Former WRAL-TV Anchor Featured in N&O
Charlie Gaddy is a retired WRAL-TV 5 employee who anchored the evening news for around 20 years. He shares some of his wisdom gained over the years with Carol Frey, a staff writer for the News and Observer Newspaper.
Story from the News and Observer Web Site: February 20, 2000
Money Talks: TV news icon’s financial anchor:
With Charlie Gaddy,
what you see
is what you get.
By Carol Frey,
News and Observer
Staff Photo by Jim Bounds
RALEIGH — With Charlie Gaddy, what you see is what you get. That’s what television viewers said they liked best about him during his two decades at the WRAL anchor desk, and to that sincerity, he owed his success. With all his deadlines met, Gaddy, 69, now is free to spend his days fishing in the six-acre pond below his roomy home near the Raleigh Beltline or doing volunteer work for his pet charities.
The good life he leads is partly the result of prudent money management, he said, and for that, he owes his wife, Nancy. It was Nancy with the business sense, Nancy with the line of credit.
Even though Gaddy was born in 1931 during the Great Depression, he grew up sheltered from its financial realities. His father worked for Carolina Power & Light as a substation superintendent, a job offering uncommon security for those days, and he never earned less than $100 a month. “But we could get by fine on that,” Gaddy said. “What I heard my mother say about that was that we always had a warm house and plenty of food.” She spoke of when her son would go to college, not if. “I didn’t know how,” he said. “I wasn’t any kind of athlete or a scholar.”
But his alma mater, Guilford College, would let students work in the dining halls in exchange for free meals, and when his bank account ran low, Gaddy took out college loans. Not long after he met Nancy, she started coaching him on how to pay those loans off.
Over tea one afternoon, the Gaddys shared some stories of how they built their nest egg together.
Q. You hear about college students graduating with huge debts. Did that happen to you?
A. It wasn’t a huge amount, but I did owe them money. … When I met Nancy, I still had that college debt. She came up in a family … well, her father was very good with money. He worked for Western Electric, and he never made a lot of money, but he knew how to save, how to invest and talked with Nancy a lot about handling money. So Nancy, she began to look at my finances and said, ‘Look, you’ve got to change some things here. You need to pay off the college debt and this and this.’ She really began to teach me about money and the things she had learned from her dad. I paid off the college loan, and I began to do a better job of handling what meager resources I had.
Q. What was your strategy for handling that money?
A. We couldn’t save much, but we were able to save some. … I made $65 or $70 a week. I didn’t make any money for a long time. One of the things that helped us both later on is the wonderful program that Capitol Broadcasting has: profit sharing. In the beginning, that didn’t seem like much. But after 10 years or so, it began to be like an inverted pyramid. It began to look nice, so that helped us get ahead. One of the strategies was to borrow money from her father at a great rate and pay it back. And we used that. … We borrowed enough money for a little patch of sand at the coast [Pine Knoll Shores]. We eventually sold that for a little profit … after 20 years. Another huge factor in my financial situation was that Nancy ran her own business and was very successful. For many years, she made more money than I did, and she worked part time. I don’t remember what year it was, but I remember it was a great victory when I was able to pass her.
Q. What sort of business was that?
A. We bought a business called Raleigh Junior Cotillion, which was a private school of dance and etiquette. Nancy was the teacher, the administrator, the chief cook and bottle washer… She did that for 26 years. Whatever success in finances that we’ve had she is a huge part of it.
Q. Were there sacrifices involved in your investment in the business?
A. We were able to work out an arrangement where, over a period of several years, the owners got a percentage of what her income was until it was paid off. We didn’t have to go into debt for it. They made it very easy for us.
Q. Besides the land and the business, did you all make any other investments?
A. It was only when Cotillion started [in 1966] that we had some optional money. We used everything we had to buy this house in 1980, and interest rates were high. We had to get a bridge loan. … I was really nervous about it. First of all, I didn’t think we’d qualify, so I felt pretty safe when we put in an offer. Sure enough, it was accepted. By this time, though, I began to get some nice increases in my profession. It got to be a little less scary financially.
Q. Did you make any investments in the stock market?
A. We didn’t have a solid plan, as we think we have today. … We bought some Cameron Brown. We bought some CP&L. None of it was Red Hat. I wish I’d put $50,000 in Red Hat the first day and then sold it 60 or 90 days later, but I didn’t know. It’s almost too good to be true.
Q. What went into your decision to hire a financial adviser?
A. We had accumulated some stocks and bonds, plus I was getting this lump sum from the profit-sharing plan with Capitol. We had to plan for my getting that lump sum of money, to have a strategy for that. … You can avoid the big tax hit legally if you do the rollovers, as they call them.
Q. Do your advisers do other work for you now that that has been resolved?
A. They keep an eye on the market. They buy and sell to your advantage, they say, and I think they do. The portfolio has grown. They didn’t set [a plan] in cement. When they see trends coming, they try to take advantage of them for us.
Q. What do you see coming down the road?
A. I don’t know what the future holds, but our lifestyle is good. I talked to the trustee of our estate, and we’re going to leave most of it to scholarships. Guilford and other places. I’m hopeful our legacy might be we’re helping some young people who might need some financial assistance.
Q. Do you have any advice for them?
A. Whatever financial rewards we have enjoyed are because Jim Goodmon [president and chief executive officer of Capitol Broadcasting] gave me a job for 25 years. … When young people ask me about work, I say, ‘Make yourself important to the company.’ Whatever the head of your company wants to do, you help them do that, and in that way, you will become more valuable to the company as time goes on. … I tried to help Jim Goodmon with every vision that he had, in my area. He did reward me.
News and Observer staff writer Carol Frye
can be reached at 829-8979 and firstname.lastname@example.org