Ah, there’s not much better than the smell of fresh data in the morning. Given our roles, we admittedly get a charge out of crunching numbers and crafting portfolios. Still, all the numbers in the world are unlikely to matter to your financial life planning if the most important ingredient is missing: our ability to connect to each other as people. This summer, we’re going to share with you our credentials as well as our quirks in “Getting to Know Us,” a series of SAGE team profiles. We’ll start with our Senior Advisor, J. David Principe, CFP®.
Getting to Know J. David Principe, CFP®
The Professional Stats
- SAGE Role: Senior Advisor, aka, “SAGE Wizard.” Assisting many of our clients with their financial life planning, David also is our technical, analytical and business go-to guy.
- Street Cred: David’s prior experience includes serving as a Peace Corps English teacher in West Africa, a retail manager with Sears, Roebuck, & Co., and a “jack of all trades” at a North Carolina software company. He caught the financial-planner bug while overseeing family finances during his father’s end-of-life care.
- Degrees and Such: CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional; bachelor’s degree in English; Student Affiliate of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).
Biggest life lesson
Beginning in 2003, when my father was diagnosed with lung cancer, I traveled frequently from North Carolina (where my family and I lived at the time) to Vermont, to assist with end-of-life care. Serving as executor and trustee for two small family trusts during this period, I saw first-hand the importance of objective financial and estate planning. I also discovered that I had an affinity for assisting others facing similar challenges within their families. It’s what led me to become a financial planning professional.
Variations on his name
I grew up as “Dave,” but since that didn’t translate well during my Peace Corps time in French-speaking Guinea, I switched to “David.” Then there are the ways people pronounce “Principe” (sounds like “recipe”). As for the “J.” at the beginning, it keeps my professional designations consistent with my birth certificate and reminds me of my roots. For the curious, the “J” stands for “John,” a family name passed along from my grandfather. People I’ve never met will call me John, which makes me chuckle, but I prefer David or Dave. Take your pick.
Favorite power tool
I enjoy projects around the house and outdoors, ranging from electrical work to a new dock at the lake to a butterfly house for our garden. One of the tools I appreciate the most is the chain saw. I have the utmost respect for it — both its capabilities and its risks. A recent winter storm here in Connecticut brought heavy snow and tree damage. During the clean-up, I assisted a number of neighbors in clearing fallen limbs and trees. It felt good to be able to dive right in and help people dig out from the storm.
Favorite mind-clearing activity
Ice skating. When the lake freezes solid and it’s clear and hard, there’s nothing better than getting out there, to just skate, skate, skate.
Favorite vacation destination
Our family lake house in Vermont, where I first met my wife Karla, whose family had a house there, too. What began as casual encounters as kids became a letter-writing exchange during the end of college and my time in West Africa. My first letter to her had the ZIP code wrong, but fortunately it reached her anyway. This grew into a romance, and the rest is history. After decades of visiting Vermont, we still love returning to our old stomping grounds.