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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jun 24, 2019

Rumson Father Son Team Balancing Business and Family

By Deirdre Flanagan Ward

Peter Graham Navesink Wealth Management rumson middletown

On Jan. 1, 1970, Rumson resident Peter Graham Sr. started an accounting business and brought in his wife, Carol, as a partner. Together, the small firm successfully prepared close to 800 tax returns annually. As the years passed, Graham saw a growing need to provide financial planning and wealth management services to help clients meet their financial goals, and in I995, he expanded the business, creating Navesink Wealth Management. He cites taking a holistic approach to serving clients’ financial needs as a major component to the company’s success and notes the firm now serves the children and grandchildren of original clients.

Peter Graham Navesink Wealth Management

Peter Graham Sr. and Peter Graham Jr.

Contributing to the company’s growth is his son, Peter Graham Jr., who left a lucrative Wall Street career five years ago to join the legacy team.

“I joined my father and Navesink Wealth Management after spending 25 years on Wall Street which has changed quite a bit over the past decade with the evolution of electronic trading, shrinking margins and various government regulations,” Peter Jr.  said. “My father had been talking to me about joining his business long before we finally made the decision. He had the vision to expand his accounting business into the world of wealth management. He has built a solid, successful business, and helping him grow the business and continue his legacy after he retires was a no-brainer, although I don’t see him retiring any time soon.”

Peter Sr. echoes the retirement statement, stating, “At 75 years old and in the 49th year of business, each day is gratifying to me to continue to work for our clients. The thought of retirement is not something that I plan.”

Peter Graham Navesink Wealth Management 4

A unique aspect to the father-son business relationship is they both work out of different offices – Peter Sr. manages the Middletown location, and Peter Jr. works out of the office in Darien, Connecticut, where he’s resided for the past 20 years. Both agree that working in separate offices and states helps them expand their footprint and further grow the business. Peter Sr. also stressed the importance of being accessible to clients.

“We have an open door policy for our clients to come by the office whenever they want,” he said. “As one client said, ‘’The day I come in an see cuff links on your shirt is the day I leave.’”

For Peter Jr., transitioning from the Wall Street environment to a family-run business ended up being a winning move.

“Working with family can be alarming to some people,” he admitted. “It was to me initially, not because I would be working with my father, but leaving the Wall Street environment. Working on a sales or trading desk in New York is like being part of a fraternity, and I was afraid I would miss the camaraderie. However, getting to see my father run the business, the people he helps on a daily basis and his holistic approach has been eye opening and a pleasure to watch.”

Another thing Peter Jr. learned about his father is the importance of giving back.

“My father does so much for people that goes unnoticed and that is the way he likes it,” he beamed. “His door is always open to clients, friends, nieces and nephews. He has been asked to accompany a client to a car dealership to help pick out the right car that fits their budget. He has tax clients that have been with him for 49 years, and now we see second and third generation children coming to my father for help and guidance.”

Peter Jr. also noted Navesink Wealth Management does a lot of work supporting local 501(c)3 companies in Monmouth County both in philanthropy and financial guidance.

“We were able to set up and manage endowments for the Visiting Nurses Association, Interfaith Neighbors of Asbury Park and the Parker Family Health Center in Red Bank,” he said. “We have also made philanthropic donations to some great local charities, Stephy’s Place and Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County to name a few. We feel that it is very important to support local 501(c)3 organizations who do so much for others and aren’t looking for the pat on the back.”

In addition to client loyalty and community service, the devotion to family is paramount to both father and son. Peter Jr. is married 23 years to wife Susan, who also grew up in Fair Haven, and together they are raising sons Timothy, 21, and Peter, 17.  In September, Peter Sr. and Carol will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary!

Peter Jr. references a valuable experience he had during his days at the University of Notre Dame where he played football on an athletic scholarship and was the quarterback on the 1988 National Championship team.

He said, “I had the honor of playing for Coach Lou Holtz for four years. A day does not go by when I am reminded of some of the life lessons he instilled in me – lessons which continue to direct me in all my daily activities.”

Among the lessons, commitment was one of Holtz’s mottos, which is also a motto Peter Jr. and Peter Sr. practice both personally and professionally.

Peter Jr. said, “It is the way I try to lead my life today.”