For Joe Vogenthaler, the noise of the market is quite real. A veteran commodities trader, Joe traded futures contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for more than 20 years. The sounds of the floor often lingered with him well after the trading day had ended.

In 2019, he left his proprietary trading firm after a company merger. Taking a year off to reflect on his next move, Joe decided there was more to be gained by helping investors plan for their financial futures than in trading futures on the exchange.

In this Q&A, he considers what happens next in his professional career since joining the Wealth Advisor Alliance.

Why did you decide to merge and ultimately walk away from the trading firm you helped build in 2005?

The trading industry has been going through a massive consolidation and our company was no exception. Merging with another company for cost efficiencies made a lot of business sense. We could add significantly to the revenue side of the business with a minimal expense to overhead. The issue for me personally was that, as COO, I had to exit when the merger was complete because the company already had an executive team in place and did not want to change the dynamics. Our CEO had already stepped aside. Our CTO was working remote in California. I stayed to the end (along with our office manager) to oversee the merger.

What did you consider when you reflected on what was next?

I had been in the trading industry for more than 25 years about to be unemployed for the first time since I was 12 years old. My wife pushed me to come back to reality and begin my search for what would be next. That exploration revolved around three questions:

  1. What was it about my career that I enjoyed so much?
  2. What were the pitfalls?
  3. What was missing from my career that could fulfill me going forward?

Was it easy to find answers to these questions?

At first, it was amazingly difficult to answer them because I was focusing on all the wrong things. I knew I could do without the daily stress of trading, even though I had learned how to minimize that stress from some of the best in the industry. Still, something was missing. Although the competitive nature of the industry dictated it, I had been motivated by trading profits. I was not producing a product or a service to better someone else’s life. To fill that void, I had been volunteering at my kids’ school and community events as well as coaching every sports team I could fit into my schedule. A colleague who knew me extremely well gave me this advice, “Financial advisory might be your calling.” Who knew that helping clients achieve their goals by planning out their financial future would ultimately be my answer?

How would you describe your relationship with the market?

I love finance, always have and always will. I also had a love affair with the markets. For me, I see the market as a creature that has the ability to touch everyone but with a mind completely of its own. It is impossible to anticipate its next move. Trading was never about a hunch. The success of our trading came from building a system around data and algorithms and science. The complexities are never ending, and the sooner investors learn they will never be smarter than the market, the better off they will be.

Why did you choose to become a financial advisor?

It fit me perfectly, answered all the questions that were important to me and I would now be able to affect other people’s lives in a positive way. I was excited about helping people make smart decisions to take them into retirement — something I would not only enjoy but it came naturally to me. As I spent time doing my due diligence, I determined that I wanted to follow an academic path and act as a fiduciary to ensure my decisions were always motivated by a client’s best interest.

I was fortunate to have great mentors in my life who supported me as I accumulated a wealth of knowledge. As a financial advisor, I will help reduce the stress my clients might feel when there is market volatility by focusing on their plan. This is how I will guide my clients as I advise them now and throughout retirement.

Learn more about what makes WAA different from standard TAMPs and how we help advisors forge their own path and go independent.

We help advisors establish and grow successful wealth management practices. To learn more about how we can help you amplify your life’s work, contact us at You can follow us on Twitter@theWAAlliance and on LinkedIn.

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