Alumni Spotlight: Paul Merriman ('66)
Paul Merriman sold his investment advisory firm and retired in 2012, but he is still a go-to source for advice about investing, regardless of whether you’re just starting out as a newly minted graduate or looking to retire. Through a Financial Education Foundation Paul founded in 2012, he offers his investment advice free through articles, podcasts and books (paulmerriman.com). Here is a free copy of his latest book, “We’re Talking Millions: 12 Simple Ways to Supercharge Your Retirement.” https://paulmerriman.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Were-Talking-Millions.pdf
Paul recently won the 2021 James B. Cloonan Award for Excellence in Investment Education. Other winners of this elite and prestigious award include Bruce Johnstone of Fidelity Investments, and John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group. Energetic, thoughtful, and deeply invested in seeing young people retire with millions of dollars in the bank, Paul is a Wenatchee native who grew up the son of a nurturing, generous nurse who taught him to be nice to absolutely everyone.
“My mother encouraged me to always be kind. Always. To everyone.”
Paul wasn’t your average kid. He was involved in student politics, the Key Club Boys’ Club, active in his church, formed a rock-and-roll band, sang in the church choir—and always with an eye to help others. He was also a hard worker. He started selling Christmas cards when he was 11 years old.
“I was always looking for ways to stay busy and help others.”
Paul initially attended the UW before finding Western.
“I was married at 19, and the UW felt big after growing up in Wenatchee. I went to visit Western and the campus was so welcoming.”
Paul loved his time at Western, and enjoyed the friends, professors and the courses he took. He was also a proud member of “The Keggers,” a fun-loving flag football team who were only scored on once in an entire season. In May 2021, he spoke at the memorial for his favorite professor, Thaddeus Spratlen with whom he had a lifelong relationship.
In a position to give back to Western, Paul is a generous donor. Not only does he fund the Merriman Fund for Financial Literacy, he also returns to campus regularly to lecture on personal finance and investing. In 2013, his Foundation underwrote the creation and ongoing support of Personal Investing 216, a course that was designed for non-finance majors.
Paul loves to share his extensive experience and knowledge with students. He is currently working with the administration of CBE to create a program so every student who comes through Western will understand the most important personal finance decisions they will make in the years after graduation.
“I love any opportunity I can get to educate kids on the lifechanging financial decisions they face.”
But what about people who are squeamish about money?
“Money is a part of almost every part of life—even if you don’t want your life to revolve around money, it is always there.”
And lucky for Western students, Paul is right there, too, ready to help them invest for a brighter, better future.