Deborah F. Graver, CFP®, CLU®, AIF®
Principal & Senior Advisor
Debbie joined Signature Financial as a partner in the firm and senior advisor in February 2015. With over two decades of experience in financial planning and investment management, Debbie specializes in advanced planning strategies that help high net worth investors achieve financial security throughout their lifetime and to leave a legacy.
Debbie works with independent women, corporate executives, business owners, professionals and other investors with complex planning needs who value the clarity a trusted advisor can provide through all life events and market cycles. Over the past 25 years she has helped hundreds of clients achieve their financial goals with customized financial planning and proven wealth management strategies. She offers advice, guidance and investment solutions with a duty of loyalty and care, and finds it personally rewarding to share in her client’s success stories.
Debbie is a Certified Financial Planner® professional, Accredited Investment Fiduciary®, and a Chartered Life Underwriter®. She holds an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and a B.S. in Finance from the Pennsylvania State University. She is also fully licensed as a Registered Rep of Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS) and Investment Advisor Rep of Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS).
She is an active community volunteer and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Jewish Community Center of Pittsburgh.
Debbie and her husband, Matt, live in Squirrel Hill with their two daughter, Shoshana and Aviva.
A chat with Deborah
What made you want a career as a financial advisor?
I like to help people and I like to work with numbers. I realized early in life that I wasn’t afraid of making tough financial decisions and that many people are. Helping clients envision and realize their financial life goals is something I find personally gratifying. I enjoy coming to work every day to help others fulfill their dreams of financial freedom. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t still be doing it after 25 years.
What do you like best about being a part of the signature financial family?
It really is a family. I joined Signature in 2015 and it immediately felt like home. Everyone here is focused on the success of our clients not just because that’s the business we’re in, but because that’s who we are. As co-workers, we work together and play together and share in each other’s lives. As a family, together we genuinely care about each and every client and helping them achieve financial peace of mind. We couldn’t exist as a business and wouldn’t want to without each other.
How do you want your clients to view their wealth?
I believe there is a healthy way and an unhealthy way to view wealth. I want my clients to have a healthy perspective on their wealth. My grandmother used to say that money should be used as a tool, not a club. I have learned over time that money in and of itself doesn’t solve any problems or create happiness. In fact, sometimes it does quite the opposite. The most healthy way to view wealth is simply as a means to an end – a tool to help achieve your goals in life. When properly managed, wealth is something that allows you the freedom to live life to the fullest, help others in need, and act responsibly to help make this world a better place.
On a professional level, what are your biggest accomplishments?
I was proud to be acknowledged by the Pittsburgh Business Times as one of the top 25 Women in Business in 2013. I shared the stage with 24 other highly respected and accomplished professionals in the Pittsburgh Region. I was nominated by the top executives in my previous company, and accepted the award while I was six months pregnant with my second child. (On a personal level, my biggest accomplishments are my two beautiful and witty children.) It was truly an honor to be honored by those with whom I worked for over 20 years.
What do you love to do outside of work?
I love to travel to beautiful places and see beautiful things. I love to walk on the beach, hike in the mountains, and visit foreign countries. There is so much to see and learn in the world, and we limit ourselves when we remove the sense of adventure from our lives. When I was seven years old, my mother and her best friend, Betsy, planned a six week cross country trip with my two siblings and Betsy’s three children. Two mothers and six children travelled in a wood paneled station wagon to see some of our nation’s treasures – from the St. Louis arch to Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, and Wall Drug (if you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about). Although I may not have known it at the time, that one summer trip gave me great appreciation for this beautiful country of ours, and the confidence to get outside of my comfort zone and experience new things. As an adult I continue to explore new places and enjoy new things whether I’m travelling for business or for pleasure.
What are you passionate about in your personal life?
I am an avid volunteer. I am passionate about donating my time, energy (and yes, money) to help those less fortunate. And I work tirelessly to teach my children to do the same. I have travelled internationally to help the most vulnerable population in the former Soviet Union and participated in food drives locally to ensure no one goes hungry in my own community. My husband and I have volunteered through Habitat for Humanity to build low income housing and through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh to help patients at the Veteran’s Affairs long-term care facility attend Christmas Mass. There is nothing more fulfilling to me than helping those less fortunate and help make the world a better place for us all.
What is your most memorable travel experience?
In 1990 I spent a semester studying abroad, at Tel Aviv University. The program was structured with four days of classroom study followed by a three day weekend to explore the region. The world was truly my classroom that semester. One weekend, I joined a group of students and went rock repelling in the Judean Desert. It was both the most frightening and exhilarating experience of my life.
The Judean Desert is bordered by the Mountains of Judea to the west and by the Dead Sea to the East. It is considered a relatively small desert, but it contains many fascinating nature reserves, historic sites, monasteries and primeval panoramas that make it an exciting and unique place to visit. The Judean desert is full of breathtaking views that are constantly changing. Mountains, cliffs, and chalk hills stand alongside plateaus, riverbeds, and deep canyons. The width and breadth of the desert is crossed by several rivers that have created canyons up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) deep.
Rappelling down some of these canyons I felt like I was walking through time, and to some extent I was. It’s something I will never forget.