I was born the eighth of nine children on 7/17/70 (my lottery numbers would be 7 if I played) to John and Kate Savage in Holland, Ohio located in the Northwest part of the Buckeye state on Lake Erie, just outside of Toledo. As you might expect, I wore mostly hand-me-downs and never had preferred seating in the car, dinner table (sat at an annex at many family events), or family room.
I was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family, where discipline and hard work was the foundation of an incredibly happy childhood in which adventure, freedom and independence won the day. The hours in between my chores and dinner and bed were spent on adventure and neighborhood baseball, football, basketball with friends and others from the surrounding neighborhoods (organized sports did not dominate our day and we were outside almost all of the time-you remember those days). As was typical for the era and our neck of the woods, I feared my father more than any other human being. If I upset my mom I may as well have committed a capital crime as the punishment was harsh–my dad was the judge, the jury and executioner. (There is no ambiguity in that statement) Another one of his favorite warning lines was that with nine kids at any point he would be OK if the family had to function with one less child. And of course, the worst line I could hear from my mom is go to your room and your dad will deal with you when he gets home from work (I prayed in those moments my dad had a really good day at work). I loved my parents dearly and they me, and I learned early on that discipline is a difficult, but very high form of love.
My parents’ lives revolved around family. Their life’s work and greatest legacy was teaching us how to grow up and have a loving relationship with God, to work hard, to do good in the community and have family at the center of it all. As a Catholic, I grew up in a house in which we were taught that no religion corners the market on God. We were taught respect and tolerance for all religions, races, and creeds. The bottom line was to live a good life and that if you screw up, take responsibility for it and move on and improve.
My parents worked so hard every day and expected the same of us. A favorite line in our house growing up was “work half days:12 hours” My brothers, sisters and I were put to work, peddling the fruits and vegetables we grew in our one acre garden and mowing the neighborhood lawns.. My older siblings were great role models on many fronts, but as a younger brother I was exposed to more than I should have been early in life. However, that exposure brought about a maturity and understanding that helped me avoid many teenage pitfalls. And the fruit peddling and lawn care business transitioned to construction, factory, and retail work while in high school and college, motivating me to finish my business degree with high marks from Miami of Ohio’s College of Business.
I’ve always personally enjoyed building a financial future (Carolyn would argue at times obsessively) and so I decided that was the best way I could be of service to others. A financial services career fit me perfectly and I work at a firm my father founded, Savage and Associates.