A former resident of Guam has become a success in the cutthroat and highly competitive world of New York finance.
David Flores Wilson has been named to the Investopedia 100 Top Financial Advisors of 2019.
Investopedia is one of the leading financial websites in New York that focuses on investing and finance education. Its 100 Top Financial Advisors listing is one of the most sought after accolades in the industry.
Wilson is a senior wealth manager at Watts Capital, an SEC-registered investment adviser based in New York City that provides comprehensive wealth management to successful high net worth individuals.
Wilson advises and coaches his clients on a broad spectrum of financial matters as they make progress towards their goals and dreams.
He was a Vice President in the Fixed Income Division at Barclays Capital prior to joining Watts.
Wilson earned a BS degree from the University of California, Berkeley and holds the designations Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®), Certified College Financial Consultant (CCFC), and Behavioral Financial Advisor™ (BFA).
He also received the IMCA Alternative Investments Certificate and completed the Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®) certificate program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Wilson’s financial guidance has appeared on Yahoo!Finance, MSN News, CNBC, InvestmentNews, and others.
He also represented Guam in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and enjoys traveling, reading, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, yoga and snowboarding.
In this Q&A with PNC, Wilson talks about his Guam roots, what he misses most about Guam, and how his Guam upbringing helped him succeed in New York.
PNC: Do you still have ties with Guam? Do you have family on Guam and do you still get in touch with them?
Wilson: “Yes, I travel to Guam three times a year to visit family and friends. My dad still lives in Maite, and my mom and sister live in Malojloj. I still have strong ties to my Duenas and Flores families, who are really good at staying connected through WhatsApp.”
Do you still visit Guam and/or keep updates on Guam news and happenings?
“I stay updated on Guam news through social media, the local news websites, and family. There is also a small group of Guamanians in New York, and we throw Guam barbecues from time to time. The food’s not as good as back home, but we still try.”
What do you miss most about Guam?
“Honestly, I miss my family, my friends, and Chamorro food! Every now and then I crave kelaguen, empanada, and red rice. I’ve traveled all over the world, but nowhere compares to growing up in Inarajan. On the weekends and during the summers as a kid, my cousins and I helped my grandpa plant and harvest watermelon, eggplant, cucumbers, and bananas in the mountains. We herded cattle, and helped my grandpa at his fish and pig farms. Those experiences and memories are priceless.”
What sport did you represent Guam in the Olympics?
“I represented Guam in the 200-meter run at the Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia in 1996. To prepare, I took a gap year after high school, and split time between training in Australia and back in Guam with Coach Carl Cruz.”
What did it take for an island boy like you to succeed in the big leagues there in New York?
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family support, a great education, hard work, and a bit of luck/timing. Also, the deep appreciation for the land and people that make the Chamorro culture so unique. People really care about each other and respect other cultures, and I carry that with me. To have a successful career in a city like New York, respect and relationships are critical.”
Did anything in Guam prepare you for your later success in your chosen industry?
“St. John’s definitely helped me develop a commitment to life-long learning. That and working for my family’s business and farming continue to help me navigate the business world. My family always emphasized the importance of sacrifice, hard work, and education. During college, several local companies gave me a shot with invaluable internships: I interned in accounting at International Distributors, Inc. with the Guzman family and in financial consulting at Deloitte and Touche.”
Planning to Wealth
Aside from being a senior wealth manager and financial planner, Wilson is also the writer/editor of Planning to Wealth, a content resource that provides guidance on financial planning and wealth management topics.
From financial planning tips to wealth management guidance, and even vacation travel hacks, Planning to Wealth aims to be the go-to resource for top financial topics and life planning considerations.
Wilson tells PNC that he started the Planning to Wealth website planningtowealth.com because financial literacy is not addressed in schools across the country.
“It’s my attempt to share actionable and helpful tips and strategies on a variety of financial planning topics so that people can make progress on their personal journey to financial independence,” Wilson said.
As for what advice he would like to give to those on Guam who wish to follow in his footsteps, Wilson has this to say:
“My philosophy has always been to look where you want to be five years from now and do what’s best for the long-term. New York isn’t as scary a place as people think it is.”
He added: “I went to school with a lot of people smarter than me. It’s only because it was a goal of mine and because I embrace new places and experiences that I ended up in NYC.”