Bob Hurley of West Caldwell is one of the region's most respected independent financial advisors, known for his common-sense approach and remarkably long-term relationships with clients. Indeed, in a field with its share of fast-talking brokers and salesmen, Hurley is something quite the opposite - stable and low-key, no-nonsense and personally and habitually focused on the well-being of his clients. "Bob's about as no-BS a guy as there is in our business," says a peer who has known the 66-year-old Jersey City native for two decades. "And that's what people like about him." Hurley's independent financial-advisory practice has been a fixture in Essex County and West Caldwell for more than 20 years, and he has a diverse group of clients that includes business owners and professionals as well as single parents and retirees. His family ran successful Jersey City-based Hurley's Dairy through the 1950s, until his grandfather sold the enterprise and his family moved to Ocean County, where he grew up.
Outgoing but naturally independent ("I was never into cliques"), Hurley excelled in sports at Central Regional High School, playing football and basketball; he went on to Montclair State with plans to become a teacher. Right out of college Hurley joined the West Orange School System, where he coached and for nearly a decade taught physical education ("We were one of the first districts to include sex education in the curriculum, and I found myself one of the first teachers of the subject"). Still, by his early 30s "I was eager to test myself" and he joined a large financial-services firm. Within a year, "I knew the impersonal world of corporate bureaucracy and corporate double-talk wasn't for me." A chance meeting with longtime Caldwell financial advisor John B. Monahan led to a unique opportunity: Hurley joined Monahan, one of the state's original CFPs, in an independent practice ("He was truly one of the greatest mentors I ever had") and they worked together for more than 12 years. "I was fortunate to team up with John, who worked directly with individuals, rather than corporate committees and departments."
By the mid-90s Hurley was among the few financial advisors who served as president of both the regional chapters of International Association for Financial Planning and the Institute of Certified Financial Planners (the entities have since merged to become the Financial Planning Association). For more than 20 years Hurley has operated RG Hurley & Associates; his Bloomfield Avenue office is a convenient meeting spot for his many clients. Ever the educator, Hurley today is persistent in getting face-to-face with his clients. "No one cuts class," he says, only half jokingly. Further, Hurley insists on proper planning and discipline - "I can't be anyone's navigator without charting an intelligent course. That course may change, but we start with a plan. And it's not about beating market indexes - it's about the life you want to lead." Hurley's wife Elizabeth - friends and clients know her as Libby - plays a key role as well, along with administrator Linda Belusko. The Hurleys today enjoy their role as grandparents. They are longtime residents of the Caldwells.