Name: Derek Van Calligan
Title: Certified Financial Planner™
SH&J team member since: August, 2017
How did you decide to become a financial planner?
I think I just kind of lucked into it, really, when I was in college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, being 19 years old and not knowing what all is out there. I took a personal finance class because I thought it would be able to help me and my own personal finances, and then I realized that you can make a pretty great career out of helping others with their finances and that’s what lead me on this path.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of the job is the different kinds of people you get to meet. Between our current clients and new prospects coming in the door, you never really know who you’re going to meet and what their story is going to be. I would say the majority of the people I meet are very good people with very different backgrounds and unique perspectives on life. So, just being able to meet different people on a daily basis and help them with their unique challenges is one of the things I enjoy the most.
You’re originally from Wisconsin, so what brought you to Colorado and SH&J?
Like the majority of people who move out here from the Midwest, I was getting sick of the weather up there and I always enjoyed coming out here skiing. There’s a pretty big presence of people out here from Wisconsin and the Midwest, so I knew fitting in out here wasn’t going to be an issue. I knew I wanted to work at a Fee-Only RIA firm, and SH&J was at the top of the list when I performed a Google Search. I emailed them my resume, ended up getting an interview the next week and an offer that same day. It was a pretty fast process.
What do you like to do in your free time?
In my spare time, like most Coloradans, I like to get up in the mountains and ski. I also just picked up fly fishing so I’ve enjoyed that as well, and pretty much just doing anything that involves being outdoors and exploring Denver. I mean, there’s always a festival or different event going on every weekend, so there’s never really a lack of things to do. It’s a tough place to be bored.
Do you have a favorite place you like to ski?
Nothing beats the Back Bowls at Vail on a powder day.
What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I recently went bungee jumping over Victoria Falls in Africa.
How did you end up doing that?
I went over there with a buddy of mine and did a mission trip, and we spent an extra week and did more touristy stuff, such as a safari, bungee jumping over the falls, whitewater rafting, and fishing. It was quite the adventure and one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.
What is the most interesting place you’ve ever been to?
Probably Africa. Livingstone, Zambia to be exact. It’s right on the Zambezi River, it’s kind of a more touristy town, but the time that I spent there was more with the locals and helping out in a 1st grade classroom teaching the kids English and Mathematics. Africa is unlike any other place in the world, and I can’t wait to get back.
If money was not a factor, what would you do?
I think that I would try to use my time to get to every country in the world and see something unique in every country.