You were a finance major in college, so you’ve always had an interest in the markets. But that’s a very different thing from being a certified financial adviser. What made you make the leap?
Ross Stripling: I had a very serious arm surgery. I had Tommy John surgery on my elbow, which is sort of like a football player having ACL surgery. You know you’re gonna recover from it, but there’s always a chance you may not be the same. So coming out of surgery, I didn’t really have the feeling that I was going to make it to the big leagues. I thought I was kind of in no man’s land, basically just took a full season and a half off and [the Dodgers] got new ownership—all these people coming in that I didn’t even know if they knew who I was.
I studied finance in college, had two grandfathers that were very involved in the market. My dad was involved. Essentially, I just got an opportunity with the company that my mom’s dad had invested with for over 40 years, a company called B. Riley. And when I went in there, I was just kind of expecting to maybe learn a little bit. Kind of shadow a guy. I didn’t even know what to expect.
Within five minutes, they were like, “Man, it would be awesome if we could get you licensed, and with the network of people around you, you could be really good at this job just by the network you’ve created through baseball.” I was like, “Man, I didn’t even think about that! What does that entail?” And that’s when you got into it. You’ve got to take the Series 7 and the Series 66, these two giant tests. But over the next two off-seasons, I cranked ’em out and got it done.
You make it sound like it was easy, but taking the Series 7 is a huge time commitment, and you’re also playing Major League Baseball or training year-round. How did you break down the process?
Stripling: This was the off-season of 2015 heading into 2016, and I didn’t even start working at B. Riley until December. So I only had about a month and a half or so to prepare for that test before I headed off to spring training. Luckily, the Series 7 is, in my opinion, a little bit more cut and dry as far as what it is. It’s more about vocabulary and knowing all the different kinds of bonds and stocks, equities. Knowing the different option trades and things like that.
But a funny story is, it’s split into two parts. Where I took a test is right next to a Pappasito’s. Anyways, for the first test, or the first half, it’s about two hours long. I went out of that thinking I just got my butt kicked. So I walk over to Pappasito’s and get a margarita because we have 30 minutes to kill and I’m just like “Man, that was terrible.” And I go back in and crank out the next set of questions and I end up passing.
Let’s get right to it. Who on the Dodgers needs the most financial help?
Stripling: As far as the most help, [Clayton] Kershaw would be a great guy to help. That’s a good guy to have on your side! He doesn’t need it though. Once those guys start making that kind of money, they have a team of people that help them invest it and [they’re] also part of foundations and charities and stuff that they get involved in. The guys that need help are, for instance, like the 18-year-old kid that just got drafted in the first round and his family’s never had money. He’s never had money and he’s probably got people calling him out the wazoo trying to essentially take advantage of him, you know?
Or even, like, young kids that come over from Cuba or Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and they’ve just got a bunch of money in their pocket and they don’t... For the first time, they’re out of their country and living in a hotel here in Phoenix with millions of dollars in their pocket. So those are the guys that need help and that’s a big reason why I got involved in this. I’d like to be able to help guys like that. Even if they don’t invest their money with me, I’d just love to be there to be able to help when they say, “Hey, this guy called me yesterday and he says I should put a million dollars into Bitcoin. I’m thinking about doing it.”
And I’ll be like, “Look, man, I don’t know. That’s half your net worth. I don’t think we should be throwing it in Bitcoin right now.” You know? If I can just help one or two guys in situations like that, then it’s worth it.