John T. Crews Jr., In the Spotlight

Published in the Memphis Business Journal

Crews came to Burleigh Consulting Group 14 years ago after stints in banking and corporate finance. The banking industry was a customer and marketing oriented environment; corporate finance was very analytical. “Each of my first two jobs offered an outlet for one, but not both of those aspects of my personality,” he says. His job designing and administering retirement plans for companies is a nice melding of those experiences.


Hometown: Memphis

Education: Memphis University School; University of Mississippi, B.B.A., University of Memphis, M.B.A.

First job: During college I worked as a masseuse in a local hospital.

Family: Wife, Michelle; two sons, George, age 11, and Tripp, age 15

True confessions
Like best about job:
 Meeting with clients and potential clients

Like least about job: Paperwork

Pet peeve: Getting a voicemail to call someone back, but not having a phone number left to call

Most important lesson learned: Be quiet and listen — you can learn a lot about what to do and what not to do.

Person most interested in meeting: George Washington

Most respected competitor: All of them

Career goals: Continue to help companies set up and administer their retirement plans

First choice for a new career: Teaching

Favorite quote:
 “Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than smart.” — Alan Alda

Most influential book: The Bible

Favorite cause: Streets Ministries

Favorite status symbol: My wife

Favorite movie: “Caddyshack”

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere that I can snow ski

Favorite way to spend free time: Hanging out with family and friends at the lake

Favorite stress reducers: Any project involving a boat

Favorite musicians: Ellis and Wynton Marsalis

Automobile: Chevrolet Suburban

What do you know?
In what ways has the current recession impacted people’s attitudes and actions toward retirement planning?

One common theme I have seen is, due to the recession and market drop, everyone is paying more attention to retirement planning. Many people have woken up to the fact that they need to pay attention to the assets that they are accumulating for retirement and how they are saving for retirement. Retirement plan participants are much more interested now in how their retirement plan works and in what they need to be doing in order to maximize their contributions and what their employer provides in the way of contributions through matching or other types of contributions.

Also, due to the market fallout in 2008, many people in retirement plans are interested in learning more about different types of investments available in their plans and how they work or perform in relationship to each other and in different economic environments. Often, people who have traditionally kept their retirement funds primarily in equities are finding the equity markets too volatile for their peace of mind. And people who have traditionally kept their retirement funds more in fixed income instruments are finding fixed income yields to be too low in the current economic climate.

These two phenomena are making more people learn about and try to get comfortable with a more balanced approach to investing.