Ted Erhart is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in finance from Saint Cloud State University, he began his career in the fall of 2007 with a national financial services firm. After gaining a few years of experience, in 2010 he transitioned to a local independent financial advisory firm where he played a key role as chief investment officer. In February 2023, he launched Norris Lake Retirement Planning.
My wife Kelly and I live on a 35-acre horse farm in Nowthen, MN with our two daughters. Kelly and I both come from farming heritage so we’re not afraid to get our hands dirty outside of our day jobs. The horse passion is Kelly’s. I like to joke that I’m just the farmhand. But I genuinely enjoy working around our property – including tractor work, maintaining equipment and cutting firewood.
We also cut about 10 acres of hay in the summer for Kelly’s horses. I love to read about a wide range of topics, particularly history, investing, business, world affairs and psychology. As someone who grew up in the Minnesota outdoors, one thing I’m passionate about is conservation. In addition to Warren Buffett, my personal heroes are George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.
I got interested in personal finance and investing immediately after high school. My dad gave me the book “Learn to Earn” by legendary investor Peter Lynch. This book turned out to be pivotal for two key reasons. First, it engrained the idea in my mind that by using research, knowledge and discipline, you can make better decisions about money to get ahead in life. Second, the book introduced me to arguably the greatest investor in history, Warren Buffett.
Buffett’s investment approach deeply resonated with me. For an extended period, I couldn’t absorb enough information about him or his company, Berkshire Hathaway. I became a shareholder and attended the annual meeting for ten straight years beginning my senior year of college.
Beyond being a great investor, what captivated me about Buffett was that he behaved highly ethically. As a young adult, seeing such a successful person consistently not only talking about principles, but living them, had a profound influence on me.
As my college days were coming to a close, I wrote an old-fashioned letter to Buffett asking where I should go to work if I wanted to get into the investing industry but stay in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. He actually wrote me back! Although he had, “No ideas re the Twin Cities,” he wished me luck:
Ultimately when it was time to choose a profession, the influences of Peter Lynch and Warren Buffett were key. The idea of using research and discipline to make good decisions about money really appealed to me. So too did working with people in a fair and honest manner. If I could marry those two and make a decent living, it seemed like a win for all. As they say, the rest is history as I launched my career in the financial advice business just as the 2008 global financial crisis was about to unfold.