Interview: Tom Dupree, co-founder Dupree Financial Group

Let’s welcome Tom, regular participant with the New Breed tribe Wed mornings to hear his testimony, his 3rd generation investment background, his calling, and how that fits together with the new thing God is doing in business and finance.

Thomas P. Dupree, Jr., is an investment advisor representative with over 39 years of experience in the business. Tom spent 18 years with a major financial services company and served as portfolio manager for a Lexington-based mutual fund. Tom founded Dupree Financial Group in 2003 in order to provide fee-based investment advice to individuals and families of those preparing for retirement and already in retirement. His primary purpose is to provide excellent service and unbiased financial advice to these folks based on thorough research and tenacious fact-gathering. Tom promotes his ideas about investing and other issues on a weekly radio program. He graduated from the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee in 1978.

I was born in Harlan, KY, a small coal mining town in SE KY in 1956.  Was affected greatly by mountain culture and the close knit character of a small town.  Harlan had been an economic powerhouse in  the 30s and 40s but was beginning to lose steam by the 50s.  Today there is almost no coal being mined in Harlan County.  There is a small amount of oil and gas and a good bit of timber production.  In Harlan my grandfather, who was originally from Louisville KY, started a small investment firm in 1938.  That was where my father worked after graduating from Yale as an economics major, and four years in the Navy including the Korean War..  He was anxious to get out of Harlan, which was probably wise.

Family moved to Lexington, KY in 1963.  Dad started an office of F.L. Dupree and Company.  I attended a small private school called Sayre named for David Sayre, a banker fron New Jersey.  Happy memories as a grade schooler but by high school I was really lost and entered the drug world.  This was my springboard into a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I had grown up an Episcopalian and was very involved in the church even when I was wandering into drugs and rock and roll.  Acolytes and choir.  When I met Christ it was at a place in Lexington called Christ Center.  This was founded by Paul and Becky Petrie.  It was basically a Christian commune.  Doing drugs was causing big problems for me and my mother took me down to this place.  At one of their meetings I accepted Christ fully despite having made a profession of faith at the Billy Graham crusade a year earlier.  Soon after this I asked God to baptize me in the Holy Spirit.  I received the gift of tongues at age fifteen.  My early teachers I followed were Derek Prince, Bob Mumford, and Jamie Buckingham.  These were leaders of the charismatic renewal of the day.  Later I got into Corrie Ten Boom and Richard Wurmbrand.
I went to Sewanee, also called the University of the South for college.  It is in Tennessee.  This was encouraged by our Episcopal rector, who was also charismatic, named Moultrie McIntosh.  It was a good choice for me.  Majored in English,  Never had any intention to get into the investment business with my Dad because I considered it unspiritual.  Today I agree with that assessment more than I did then!  But God can use anything.

After college I began to work at my Dad’s firm as a municipal bond salesman.  I decided that I could reconcile my spirituality with being in business.  Sounds kind of goofy today but back then I struggled with it.  I had been somewhat liberal in college but changed my tune when I began to learn how business relationships work.  Delicate and fragile.  Could have something to do with the difference between North and South.  Although I had some great relationships in NYC.
Worked at UBS/PaineWebber for 19 years.  Started Dupree Financial Group in 2003.  Decided to make it into something that embodied the best things I had learned while working at the wire house.  Providing very personalized advice to investors who because of their size might not get white glove treatment form the larger firms.  At first we did seminars.  Close to 150 of them.  Then I started the radio show.  Very productive for a while but fell off.  Now Facebook.

I went through some great difficulty within the last couple of years.  I found the deeper I got into trouble the more I had to relinquish control over my own life.  All aspects.  This was the cross and having things forcibly taken away from me.  My experience has been that God simply did for me what I could not do for myself.You can’t get in enough trouble that God cannot get to you and take over your life.  This is what the alcoholics talk about in AA but I was able to fully experience it.  Not an experience that I would recommend to anyone!

As for economic theories, I have very few.  I believe persistence is important in any endeavor, spiritual and temporal.  Faith is the thing that wins the day.  Most government and other efforts to make the economy more “fair” are disruptive in a harmful way.  I know this from personal experience.  Even if they debase the currency beyond recognition, persistence and faith will still be around.