I launched Sophos Wealth Management in Bellevue, Washington last year after moving home. Bellevue is a beautiful city with an amazingly vibrant local economy. I spent my first decade as an investment advisor in Boise, Idaho. I like to joke that Boise is on the top ten list of cities that love being on top ten lists. That got me thinking about some of my favorite reasons for being back home and launching my own investment advisory firm here in Bellevue. Note that a lot of this applies to the Greater Seattle area as a whole.
The Water and the Views
Bellevue means beautiful view in French and there’s no lack of scenery in the area. I love all the water we have in the region. Additionally the city skylines and nearby mountains create great backdrops. There’s no shortage of instagram worthy picture opportunities in the area
The greater Seattle area is loaded with great food options. From beloved holes in the wall to numerous James Beard winning chefs and restaurants, the area has a plethora of great choices to fit just about any palate or budget. I really enjoyed watching Seattle Chef Shota Nakajima compete on Top Chef last year. There are plenty more promising up and coming chefs like him in the area that foodies can explore.
Seattle has tons of outdoor opportunities within a reasonable drive. The area has just about anything you could ask for in outdoor activities: great hikes, golf, ski/snowboard options (Snoqualmie, Stevens Pass, Crystal), boating and water recreation, fly fishing, rod fishing, etc.
Vibrant Local Economy
According to the data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) the Seattle region is the 10th largest regional economy in the US. The Seattle region also had the 8th highest per capita income in the US in 2019. There’s no state income tax and I found the process of launching my own business to be a reasonable process without too much red tape.
The Seattle area is home to a booming tech sector, claiming companies such as Amazon and Microsoft. Meanwhile a number of other major corporations call the area home such as Boeing, Costco, Starbucks, Nordstroms, T Mobile, Alaska Airlines, and Weyerhaeuser.
Bellevue is known as having some of if not the best schools in the state. According to US News, Bellevue is home to 3 of the top 5 high schools in the state. Meanwhile the University of Washington sits just across Lake Washington as one of the best public universities in the country.
With the arrival of the Kraken, Seattle now has every major professional sport except for the NBA (a very sore point for locals. I still hold a grudge against Howard Schultz for selling the Sonics to Oklahoma businessmen who very obviously wanted to steal the team). While the Kraken seem to be having some growing pains adjusting to life as a new team in the NHL, the Sounders have been one of the most successful teams in MLS since launching.
The Seahawks 12th man gives us one of the best home field advantages in the NFL. It’s been a down year for the Hawks but with Carroll and Russell Wilson it may not take much to turn things around.
While my UW Huskies are going through a rough patch in football and men’s basketball, both have had some great moments in the not so distant past. Hopefully Kalen Deboer will have husky stadium rocking again soon!
It’s not all unicorns and rainbows. Traffic is a headache and will only get worse when life returns to normal for more people once the pandemic is over. Cost of living is also high in the area. While I think the amount of rainfall the area gets is overstated, it’s true that there are a lot of cloudy and overcast days.
All in all, I think this is a great area to raise a family and do business in. As a financial advisor in Bellevue I appreciate the diverse and strong economy and the opportunities to help people achieve financial success. As a father to two kids I appreciate all the parks, outdoor options, and great educational opportunities.
Scott Caufield, CFA, CPA