Becoming an entrepreneur takes a strong mindset and every path to becoming a company founder will be different. Life.io’s latest podcast explores the journey of Ramsey Smith and how he became an entrepreneur.
In Life.io’s latest podcast, the company’s co-founder Jon Cooper speaks to Ramsey Smith, the founder and CEO of Alex.fyi, which helps people make more informed financial decisions.
Smith’s route to become an entrepreneur started in a very unusual manner. He explained that his taste for the world of finance stemmed from his father and grandparents gifting him some shares in General Mills and General Motors. “That little spark meant that I was paying attention to what those what those stocks were doing and the dividends they were paying and how we were reinvesting the dividends for many years.”
Once Smith had got the taste of the stock market, he wanted to pursue a career on Wall Street and went to Princeton to make the dream a reality. Whilst studying there, Smith managed to get a summer internship with Credit Suisse as part of the Sponsors for Educational opportunity – a program that still runs today. He said, “in 1987 I got my first summer internship, which at the time was no small feat because there weren’t really formal summer internships back then unless you were the son or daughter of a client or of somebody very senior at a big investment bank.” This early experience helped Smith have a three-decade career in Wall Street. “I spent a lifetime, as what I described in a sort of a tongue in cheek way, a merchant of complexity.”
Once out of university, Smith began his career working in equity derivatives. This role saw him offering complex solutions to complex problems. The challenge solving process was something he loved. However, he realised that simplicity has a power to reach a much broader audience. This revelation brought Smith to consider the retirement situation in the US with many people unprepared for the future. He wanted to help as many people as possible solve the challenge of preparing for their furture. “I felt like being a merchant of simplicity going forward was going to be much more valuable to society. And I thought it was a mission that I could really sink my teeth into.”
Smith decided to become and entrepreneur and started to explore the idea of creating his own company. However, after speaking with other entrepreneurs many said, “I wouldn’t recommend it.” Being an entrepreneur is highly stressful and many fail. But Smith was eager to build his own business, partly down to fear of missing out. After working at Goldman Sachs for two decades, he had seen a lot of entrepreneurs go out and make their own company. “I saw entrepreneurs going out and doing things they thought were important and doing them on their own terms. And I was always a bit jealous of that.” He wanted to pursue his own goals and with the idea of transforming retirement for the masses, Smith thought this was an opportunity to do something he cared about and that would help society.
Smith established Alex.fyi in 2018 with the aim of helping people fix their retirement situation. The company works with financial advisors and individuals to help people become educated about their finances and make better decisions. The company offers people a highly curated selection of best-in-class income annuities from big name insurance businesses.
Listen to the full podcast here.
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