David Greene

I Know What It’s Like to Pay Yourself Last

My focus in my career has shifted from making money to managing money to making money meaningful. Making money isn’t easy. Nor is managing money. Managing money is a job—an important job. Making money meaningful is a calling.

What differentiates you from other advisors?

Before coming to Bernstein, I led a division of a publicly traded company and then founded or co-founded a series of start-up companies. I know what it means to have to make payroll. To pay yourself last. To have your own capital and your own ego tied up in your business. I understand the needs of corporate leaders and entrepreneurs because I have walked a mile in their shoes. Success comes from the ability to focus. When I was managing my businesses, I focused my attention on making those businesses successful. Today, my clients have the peace of mind that comes from knowing that I am focused on preserving, protecting and growing their wealth. That gives my clients the ability to stay focused on creating wealth, growing their businesses and their families.

Which personal accomplishment makes you proudest?

Many years ago, I wrote a book—“Dollars and Sense: Ten Fundamentals of Financial Success.” I wrote the book to codify the financial lessons that I was teaching my own young children at the time. I wrote the book to commemorate the lessons I was learning while walking alongside my clients and helping them instruct their children in what it means to be a good steward of wealth. The importance of hard work. Of kindness. Of philanthropy. Passing along wealth to children is one thing. Passing along values is another. 

I feel incredibly fortunate to be a financial advisor at Bernstein. My clients trust me not just with their wealth, but also with their stories. As a society, we don’t talk about money much. Money, religion, health—these can be difficult topics to discuss yet are such important parts of our lives. Financial advisors, spiritual counselors and doctors all have opportunities to see people in ways that sometimes are hidden even from those people’s closest friends. As an advisor, I can provide some perspectives that come from helping dozens of families address challenges that can seem overwhelming when first experienced but are more common than one might think.