. Marla took part in other extracurricular activities besides the competitive math team, primarily lacrosse and jiu jitsu.

After graduating from high school, she enrolled in a prestigious university, electing to study mathematics, business, finance, and commerce. As a means of helping her pay for tuition, books, and living expenses, Marla found a job at a local bar and grill, starting out as a waitress, but later taking on the position of bartender. She worked a few nights a week and diligently saved her tip money, which she later invested in the stock market, hoping to give herself a financial leg up later in life. One particular stock she bought performed beyond her wildest expectations, doubling in price within only a few months. It was at that moment that Marla David’s interest in personal finance was genuinely sparked. Marla made a conscious decision to hold on to these early investments for as long as possible. This far-sighted strategy paid off, as now, decades later, her holdings have increased in value exponentially.

After college, a small financial advisory firm made Marla an offer of employment, and she agreed, eager to prove herself withinher chosen industry. She immediately made a good impression at the firm by coupling accurate and astute market analysis with well-developed people skills. As the years passed, she was promoted several times.

In her spare time, Marla David loves to have fun with her friends and family, as well as cultivate the recreational activities she has pursued since youth. She is an ardent fan of the Philadelphia Wings professional lacrosse team and holds a purple belt in jiu jitsu.

What do you currently do at your company?

I’m a financial advisor, which means that I’m employed by a firm to dispense investment recommendations, tax strategies, and other financial advice to our clients. Over the years, as I’ve proven my effectiveness, the firm has given me bigger responsibilities in the form of wealthier clients. However, I’ve still retained many of my early clients, as well. I appreciate the fact that they had faith in me when I was just starting out in my career, and they appreciate the fact that I haven’t steered them wrong with where to put their hard-earned money over the decades.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

I had a ‘Eureka’ moment while I was still in college. I was working the nightshift as a waitress/bartender at a local bar and grill and saving all my tips to invest in the stock market. One day, I was reading the business section of the newspaper and I noticed one of the stocks I bought had skyrocketed in value virtually overnight! It was enough to get me hooked. I decided then and there that I wanted to pursue finance as a career. I think that it took the form of becoming an advisor rather than a floor trader or a hedge fund executive because I also enjoy helping people and seeing them meet their life goals.

What defines your way of doing business?

In one word? Fastidiousness. I check every detail of a transaction three or four times before I pull the trigger. I’m very aware that I’m investing other peoples’ money—and not just any old money, but usually their life savings, their retirement money, or what they’ve put aside to bequeath to their children. I take that responsibility quite seriously.

What keys to being productive can you share?

First, get a good night’s sleep each night. It’ll increase your overall productivity and you’ll feel better, to boot. Second, don’t sugar-coat the truth. If there’s bad news, it’s best to be up-front with people about it rather than glossing over it and putting off the inevitable. Reasonable people will react to bad news reasonably. Third, always return phone calls and text messages immediately. It prevents you from forgetting to do so later, and it makes people feel valued.

Tell us one long-term goal in your career.

Honestly, I would like to retire while I’m still young enough to travel the world. I figure I have at least another decade to go before that’s possible, though.

What would you tell your younger self?

One of the major advantages of youth is that your body is more flexible and recovers from injury much faster. With that thought in mind, if I could travel back in time to speak with my younger self, I would tell her to put more effort into jiu jitsu training. I think that if I had put in an extra few hours each week while I was still in high school, I might be a black belt today instead of a purple belt.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned in my career is that you can save a huge amount of stress, heartache, and money simply by conducting thorough research into any asset—be it a company stock, a mutual fund, a commodity, or even a car or a home—before buying it.

 What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

Develop soft skills, such as listening and conversing. It will help immensely in your dealings with clients. Also, don’t get sucked into the world of cryptocurrency and non-fungible token speculation—at worst, they’re Ponzi schemes, and at best they are gigantic bubbles propagated by people who want to get rich quick. There’s another piece of advice: Never take investment tips from people who want to get rich quick. Their motivation usually blinds them to the truth of a given situation.

What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work?

As I mentioned earlier, I’m an avid practitioner of jiu jitsu, and have been since I was a teenager. I’ve worked hard at it over the years and achieved the level of purple belt. I also love watching the Philadelphia Wings play professional lacrosse. I played lacrosse in high school, and though I was never good enough to turn pro, I still miss the action and competition inherent to the game.

What are a few influential books you’ve read and/or websites you keep up with that you’d recommend?

One of the books that stood out to me lately is Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money. It’s sort of a detailed history of money and its role in shaping human society. The author starts at the beginning with the civilizations of the Fertile Crescent and then moves through other important focal points, such as Florence and Vienna during the Renaissance, Holland in the 17th century, and the French Revolution, among many others. It illustrates very well the hidden role that finance has played in world events.