Derek Miser is one of those people who just seems to be wired for success. But he’ll be the first to tell you success doesn’t just happen – it’s something that must be worked for every step of the way. He proudly learned that at a young age, and it remains his mentality to this day as the Chief Managing Member at Miser Wealth Partners, LLC.
Derek has a proven track record of delivering results for his clients. Putting in the work to successfully obtain a goal is something he has been doing all his life. From his early days of working on the farm to becoming an accomplished athlete, a budding entrepreneur, and eventually becoming the seasoned business professional of today, Derek never gives anything less than 100% when he sets his mind to something. That tenet was ingrained from a very early age.
Derek Miser is well-known in the financial services industry and many of the world’s most prestigious media outlets have relied on his expertise for insight into some of the most challenging issues we all face. Here are several media outlets where you might have seen Derek:
Derek was born in Evansville, Indiana and raised in nearby Posey County in the rural farm community of Saint Philip. With thousands of acres of fields as far as the eye could see, Derek’s first job and introduction to hard work was detasseling corn and baling hay at the age of 13.
“Work ethic is a big deal where I come from,” he said. “It was one of the best places I could have ever grown up. I was very fortunate.”
As a complement to his work ethic, Derek’s jovial, somewhat infectious personality was also evident at a young age. He specifically remembers how his 3rd grade teacher realized that young Derek might be destined for somewhat of a business route in life.
“The teacher wanted us to name our different reading groups. Back then, it was all about the Cowboys and Steelers,” Derek remembered. “She asked who wanted to be the Steelers and some hands went up. Same thing with the Cowboys. Then, she asked if anyone else had recommendations and I raised my hand and said, ‘Kiss.’ Her eyes got really big.”
The teacher was obviously taken aback by such a young rock n’ roll fan, but Derek was determined to stick to his guns in paying homage to his favorite group.
“I had convinced the majority of my group to agree to be Kiss, but the teacher insisted on a re-vote. When she left to work with another reading group, I was lobbying the other kids to agree to Kiss. When she came back, the vote was unanimous.”
From that point on, Derek knew he was either going to be a government lobbyist or in sales to some degree. But those early career aspirations didn’t deter his appreciation for music. In addition to years of classical guitar lessons, Derek was part of his high school’s concert choir and involved in productions like South Pacific, Grease, and Fiddler on the Roof.
Alongside his musical stylings, Derek also found the time to be heavily involved in sports, especially basketball. Sports further solidified his impeccable work ethic, which he partially attributes to his family being the only Methodists in a 99.9% Catholic community.
“As a non-Catholic who was blessed with some slightly above average athletic skills, it taught me that I had to play even harder for a local non-Catholic boy on a team that might not have been open to an outsider,” he said.
Derek made sure to prove himself on the court time and time again. He continued playing basketball at St. Joseph College, where he became well known for his shooting skills. But on the academic side of things, he was extremely economically focused.
“I was going to make sure to go into something that would reap the largest financial rewards, which, at the time, was electrical engineering,” he recalls.
But Derek admits he wasn’t fully prepared for the almost insurmountable math requirements that came along with that course of study. As an involved college athlete, he spent a bit more time in the gym and on the court rather than in the library. During his sophomore year, his career interest began to shift thanks to an influential relative.
“My uncle ran a big operation for a plastics company in Riverside, California. I looked up to him a lot,” Derek said. “At Thanksgiving that year, he pulled me aside and asked me how my classes were going, which included calculus and quantitative analysis. After I answered, he said, ‘Have you ever thought about going into business?’ That was when I made the leap from engineering to business.”
A unique summer job not only solidified Derek’s love for music but also piqued his interest to a potentially lucrative business venture. While working as a runner for the Ruoff Music Center (originally called Deer Creek Music Center), the largest outdoor music venue in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, Derek was directly exposed to big-name artists like James Taylor, Van Halen, Elton John, Rod Stewart, and more. He was hooked on the excitement of it all.
As it would turn out, the next big assignment in school was to design a business plan from the ground up. While his fellow classmates were turning in plans for dry cleaners, franchises, and other similar-sized operations, there was no question in Derek’s mind what he wanted to pursue – owning and operating the world’s largest outdoor amphitheater.
Despite his professor threatening an F on the assignment due to his opinion of it being an unrealistic undertaking, Derek has never been the kind of person to take “no” for an answer. He ended up raising about $1.5 million in private funds for the buildout of the master plan, which was earmarked for a property off Interstate 40 in Sevier and Knox Counties. Derek subsequently made the move to East Tennessee to pursue his big dream.
The multi-phase project would cost about $3.6 billion dollars back in 1994, and Derek personally secured about $157 million in government funds to build a proprietary intersection on I-40. He and his team continued raising equity and gaining control of property, which helped him establish a relationship with investment and wealth management giant Merrill Lynch. Though the project consumed Derek’s life from 1990 to 1995, the momentum eventually came to a halt due to unforeseen and uncontrollable obstacles. But it all gave him what he refers to as a “Wharton education” on development, logistics, and finance.
It also helped him establish a strong relationship with Merrill Lynch, which turned into a job opportunity in Houston, Texas. It was there where Derek rose up the ranks in a few short months and later brought his honed financial skills back to East Tennessee, where he transferred with the position.
When the time came to move on from Merrill Lynch, Derek concentrated his efforts on fulfilling his dream of establishing his own firm. With his tenacious, entrepreneurial spirit driving those efforts, Miser Wealth Partners opened its doors in 2017. He attributes his upbringing with making it all possible.
“I had two parents who said, ‘You can make anything happen as long as you’re willing to work,’” he said. “That has been the backbone of what I do every day and why I get up and try to achieve the things I want to achieve.”
That irrefutable work ethic remains a cornerstone of Miser Wealth Partners, where it’s understood that the figures on your financial statements represent far more than just numbers – they represent years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that have enabled you to be where you want to be, as Derek explains.
“I tell clients this: It’s our job to ensure that you live the most abundant retirement possible,” he said. “The one thing that I’ll promise you is that we don’t ever want you to live a just-in-case lifestyle, meaning you shouldn’t have to make decisions on how you live your life ‘just in case’ the market is a certain way.”
At the end of the day, it’s all about building the personal relationships that enable Miser advisors to tailor strategies aimed at delivering valuable recommendations so you can make prudent decisions about your future. Derek says that’s something you might find unique with Miser Wealth Partners.
“Our whole business is predicated on success in Tellico Village, Knoxville, and all of East Tennessee,” he said. “We cannot afford for one person to have a negative experience, so our commitment level to providing the best service we can is impeccable.”
And as a devoted family man himself, Derek knows firsthand it’s about so much more than just the dollar signs at the end of the day.
“If I narrow it down to the very soul of what I do every day, it’s for my wife, Jeanne, and our children,” he said. “I want Miser Wealth Partners to turn into a 2nd or even 3rd generation business and continue to serve people for years to come.”
When you ask Derek what he likes to do for fun, his knee-jerk reaction is to say “work,” but when pressed for a more conventional answer, it’s no surprise what his favorite actually is.
“I love to play golf, and I love to go on vacation. But I’d say the biggest is I absolutely love concerts,” he said. “I love the power of being at the show and the energy of the music. The best concert of all time? That’s easy – Kiss! There is no better show.”
When making the important decision to partner with a financial advisor, you’ll only want the most experienced, driven team by your side to help protect your bottom line and secure the financial future you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Miser Wealth Partners is a team of professionals with more than 76 years of experience navigating the complexities of the legal, tax, and investment worlds. With Derek at the helm, you can have the peace of mind knowing you and your family’s best interest is a top priority.