Mukilteo financial advisor, Paul Ellis, prioritizes family and community
MUKILTEO, Wash., February 28, 2023—For many years, Paul Ellis, Founder and Owner of the Mukilteo-based Ellis Wealth Management, LLC, had his heart set on joining the military to serve his country; but it seems life had different plans. Through a series of events, he founded Ellis Wealth Management in 2014, quickly establishing itself as one of the top 10 wealth management service companies in the region.
Ellis participated in and completed in the U.S. Army ROTC for four years while studying Speech Communication and Military science at the University of Washington. Planning to become an officer upon graduation, a period of downsizing in the United States military at the time forced him to reevaluate the direction of his future. Presented with a new dilemma, he decided to focus more on his job as a bank teller at Seafirst Bank—quickly climbing the ranks from teller to safe deposit, customer service, receiving his investment licenses, and eventually being accepted to the bank’s personal banking program.
“Some say it was a Willy Wonka ticket—a great stroke of luck—but for me, it was really frustrating because I really wanted to go in and serve as an officer,” said Ellis.
After working for Seafirst Bank for a number of years, Ellis was recruited by investment management and wealth management company Merrill Lynch, where he worked until 2014.
Around 2002, while Ellis was still working for Merrill Lynch, he began to toy with the idea of starting his own company, originally planning to go private in 2007 but the financial crises “took full hold,” he said, and he didn’t feel like it would be a good idea to leave his current clientele basis.
“I figured if I stayed at Merrill Lynch at that time I could offer them something that was solid, something that was not changing,” said Ellis. “I felt that it was the right thing to do for clients—one less change they had to worry about.”
In 2009, Merrill Lynch was acquired by Bank of America and successfully merged October 2018. At that time, several other companies were being consolidated and people began to become concerned, Ellis added, but in 2014 the right time presented itself and Ellis set forth on a new journey of entrepreneurialism.
Ellis worked with a company named Myriad Advisor Solutions, a company that assists financial advisors start their company, who assisted him with the paperwork, furniture purchasing, and obtaining the proper licenses to open shop.
“It was really exciting. For those ever thinking about building their own house, and they look at land, and then they look at plans, and design the house. For those who are excited about that, I can relate,” said Ellis.
Initially, Ellis had his heart set on opening his firm in Bellevue, which at that time was charging around $135 per square foot. However, while driving through his beautiful home city of Mukilteo, he stumbled upon a vacant building that had a much more competitive rate.
He looked at the property, negotiated, and, with the assistance of his wife, opened a “beautiful office” in 2014.
At the time he got the keys Ellis was undergoing shoulder surgery, so moving the furniture was difficult, he said. Despite the challenges, it was an exciting time for Ellis and his family, bringing his children into his office for the first time and telling them, “I want you to know we’re building this business, and we’re building it for you.”
“I think that’s so powerful when a family steps into that entrepreneurial world and their kids get to see that other side of life,” said Ellis. “America wasn’t just built on jobs, it was built on entrepreneurialism, creativity, hard work, collaboration, and you’re tilling your land for you and your family. Out of that bounty you can help others as well but your interest is your family unit.”
Ellis’ kids are now 19 and 15, respectively. At one point they expressed interest in working for their father but have since pursued other interests, Ellis said. When Ellis’ daughter was younger and they had just opened their family business, his daughter even wrote her own resume saying, “Dad, these are things that I can do.”
Ellis’ “style of clients” are people that “take charge and stay in charge,” he said, typically assisting executives, business owners and professional athletes. In the early years, building a clientele basis was simple, he said, having built a reputation and rapport with his clients at Merrill Lynch.
“My clients and I generally have great relationships and many of those relationships last a long time,” said Ellis.
Recently, Ellis was recognized by Financial Services Review as one of the area’s top 10 wealth management companies in 2022. He has also been named America’s Most Honored Professionals – Top 10% in 2014 and 2015, was included in Seattle Magazine Best Wealth Managers list in 2016, and nominated for the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Forty Under Forty in 2003.
Other accolades include, but are not limited to, being named a Merrill Lynch SuperStar in 2001 and 2002, Merrill Lynch President’s Club 2001 and 2002, Merrill Lynch Financial Planning Champion Award in 2000, and Bank of America National Account Executive Champion in 1998.
“It’s always an honor [to have recognition],” said Ellis. “It’s nothing I strive to see – if I can get this award or that award – it just happens organically doing what you do, day in and day out.”
Ellis’ advice for anyone thinking of starting their own business is to first reach out to their local Chamber of Commerce and interface with local business owners. Secondly, he added, work on cultivating your idea and ensuring it’s what your community needs, and is the best you can do.
“If you’re going to lead, or draw leaders, or make leaders. It starts with teaching and coaching,” said Ellis who added a quote by Malcolm X: “There’s no dignity in riding in the front of the bus or the back of the bus. The dignity is when you own the bus.”
In addition to running Ellis Wealth Managment and being a “family man,” Ellis hosts a public podcast, EWM Insights, that discusses the value of “Human Capital” on how individuals add value to each other’s lives. The podcast is available for download on Spotify, Google Play, and iTunes. He also produces a second private podcast exclusively for his clients.
Ellis has called Mukilteo home for the last sixteen years, growing up in Seattle and briefly living in Kirkland until he had his first child. He also enjoys golfing, target sports (like archery), and sports. He and his wife will celebrate 21 years of marriage this year. Family is the most important to Ellis, he said, “period, end of story.”
“As a parent you’re always a parent and you’re always leading the way. Family is your legacy. You can’t take anything else with you. Community is important second only to your family,” said Ellis.
Ellis Wealth Management is headquartered in beautiful Mukilteo, Washington – 25 miles north of Seattle and Bellevue, and about 6 miles southwest of Downtown Everett. Through Ellis’ proprietary process, “The Essential Experience” he encircles are the needs of his clients, creates and maintain efficiency, and simplifies lives.