It seems that, for as long as I can remember, I have been searching for the best way to help myself and others lead successful, meaning-driven lives. Recently, I opened my high school yearbook and read the Kahlil Gibran quote that sits under my picture: You create the quality of your own experience. This feels as applicable today as it did then. I believe that we are all responsible for the quality of our world, individually and collectively. Before graduating high school, my dad gave me the books, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peal, and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I was lucky to find such motivation and inspiration at a young age, yet I still wondered what more was possible. So I continued my personal studies, exploring significant figures such as Emerson, Abraham Joshua Herschel, J. Krishnamurti, and others. Then, in my freshman year of college, I had the good fortune to learn meditation. I became a student of ChÃ¶gyam Trungpa, a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master. I also became a student of Jewish spirituality and Kabbalah. This world of insight developed alongside my material life at Rutgers, where I majored in Economics. After graduating, I attended business school at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In 1984, I graduated with an MBA in Finance, and was fortunate to be hired by Morgan Stanley to became one of the first five home-grown investment advisors. For the next thirty years, I was challenged by all the market ups and downs. I grew immensely, and it was not a straight line for me. Happily, I ended up becoming a director, led a large successful team and, for a four- year stint, became the leading advisor at the merchant bank, Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette. Given the diverse interests in my life, I always wondered: How could all of this be aligned? How could my interests in finance, spirituality, psychology and personal development all come together? I also thought that others must surely wonder the same thing about their own lives. Part of the answer to this question came at age forty when I learned about Integral Theory. Summarizing hundreds of studies from Maslow to Jung to Gebser, Integral Theory provided me a map; a very powerful, transformative, and tangible tool for development. Growth, I realized, seems so much easier when one has a researched map of what may lie ahead. Around that time, the investment model that I used, which was developed by Chicago professor, Eugene Fama, won him the Nobel Prize for Finance. This confirmed that the model I was using historically provided premium returns over time, and would indeed add value to my clients? lives. At that same time, though, I was also beginning to experience a growing feeling that both my industry and I were stuck, and adding little value to the world at large. After some deep thinking about the philosophies I had studied, I had a glimpse of a better way forward. Compelled by a larger holistic vision of what wealth truly meant and what I believed was a better investment model, in 2013 I created Aligned Wealth, a unique wealth management company that also helps clients bring greater balance to their lives. In 2016, I opened The Aligned Center as a place where the entire community could come to explore what we call the four dimensions of wealth. We are consistently in the process of realizing our full vision, and I believe that the best is yet to come. I truly look forward to meeting everyone who walks through our doors. – Matt Ludmer
President and Founder, The Aligned Center & Aligned Wealth, Former Director, 30-year professional at Morgan Stanley.