We had the good fortune of connecting with Jon Michaels and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jon, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Without a doubt the most important factor behind my success is relentless persistence. As an entrepreneur from the age of 21 years old, I have failed many times. Knowing when to keep at it, versus knowing when to pivot to an adjacent opportunity has been the key. As far as my firm, Stronghold Financial, we have an uncanny ability to make very complex financial topics easy for our clients to understand. We skip the jargon and explain concepts in a way that normal people can understand them, process them and feel like they are well-informed to make the best possible decisions.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Stronghold Financial is a boutique wealth management firm. We specialize in helping busy business owners and professionals grow their wealth, protect their financial position and gain access to some of the best performing asset classes in the world today. A few things make us different.
First, the way we communicate with our clients is clear, crisp and concise. We skip the jargon and explain things in a way people will understand.
Second we are fiduciaries. This means we do what is in the best interests of our clients even if that means it is detrimental to us. Our clients have the utmost faith that we have what is best for them at heart.
Third, we have access to institutional-grade investment opportunities. The kind of money-making investments that big banks and hedge funds put their money in. We research, vet and share these opportunities with our clients to give them alternative ways to increase their wealth besides just investing in the market.
Fourth, we use our proprietary Custom Active Portfolio (CAP), portfolio-design process. No one else has CAP. CAP uses a multi-variate dataset to design the absolute best custom portfolio for each and every client taking into consideration their risk tolerance, worldview, political leaning, education, and what drives them to succeed in their professional and personal life.
Fifth, we have access to the top 1% of uncapped insurance and annuity solutions. These solutions allow our clients to build and maintain wealth while creating significant tax-free income & assets for life.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am a big-time wine collector, whiskey collector and foodie. So the first place I would take my buddy is my wine cellar. I have personally curated a collection of some of the most delicious wines from around the world. Everything in the collection has been tasted by me personally. Every bottle of wine has a unique story about how and where it was created. I love sharing their stories and then opening bottles of wine that are similar to what someone says they like or have tasted before, but from a completely different part of the world. For example if someone says they like Syrah from Paso Robles, I might open a Chateauneuf du Pape from the southern Rhone region of France.
I also have an extensive whiskey, tequila and rum collection. So maybe not in the same day as the wine tour, but I would certainly share some of my finest spirits with my friend too. Like wine, spirits have such an interesting story about how they were crafted and why they were made the way they were made. I enjoy pouring small amounts of different whiskies so my friends can try a broad variety of tastes.
I love restaurants which offer not only great food, but a great experience as well. Some of my favorites locally are Nook Kitchen Arcadia, Steak 44, Maple & Ash, Toca Madera, Fat Ox, Tratto, Craft 64, and Franco’s. Notably, I am a big time pizza-snob. I grew up in New York. I’ve lived in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Spent a ton of time in Chicago. I’ve traveled through Italy extensively. Obviously all of these cities have amazing pizza but let me tell you that the (hands down) best pizza I have ever had is from a tiny little place in Flagstaff, AZ called Pizzicletta. I’ve spoken to the owner Caleb on several occasions and the way he ferments the pizza dough, to the authentic Neapolitan pizza oven he uses, to the unique and top quality ingredients makes his pizza head and shoulders better than anything else I’ve had. So a special trip to Flagstaff to get out of the heat and enjoy some pizza would definitely be in order. I also love Sedona. Aside from all the amazing sites to see and places to be outdoors in Sedona, award-winning chef Lisa Dahl has a handful of restaurants up there which are all terrific. Dahl and DiLuca would be my top choice if I had to pick one, but Cucina Rustica, Mariposa and Butterfly Burger are all wonderful.
I am member at Arizona Country Club, so we would definitely play a round of golf there. I love the lush, park-style layout at ACC and the facilities are second to none. I’d also take my friend to some of the other incredible golf experiences around the state.
I enjoy cycling, and the Phoenix/Scottsdale area has some of the most lovely cycling routes in the western United States. So we’d definitely do that and make time to stop at some of the cool little cafes along the way.
I also really enjoy the Arizona Science Center, the Musical Instrument Museum, and the Phoenix Art Museum. I can spend the entire day at these attractions just marveling at their exhibits.
Lastly, I am a car freak. I love super cars and I love to drive fast. I’d take my buddy to the Xtreme Xperience track, rent a Ferrari and take turns screaming around the circuit.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There’s truly too many to mention here. I’ve been so blessed to receive mentoring, support, love and belief from a lot of great people over the years. I think right now if I had to choose one, I would say my fiancé and business partner Katie. Every entrepreneur should have someone in their corner like Katie. Her belief in me, my abilities, the decisions I make and my vision are unwavering. She trusts me completely. And when I think about how talented and pure a person Katie is herself, for someone of that high quality to believe in me the way she does drives me to want to be better every day.