The Milestones of May

Allworth CEO Scott Hanson celebrates a few important milestones for the Allworth family.


What exactly is it about the month of May?

Weddings, festivals, and historic events. So many happenings. Is it because it’s the height of spring?

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was born on May 29th, 1917.

Or is it because May is, for most schools, colleges and universities, the last month before summer vacation?

On May 20th, 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

Or is it simply because all the flowers are in bloom?

Mother’s Day is the second Sunday in May.

It is still surreal that a virus about which we all know so little, and which most of us probably had never heard of, has so damaged the economy and restricted normalcy.

On May 27th, 1937, to celebrate its opening, 200,000 people walked across the Golden Gate Bridge.

And yet, today, in May of 2020, as best we can, we go about our lives and business. In fact, my impression is that people are making do, and that despite the near-total interruption, most people, though stressed, remain hopeful and in good spirits.

On May 8th, 1884, President Harry S. Truman was born.

Still, in our own lives, the birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and even the milestones of 2020—some of which had major events planned—may come to pass with little celebration.

At least this year. This time.  

But the calendar does not stop. Those special dates still occur. And milestones continue to happen all around us.

On May 17th, 1792, two dozen merchants and brokers founded the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Simply, whatever your commemoration, while this spring, at least, it probably hasn’t been celebrated in the fashion you envisioned, I hope you’re still able to engage with and appreciate your loved ones, your life, your big and small milestones, and all that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

This will end. And large, raucous (or small and tasteful) celebration will return.   

Until then, I’d like to share a few milestones that we are acknowledging this week.   

Money Matters 25th Anniversary

We have two financial topic programs, one that broadcasts from the West Coast (Money Matters) and one from the Midwest (Simply Money).

In early 1995, two years after Pat McClain and I founded Hanson McClain Advisors—our firm that would grow into Allworth Financial—Pat and I happen to both hear the exact same broadcast of a popular financial program.

We heard a caller in need of serious financial guidance, who instead received terrible advice from the show’s host.

It made us angry.

Not surprisingly, by May of that year, not only had we secured our own Saturday call-in financial topic radio program, but our show was set to broadcast on the very same station as the show that had infuriated us with bad advice.   

That made it extra sweet, and we’ve never forgotten.

We launched Money Matters, just as our partners in the Midwest founded the Simply Money program, to educate people about financial topics.

The fact is, that 99% of our callers aren’t in the position to become clients.

That doesn’t matter.

The people who need immediate answers to pressing financial questions, they hear us, they pick up the phone and call, and they get advice they can use right away.

And that’s why we started Money Matters, which, at 25 years, is now one of the longest running financial topic programs in the country (along with Simply Money).

1,000 Episodes

Money Matters recently surpassed 1,000 episodes.

That’s roughly 40 new shows each and every year. (And because it airs daily, Simply Money is closing in on 4,000 shows!)

Back in 1995, when we first began broadcasting Money Matters from the studio, we had no experience with radio and so we were a little naïve about what we were getting into.

Sometimes, however, not knowing what you are getting into can be a good thing.

Back in those days, studios housed perhaps three or four (or more) 24/7 live radio stations, along with several other recording rooms where commercials (jingles, voice overs, etc.) were made.

Now (especially now), a lot of this is automated or remote. But back then, there were technicians and sound equipment and spilled coffee and empty donut boxes everywhere. While our show is currently about an hour long, for years we did a two-hour program.

Over that time, we’ve experimented with various approaches to recording, until a few years ago, when, fed up with logistical issues, we had a state-of-the art studio built right inside our company headquarters.

That’s how serious we are about that show.    

Back in 1995, the manager at the radio station referred to us as “The boys.” And all of it came about at least in part because we both got so angry, that we were willing to jump in front of a “hot mic” to perform a live broadcast every Saturday morning.

(Right here would probably be a good place to tell you that Sigmund Freud was born on May 6th, 1865.)

1,000,000 Podcast Downloads

The last of the May 2020 milestones for Allworth Financial is that we’ve blown passed 1,000,000 podcast downloads for Money Matters.

Besides general investment, financial, and retirement conversations, every episode answers the questions of three to six callers, which means that any question might be the pressing issue for hundreds of listeners.

And that feels good.

On May 21st, 1881, Clara Barton founded The American Red Cross.

Mounts St. Helens in southwestern Washington erupted on May 18th, 1980.  

On May 5th, 1961, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space.

Your child’s college or high school graduation.

Your wedding anniversary.

A special birthday.

Your retirement.

I don’t know what it is about the month of May. But, obviously, this year is unlike the others. So, whatever your 2020 anniversary or milestone is, while it’s true the pandemic can delay or alter it, it can’t change the fact that you’ve achieved it.

May it all be that much better once we are completely through this.

We will get through it.

And, perhaps best of all, maybe the “new normal” for everyone from here on out will be that we all learn to celebrate our achievements, whatever they may be, like we never have before.