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‘Reinvention is an essential career skill’: Delaware futurist Jim Lee

From his latest talk during Delaware Innovation Week, a look at how this corporate wealth manager turned into the state's top “financial futurist.”

Delaware futurist Jim Lee speaks at the Grand Opera House. (Photo by Christopher Wink)
Jim Lee has gotta at least be one of the more interesting investment advisors in town.

After an “unplanned career change” in March 2011, Lee didn’t know what was next. He had 20 years in corporate financial planning and was suddenly out on his own.
“Turns out there is no physiological difference between sheer panic and complete joy,” said Lee, tall, at times wide-eyed and always carrying himself with a soft-spoken politeness. “Reinvention is an essential career skill.”
A year and a half later he founded StratFI, or Strategic Foresight Investments, a boutique investment advisory form with a hell of a niche: Lee is a trained futurist. Why are you making financial planning decisions without looking at massive, longterm cultural trends? Understanding how societies are changing is crucial for truly longterm portfolio management, he said.
That’s helped him build a rather distinct niche, as perhaps “Delaware’s only financial futurist,” he said. He’s a frequent speaker and a popular one at that, from dazzling a few hundred at a Tech Forum event last year or Thursday night at his Cocktails and Trends event for Delaware Innovation Week presented by 1313 Innovation. At these and other events, he peers into what short-term, medium and longterm futures are coming, like, for example, the impact of the retirement of Baby Boomers for industries nationwide.
This approach isn’t a new one for him — he has a “Master of Science in Foresight” from the University of Houston. He makes for pretty fun cocktail conversation.
“The future can tell us a lot about today,” he said.

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