20 Under 40: His life is stocks, service, stress

Columbia investment adviser Michael Oana starts his day at 7 a.m. and usually works until 10:30 at home.
Columbia investment adviser Michael Oana starts his day at 7 a.m. and usually works until 10:30 at home.

Nothing could compare to the time that it takes to be a successful financial adviser in a worldwide economic crisis.

Because of the way that we have built our boutique investment firm, I have developed deeply personalized relationships with the clients that we serve.

In a corporate environment, it may be more about the numbers but when your name is on the door, it is more than business.

People have entrusted me with their future dreams and goals. I often feel a part of their family. I get invited to family events and our clients place a tremendous amount of trust in our firm.

During the heyday of the bull market, a lot of the questions that I received were about the market and investing.

Whether it’s at the grocery store or kids’ soccer game, people want to bend my ear for free tips: What's the next Microsoft? What kind of stock tips do you have? What's the best stock to be in?

Although (I’m) more than happy to provide advice, those were always difficult answers to give.

It depends on their current investment plan, risk and such. I would chat with them but generally suggest that they make an appointment, but I tell them not to panic.

With the recent crisis, the questions that I receive have differed tremendously.

Now people stop me on the street and ask: Will I still have my home? Will I still be able to retire? When is the economic bleeding going to end?

I suggest that if they have a long-term investing horizon, they should hopefully be OK and the markets generally increase, but to be very careful.

Because of the time and detail that we put into working with our clients, it has been an extraordinarily tough period.

I awake just after 5 a.m. The first thing that I do when I wake up is to get a sense as far as what's going on in the world.

We recently have installed a TV in our master bathroom of our house to help me to stay abreast of what's going on.

I might be one of the rare people in America who can exercise on the treadmill while reading economic data, The Wall Street Journal, and watch CNBC at the same time.

After arriving at the office around 7 a.m., I finish my economic research and get organized for our day.

My team rolls in around 8 and we have a morning huddle from 8:25 to 9. I then hit the phones to touch base with at least 10 of our clients in the morning to update them about their portfolios and where we stand. We will generally have two client office meetings in the afternoon.

I generally return my calls during lunch and eat most days at my desk watching the news or stock ticker.

The highlight of my day is coming home around 6:45 and spending some quality time with my wife and boys.

Getting a chance to have a home-cooked meal, and not having to spend the night on the road, is why I chose ... a local profession with little travel.

After putting the boys down, it is back to work. I liked to be prepared for the next day and I often bring home a summary of the days work, then I lay out the objectives for the next day and then wrap up my research at night.

Most work days end around 10:30 after a recap with my wife about the family and how their day went.

I love what I do and I enjoy serving our clients but it is a serious profession and the stress can build up.

With having a high pressure career, de-stressing is extremely important to avoid burnout. A lot of brokers play golf and tennis, I try to break the stress with family time and vacations to Edisto Island.

I am also a huge Gamecock fan and season ticket holder. As one might expect, following the ups and downs of our Gamecocks might be as nerve-jarring as following the Dow — but it is a different type of stress.