With Terry Story, a 31-year veteran with Keller Williams located in Boca Raton, FL
For their final show together, Steve and Terry Story interviewed each other, sharing some of their personal lives with listeners.
They began the conversation by recounting a funny story about how they first met. After being introduced by a mutual friend, they discovered that they were actually working in the same building, just two floors apart.
How Did Terry Get Into Real Estate?
Terry told listeners that she first got into the real estate business 31 long years ago when she and her husband relocated to Boca Raton from Miami. Although she came from a real estate family, at the time she was working with Norwegian Cruise Lines in the travel industry,. Terry noted, ”I’m grateful not to be in the cruise line business right now.”
Since she had gotten her real estate license while in college, her father encouraged her to give the business a try when she moved to Boca Raton. Terry said, “I jumped in with both feet, fell in love with it, and I did really well. I was ‘Rookie of the Year’ my first year.” That was an amazing feat, given the fact that she didn’t know a single person in Boca Raton when she started out.
Terry mentioned one characteristic of her professional career that she and Steve share. She said, “Starting young really gives you an advantage because when you start in a real estate career, you have to have money in the bank in order to spend the money to do the proper marketing of yourself and get established.”
Steve immediately replied that it was the same in his business as a financial advisor. He said, “In my business, too, it takes at least two years to build up enough of a clientele to even make a living, so starting young is definitely good.”
From Coldwell Banker To Keller Williams
Terry’s been mentioned so many times on the show as being with Keller Williams Realty that it may seem like she’s been there forever, but, in fact, she spent her first 29 years in the business at Coldwell Banker and only the last three with Keller Williams. When Steve asked her about the difference between the two firms, Terry explained her preference for Keller Williams. “The main difference is that it’s almost like an employee-employer relationship when you’re with a company like Coldwell Banker. When you’re with Keller Williams, it’s more of a partnership. We have profit sharing, which is a huge difference—50% of our office profit is shared among the agents.”
Terry’s Personal Life
Steve asked Terry to share some of her personal life. She related that she has two daughters, both in their early twenties. One daughter followed her into the real estate business where she is flourishing and her other daughter is a nurse. Both Terry and her husband are native Floridians—he from Fort Lauderdale and she from Miami. Like many Florida families, much of what they do for fun revolves around the water—boating, fishing, diving, sailing, water skiing. According to Terry, “Our weekend passion is taking the boat out.”
Finally Learning Some Things About Steve
When it was time for Terry to ask Steve some questions, the first thing she noted was that he’s never really talked about himself on the show. She asked him why that is. Steve explained, “Well, the show has really never been about me. It’s always been focused on the listener. It was never meant to be a vanity project or a vehicle to talk about myself. We have enough of that around us today already. I just really wanted to help people, to stick with the facts, and to get a chance to meet more people and learn more.”
Steve’s natural curiosity has been a driving force behind the show, as he’s always had a thirst for knowledge. He shared with Terry: “I love to learn about the world. I travel a lot, and I love to read. I get a lot of pleasure in the pursuit of knowledge. I’ve always been like that, and my tastes are very eclectic. I think that shows up in the show. I’ll have someone on the show talking about how the Erie Canal was built or how the Transatlantic Cable was laid, and then next I’ll have John Bogle on, talking about index funds—and, of course, you, Terry, sharing all the different interesting things about buying or selling a home.”
He added, “Then there’s my band, The Steve Pomeranz Band, which is also very eclectic. We play jazz, country, pop, classic rock, just about every genre.”
Music And Financial Planning
Music has always been a big part of Steve’s life, a real passion for him, and he’s seen over the years that there are similarities between playing music and his professional career as a financial advisor. He said, “I’ve realized that music and investing have a lot of similarities, in the sense that when you’re dealing with music, you’re using abstract thinking—it’s all in your mind. Well, when you think about investing, that’s an abstract concept as well. It’s about ideas and how to synthesize them. Music is very much the same kind of thing.”
Steve’s Journey In The Financial Services Industry
Steve then, at Terry’s prompting, shared some of his personal journey in the financial services industry. He decided to leave his early career as a musician back when he was married with a growing family. He started out with no previous experience and not much knowledge about the financial world, working at a small company that sold municipal bonds. He was so far afield from the music business that some of his friends back then thought he was working as a bail bondsman.
He eventually became a stockbroker. One of the key things that he did differently from most other brokers back in 1988 was to earn the professional designation of CFP, Certified Financial Planner. That move would end up helping to shape the rest of his professional life. Steve explained his motivation for seeking the CFP designation: “The stock brokerage business was all about selling. It wasn’t really about financial planning, but I really wanted to help people with their lives, not just sell them stuff to make commissions. So, I got my CFP designation pretty early, even though I didn’t actually get an opportunity to use it until I got out of the brokerage business and started my own fee-only financial advisory company in 1996.”
The opportunity to do the radio show came along in 2001. Steve recalled, “I had no idea how that was going to go, but as things turned out, it went really well.” Terry asked him why he was ending the show now. Steve explained that he’d actually retired from financial planning in 2019 and that the timing seemed right a year later to wind down the show as well. He then said, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Terry, than running a business. I’m fortunate enough to have enough capital and a bright future in good health to look ahead to, so that’s what I’m doing.”
Steve’s Private Life
That comment naturally turned the conversation to Steve’s private life and what he enjoys doing. He first remarked that 10 years ago he found “the love of his life”—who also happens to be the editor of this radio show—and that the two of them look forward to traveling to Italy and through the rest of their lives together. Like Terry, Steve has two children: “I have a son who’s approaching 40 and a daughter who’s a little over 30, both in the arts. My son is a filmmaker who lives in L.A., and my daughter is a songwriter and singer who lives in Chicago.”
As far as his favorite pastime, Steve confessed, “Music is number one for me. It gives me joy. It gives me a creative outlet. It’s also the kind of art that you never stop learning about. There are so many genres, so many wonderful songwriters and composers and players, and they all inspire me.” Terry chimed in that she’s heard The Steve Pomeranz Band perform and that they’re “very good”—so, watch out, world.
Terry’s final question to Steve was what he thinks the future holds, both for himself personally and for our world. Steve offered a very insightful answer. “First of all, it’s great to get older. You’re wiser. You can create a new world for the rest of your time on this earth. But looking at the bigger picture, I worry a lot about America these days. I think many of us forget that we’re all Americans, not just separate factions. I know politics has always been messy, but it just seems to have turned so mean, and because of that, I really fret for our country.”
In closing, Steve and Terry shared a mutual thought with listeners—“May God bless us all.”
An then, as always, Steve concluded the show by putting the focus on his guest, noting to listeners, “You can connect with Terry through Keller Williams Realty in Boca Raton or online at teamterrystory.com.”
Disclosure: The opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily of the radio show. Interviewee is not a representative of the radio show. Investing involves risk and investors should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. Content provided is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered tax, legal, investment advice. Please contact your tax, legal, financial professional with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. The information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. All data are driven from publicly available information and has not been independently verified by the radio show.
Steve Pomeranz: Well, today, Terry and I record our final interview after 10 years of weekly discussions. I know from personal experience that every time I meet people in the community, they all tell me how much they love her. Of course, they love her. I love her too.
Terry Story: Aww.
Steve Pomeranz: So I thought it’d be a great idea to take this final opportunity to find out a little bit more about Terry’s life, and then in turn, have Terry ask me some questions, so you can learn a little bit more about my life as well. Hey, Terry. Welcome to the program.
Terry Story: Thanks for having me, Steve. This’ll be fun.
Steve Pomeranz: I’ve heard that phrase before. I don’t know where. Okay, so I was trying to remember how we met initially. I know I was doing a mortgage segment for a really long time with Alan Robinson, the mortgage broker. Did we meet through him, or was it from some other way.
Terry Story: Yeah, that’s right. What a memory. Yes, Alan Robinson mentioned my name, and then what was so funny about it, I reached out to you, you reached out to me, and we come to find out that actually you invited me for an interview for the position for this role, and sure enough, I was on the first floor and you were on the third floor of the same building.
Steve Pomeranz: Oh, that’s right. I know.
Terry Story: You’re like, “When are you available?” I’m like, “Well, where’s your office?” And I’m like, “I can be there in five minutes.”
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, can you come up?
Terry Story: Right, exactly.
Steve Pomeranz: I remember that.
Terry Story: It was awesome. It was great. It was meant to be.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah. That is funny. That is funny. Yeah, I totally forgot about that. You were with Coldwell Banker at the time.
Terry Story: That’s right.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah. So when we began your real estate segment, you had been an agent for 21 years, so tell us how you ended up in the business and what did you do beforehand?
Terry Story: Sure. So prior to that, I was in the travel industry. I was a sales rep for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Grateful not to be in the cruise line business right now. I got married, we decided we’re going to move up to the Boca Raton area. I came from Miami, and I had been in a real estate family. My parents were both agents. My dad really was an expert in commercial and land, and he encouraged me to get into real estate. So I had gotten my license while I was in college, and when we moved up to Boca Raton, I didn’t have a job, and my dad said, “Try it.” So I jumped in with both feet, I fell in love with it. I did really well. Rookie of the year first year, and 31 years later, I’m still here.
Steve Pomeranz: Wow. Yeah. So you started from scratch, or did you have some assistance from your parents at that time?
Terry Story: No. When I came up here, I didn’t know a soul. My father, he was a dual … He was in real estate, and he was also a captain for Delta Airlines, so he was working a niche. He was doing lots and warehouse sales, so they just felt that I would be a natural for it and encouraged me to give it a try. At the time, I had a second income from my husband. Starting young really gives you an advantage if you have a way to be able to support yourself, because when you start in a real estate career, you have to have money in the bank in order to spend the money to do the proper marketing of yourself and so on and so forth. So I don’t know that I would have gotten into real estate had I not done it right from the beginning, because I know the challenges that are there today.
Steve Pomeranz: Well, in my business too, it takes at least two years to build up enough clientele to even make a living, so starting young is good because you don’t really have a lot of financial requirements when you’re young.
Terry Story: Well, exactly. No kids, we were renting an apartment, we could live on one salary, so.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah. So was it easier to get into the real estate business back then than it is today?
Terry Story: It’s just different. Back then, what was easy, we almost had a different type of client base. Back then you had things that we call walk-ins where, the traditional real estate offices, clients would actually walk in or they called the office. We would take those calls and rotate them amongst the agents. Today, it’s a little bit different with the internet. Agents now work really more independent from the brokerage firms, so you really have to almost have your own book of business or a real strong spear of influence to start this business. Where when I came in, I didn’t know a soul in Boca Raton. I just answered the phones. We called it floor time.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, the brokerage industry had that too. Matter of fact, back in the early 80s, when I started Merrill Lynch had come out with the CMA account, which was a money market. It was the first time that people could have savings outside of a bank, and the interest was way higher. So they were around the block, so I heard. Of course, I got in too late, unfortunately. Didn’t experience people lining up around the block to open up accounts, but it was the same thing. You were a floor broker.
Terry Story: Yeah, exactly. A lot of similarities.
Steve Pomeranz: So tell us about similarities. Tell us a little bit about your family, your kids. I understand your daughter is in the business now.
Terry Story: Yeah. My daughter’s in the business. She swore up and down she would never get into real estate, because I worked too hard, worked too many hours, and she said, “Never for me.” Here she is, she’s doing extremely well. She works side by side, and she’s got her built her own database of clients and just flourishing. My other daughter’s a nurse. They’re both in their early 20s, actually approaching mid-20s, and they were raised here in Boca Raton. We’ve been here 31 years, and my husband as well. He’s a Florida boy raised in Fort Lauderdale, and I’m originally from Miami.
Steve Pomeranz: So what do you guys like to do for fun? What are your favorite pastimes?
Terry Story: We have a lot of those. Boating, fishing, diving, sailing, skiing, anything outdoors. Hiking. Weekend passion would be to take the boat out.
Steve Pomeranz: Cool. That’s interesting. We don’t really get a chance to talk about our personal lives on air, and I think it’s a good chance for people to really know a little bit about who you are. Now, we talked about earlier before about you working for Coldwell Banker, and then you moved to Keller Williams. I’m always curious. A lot of real estate agencies are very small, like one or two person operations, and some of them are really big. What are the differences between working with, let’s say Coldwell Banker, which is an international firm. My guess is that Keller Williams is more of a domestic firm and bigger, and yet you said you really run your own business. What’s the difference?
Terry Story: So the main difference is Coldwell Banker is an international company. So is Keller Williams. Actually, Keller Williams is the largest real estate company in the world, but the main difference is it’s almost like an employee-employer relationship when you’re with a company like Coldwell Banker. When you’re with Keller Williams, it’s more of a partnership, and the difference being Keller Williams is run and owned by realtors, where Coldwell Banker is more of a true traditional corporate business. We have a lot more flexibility. We have profit share, which is a huge difference. We get to participate in the profits. 50% of our office profits is shared amongst the agents.
Steve Pomeranz: I see. I see.
Terry Story: It’s just a different environment. Both great companies, just different philosophies and models that they follow. I was with Coldwell Banker for 29 years. I’ve been with Keller Williams three years, and grateful for the change that I made and the way that my business has really been growing since then.
Steve Pomeranz: Very cool. So listen, it’s time to turn the tables. It’s time to ask Steve. So why don’t you start? You’re going to be the interviewer, and I’m going to be on the hot seat now. Go.
Terry Story: Yeah. So I’ve noticed all the times that I’ve been spending with you, we never talk about your personal life. Why is that, Steve?
Steve Pomeranz: Because I have no personal life. No, I’m only kidding.
Terry Story: I know you do.
Steve Pomeranz: Well, the show has really never been about me. It’s always been about the listener. It was never, ever, ever a vanity project or a vehicle to air my personal laundry. We have enough of that around us today already. Everybody’s got an opinion. I just really wanted to kind of help people and stick with the facts and get a chance to meet more people, really.
Terry Story: I love it. So tell us a little bit about your family, your number of kids, all that good stuff.
Steve Pomeranz: Well, I have two kids. I think I mentioned it before in one of my commentaries, but I have a son who’s approaching 40 and a daughter who’s a little over 30, and they’re both in the arts. My son is a filmmaker, lives in LA. My daughter is a songwriter and singer, lives in Chicago. So I’ll be helping them for a really long time, but I was married for 30 years, and then 10 years ago, I got out of that relationship. Luckily, I’ve found the love of my life, and she’s the one that we’ll go off into the sunset together forever.
Terry Story: Aww.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, that’s where I am. By the way-
Terry Story: A true romantic, and she’s a wonderful woman by the way.
Steve Pomeranz: Oh, thank you. I’ll tell her. Well, actually she edits the show, so she will hear this.
Terry Story: Oh, so she’ll hear it.
Steve Pomeranz: Which, and she reminds me all the time that she’s out of a job now, so if anybody is hiring out there, you should call.
Terry Story: How about some of your favorite pastimes, Steve?
Steve Pomeranz: Well, music is number one for me. It gives me joy. It gives me a creative outlet. It’s also the kind of art that you never stop learning about. There’s so many genres. There’s so many wonderful songwriters and composers and players, and they all inspire me, so I can fulfill my entire life with these new and exciting things concentrating in music. The other thing about my nature is I love to learn about the world. I travel a lot, and I love to read. I’m lucky enough that I get a lot of pleasure in the pursuit of knowledge, and I’ve always been like that. My tastes are very eclectic. I think it shows up in the show.
One show we’ll have someone talking about how the Erie Canal was built or how the Transatlantic Cable, and this is just stuff that interests the heck out of me. Then next I’ll have John Bogle, and we’re talking about index funds, or we’re talking about someone who’s looking at the future and trying to figure out what’s going to go on, so lots of different topics, all kind of generated by me and the ability to get the access to these great guests. Then also my band, The Steve Pomeranz Band, is very eclectic. We play jazz and country and pop and classic rock and so much more, so it’s a great joy to do that.
Terry Story: I’ve had an opportunity to listen and see your band, and they are very good, so look out for his band, guys.
Steve Pomeranz: Thank you.
Terry Story: So I have a question. You’re obviously a musician. How did you get started in the investment business? Those two careers are like oil and water?
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, it’s interesting. They’re really not. I’ll explain that in a second, but yes, in my 20s I was a musician. I was mostly self-taught, as I am with so many things. I did go to school and study music for a while, but I got married when I was 26, and I had my son, Ryan, two years later, and I looked at the music industry and I didn’t really like what I saw. I didn’t see a path for me towards earning a good enough living to support my growing family. Didn’t know what to do, wasn’t really trained for anything, but I managed to get an interview at a small company that sold municipal bonds, which were very big back then. I didn’t know what they were. My friends thought I was in the bail bond business. That’s what they would say. Like, “No, no, no, no, that’s a different business,” but yeah, that was just a little different.
But anyway, it turned out I had a knack for it, and I realized later that music and investing have a lot of similarities in the sense that when you’re dealing in music, you’re used to abstract thinking. You’re not really thinking about physical things so much. It’s all in your mind, and when you think about investing, it’s an abstract concept as well. There’s nothing really physical to it, but it’s ideas and how to synthesize ideas, and music is very much the same, so I was very lucky. I took to it very, very easily.
Terry Story: Wow, that’s amazing. So, Steve, you achieved your CFP designation, which is certified financial planning, back in 1988. Let me ask you, were there other brokers getting that certification back then?
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, no. Back in ’88, the stock brokerage business was all about selling. It really wasn’t about financial planning, but I really didn’t like that culture, so I really wanted to really help people with their lives and not just sell them stuff to make commissions and the like. So I got my CFP designation really pretty early, and I didn’t actually get an opportunity to use it until I got out of the brokerage business and started my own company in 1996. Talking about that, there was some pivotal part of my career. First of all, going from music to investments, that was a very important change for me. I joined Chase Manhattan in 1991, and they turned out to be a very good organization, and their goal was to focus on the client, with the idea that the revenues would come next.
Unfortunately or fortunately, Chase Manhattan merged with Chemical in 1996, and everybody went back to the brokerage industry, but I was done with that, so I started my own fee-only advisory company, and that turned out to be a great moment in my life. Then, of course, the radio show in 2001 was a wonderful start. I had no idea how that was going to go, but it went really well. So all of these things came, the CFP and these events that happened in my life, to get me where I was today.
Terry Story: Well, you’re a true trailblazer. So now I’ve got to ask a sensitive question. Why are you deciding or did decide to retire from this business and end the radio show?
Steve Pomeranz: Well, there are more things in heaven and earth, Terry, than running a business. So I had enough capital and a bright future in good health to look ahead to, so the show, I retired last year on June 30th of 2019. The show went on for another year, but it was time to hang that up too.
Terry Story: Yep. Yep. Well, all good things have to come to an end, right?
Steve Pomeranz: They do, and 19 years is plenty, especially in the radio business. There’s a lot of radio stations that went out of business, and then someone else picked us up, and then we went commercial and NPR for a while. That didn’t really work, and just trial and error. That’s life.
Terry Story: Sure. Sure. So I know nobody can tell us how the world is going to turn out, but in your small little world, what do you think the future holds?
Steve Pomeranz: Well, that’s a great question. First of all, it’s great to get older. You’re wiser. You can create a new world for the rest of your time on this earth. The bad thing about getting older is you’re older.
Terry Story: You’re getting older, exactly.
Steve Pomeranz: You’re getting older. There’s not as much time. Your days are more numbered, so to speak, but looking at the bigger picture, I worry a lot about America these days. I think many of us forget that we’re all Americans, not just separate factions. I know politics has always been messy, and that’s the American way. It’s always seemed to work out, but it just seems to have turned so mean, and I really fret for our country. So we are out of time, so one last time I want to say, I’ve been talking to Terry Story, a 31-year veteran with Keller Williams located in Boca Raton, And she can be found at terrystory.com. Terry, thanks for all these years and thanks for being here.
Terry Story: Steve, thanks for having me. It’s been wonderful. Thanks for having me, Steve, and may God bless us all.
Steve Pomeranz: May God bless us all, right. One more time, I want to hear that catchphrase that you created. Go.
Terry Story: Thanks for having me, Steve.
Steve Pomeranz: Perfect. Thanks, Terry.