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  • Member Highlight: RAI Wealth Management: Financial Planning

    In the words of the great Albert Einstein, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world.” Professionals at RAI Wealth Management agree, and they emphasize that the time to plan for retirement is now.

    With no minimum requirement to invest, it’s no surprise that the independent advisory team at RAI Wealth Management recommends people begin to plan for their financial future as early as possible.

    “It just seems like most people wait to plan until they’re in their 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s. If they got a start 20 years before that, it would make it so much easier to meet their goals,” says Terri Grassi, the company’s Advisor Representative.

    “The sooner you start, the better,” adds company President, Jim Ripley. “The compounding of interest and earnings on investments over one’s lifetime can be significant, and that concept is something younger investors need to understand.”

    RAI Wealth Management, headquartered in downtown Fullerton, is a registered investment advisory firm specializing in investment management and financial planning for individuals and businesses. With competency and integrity, the team strives to provide independent and objective guidance, with the only allegiance being to their clients.

    The company was formed as Richey Advisors in 1992 by J. H. Richey, Norm Kredit and Jim Ripley. In 2010, they were joined by Terri Grassi, who served for 18 years as Partner and C.P.A. at Martin Grassi & Company. She was also a registered representative for a national brokerage firm. When Richey and Kredit retired in 2015, Ripley acquired their ownership of the practice and renamed the firm RAI Wealth Management to better reflect the full range of services the firm provides.

    Today, Ripley and Grassi often collaborate when working with their clients. With Ripley as a Certified Financial Planner™ and an Accredited Asset Management Specialist, and Grassi’s extensive tax background as a C.P.A., the pair creates a well-balanced team.

    RAI Wealth Management operates independently without outside influences, which is what distinguishes the company as a registered investment advisory and their fiduciary duty to always act in the best interest of their clients.

    “We focus on the client,” says Ripley. “If the client wins, we win.”

    The company’s goal is to create a strategy designed so that the client can live within their means while being able to accumulate for the future.

    RAI Wealth Management serves a wide range of clients, from preretirement-aged individual investors to business owners. Their services include portfolio management for retirees and individuals, as well as corporate profitsharing plans, pension plans, foundations, and nonprofits.

    The boutique firm offers personalized attention that creates a bond that goes beyond a simple business transaction. Many individuals have been doing business with RAI Wealth Management for more than two decades. Client loyalty extends so far that RAI continues to work with clients who have relocated to different parts of the country.

    RAI Wealth Management greatly values education and giving back to the community as demonstrated by hosting retirement planning courses at various community colleges and posting educational blogs on their website. Through outreach, they offer themselves as a source of knowledge for the local community. Each year, RAI hosts an annual client appreciation event featuring notable speakers from various disciplines in the economic and investment world.

    RAI Wealth Management has deep roots in the Fullerton community. The legacy of J. Richey’s involvement with Rotary and the Chamber continues today with Grassi and Ripley, who are both active in the Rotary Club of Fullerton. Grassi is one of only two women to serve as Rotary Club of Fullerton’s president in the organization’s 97-year history. Ripley also plays an active role in Rotary Club of Fullerton, currently acting as its Director of Vocational Services. In his position, he develops programs to encourage people of various occupations to serve their local community and the world.

    In 2014, the Chamber honored Richey Advisors, Inc. as Small Business of the Year. Following Richey’s retirement, Ripley has continued the company’s investment in the Chamber and in June was installed as a member of the North Orange County Chamber’s Board of Directors, a role also served by Richey from 2008 to 2012.

    “I look forward to serving and working with other board members to further the achievements and the goals of the Chamber,” says Ripley.

    Marching to the Beat of Two Drummers

    What has now been cemented as a successful business partnership started with a drumbeat.

    This common interest and The Realistic Rock Drum Method, a best-selling drum instruction book, initially brought Grassi and Ripley together.

    Ripley soon learned that Grassi had more than a causal connection to the book’s author, Carmine Appice. Carmine, original drummer of Vanilla Fudge and Terri’s older brother, has been honored in the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame and Hollywood Rock Walk of Fame. He played with Ozzy Osbourne and Rod Stewart and co-wrote Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks.”

    The family story, however, holds honors for not one but two famous drummers. Vinny Appice, 11 years Carmine’s junior, played with Black Sabbath, John Lennon, Dio, Rick Derringer, and many more. In 2018 and 2019 respectively, both Carmine and Vinny Appice were inducted into the Heavy Metal Hall of Fame.

    After decades of pursuing their individual music careers, the brothers collaborated on their first album together in 2017, titled Sinister. The duo invited Grassi and Frank Appice, their brother, to sing backup on the track “Drum Wars.

    Download the full story here.