“I thought maybe this was a bad decision,“ he said.
It was too late to return to the university. They had already replaced him. He had no choice but to move forward.
“So, I made the cut of the life boat and decided to just go for it and not turn back,” he said. And along the way, he learned something valuable.
“The harder you work, the more success you have,” he said.
Now, 30 years later, he is glad he stayed the course with Babb Financial Group in Flagstaff.
The firm’s database has about 2,000 clients that include people from all over the country, but the vast majority is from Northern Arizona, said son Travis, 26, a senior partner in the firm.
“My clients are more like friends. They come in and show me pictures of their grandchildren and vacations,” Bill Babb said.
The elder Babb had worked for the university for seven years before he decided to make a change.
“I wanted to work for myself. I just wanted to control my future. I felt there was more to life than 8-to-5. I wanted more control over my destiny,” he said.
So, in 1981, he founded Babb Financial Group. The first five years, he worked 60 or 70 hours a week.
“My first customer was a friend of mine. I called on him and told him I wanted to show him what I was doing. In fact, we still laugh about it because I was a novice at the time. I was really preparing people for retirement,” Babb said.
After following Babb’s advice, his first customer is enjoying an early retirement while Babb, 59, has no intention of retiring.
“I actually enjoy my job,” he said. “I always tell my clients, if you are happy and love your job and you don‘t have a lot of hobbies, you‘ve got to keep working.”
Bill Babb is originally from Iowa, his father a blue-collar worker and racecar diver. He has two sisters and two brothers who all still live there.
“I came up [to Flagstaff] to go to school and fell in love with it,” he said.
His first wife, Cheri, worked side by side with him establishing the business, but she passed away 15 years ago.
“What is ironic is that the people who helped me the most were my clients. They were my good friends and they rallied around and helped me get through that situation,” he said.
He has since remarried Jill, an interior decorator.
She has her own business and redecorated his office.
“It’s much too nice for me,” he laughed.
Travis came on full-time at the firm more than three years ago after working summers and finishing college.
He learned the business at the dinner table where it was always the topic. Travis said he spent his formative years soaking it all in.
Because of the extra help, Babb is able to relax a little.
“I am able to take time off when I feel like it,” he said.
His office is at the Continental Country Club.
“We have golf in our backyard. I golf about twice a week. I do like to travel with my wife,” he said.
This year, instead of a far-flung vacation, they have decided to stay put and see Northern Arizona, he said.
Babb is also involved in the community.
He is on the board of Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the NAU Alumni board, the hospital foundation board and the Continental Country Club board.
He is also a member of the Flagstaff 40, a group of community leaders who try to have an impact on the community.
About five years ago, Babb and his wife started a chapter of Child Help in Northern Arizona. This group helps neglected and abused children.
To celebrate his 30th anniversary in business, he plans to hold a barbecue at the country club and invite all his clients. FBN
To learn more about the Babb Financial Group, call HYPERLINK “tel:%28928%29%20526-2911″928-526-2911.