Insuring your future

David W. Ashley has spent 22 years helping people meet their insurance goals in Gainesville

Published: Monday, January 5, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 4, 2004 at 11:05 p.m.
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David W. Ashley is president of the Gainesville Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

LARA NEEL/The Gainesville Sun



  • PERSONAL: Married, two children
  • CAR HE DRIVES: Mercedes E320
  • LAST BOOK READ: "Choosing Between Scylla and Charybdis, Severance Pay Section 419 Plans" by William B. Lynch, JD
  • LAST MOVIE SEEN: "Cheaper By The Dozen"
  • BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: "Honesty is always the best policy," from his mother
  • HIS GUIDING LIGHT: What goes around comes around. If you do the right thing, the right thing will happen.

  • David W. Ashley firmly believes that everyone needs to develop a financial plan, and he's spent the last 22 years helping clients do just that.
    "I help them accumulate and distribute assets, and reduce taxes on those assets as much as possible," said Ashley, an agent for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Gainesville, and current president of the Gainesville Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.
    "Someone who has a modest income and lifestyle needs just as much to have a plan for their future as someone with very complicated or sophisticated needs," Ashley said.
    He used the example of how simply having a will can impact the distribution of a person's assets.
    "If a person died without a will, whether they made $20,000 or $200,000, there would be a problem dealing with their property," he said. "The state has a will for everybody, but it's probably not what everybody wants."
    Ashley has been with Northwestern for the past 12 years, following 10 years with Massachusetts Mutual. He mostly works with business owners - helping them accomplish financial goals and meet their employee benefit goals.
    The 50-year-old Miami native came to Gainesville in 1974 to attend the University of Florida, and ended up staying here.
    "I found that it was too attractive a place to leave, so I made it home," he said.
    At UF, Ashley's studies were weighted toward both political science and accounting, and he graduated with a bachelor's in political science.
    "When I was 18-22 years of age, there were quite a number of political interests. We had the '60s and the evolution that society went through. There was the question of ethics in the early '70s with Watergate and what have you," he said. "From a financial aspect, we had the real move toward multi-national corporations."
    Although Ashley chose a career in finances, his initial goal was to attend law school.
    "I wanted to study international law, which is where the politics and accounting came in," Ashley said. But he became friends with a man who encouraged him over a period of about a year to look at the life insurance business.
    "As I finally relented and got involved in the business, I dealt with all the law that I cared to on an annual basis," he said. "One of the biggest challenges that I have is to keep up with the ever-changing requirements in Washington."
    His studies in accounting and political science have stood him in good stead. His 22 years in his profession, along with his years of expertise led to his being chosen to lead the Gainesville Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. The local group of 98 members is a chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, which also has a state affiliate.
    "I'm very honored to have been elected president for the 2003-2004 term," he said. "The association has been here a long time and it has an incredible history of professional people who have been helping their clients define their goals, accomplish their goals, and preserve their goals for years. I'm honored to be president because I follow in those footsteps in perpetuating the representation of our profession."
    The Gainesville group along with the state and national associations have been involved politically on a state and national level, he said.
    "In these tight budgetary times that we've been in both at the state level and national level, folks are looking for a means of raising revenue. Tallahassee looked at putting sales tax on insurance products," he said. "That was not a good level of taxation for consumers, so our industry helped to make those points known, protecting the benefits afforded through insurance contracts."
    Howard M. Rosenblatt, a Gainesville lawyer and financial professional, has served with Ashley on GAIFA's board on a number of occasions.
    "He's been involved for years and I think he's very dedicated and committed to the advancement of financial planning and proper utilization of financial products that serve people's needs," Rosenblatt said.
    During his career Ashley has completed a variety of advanced planning courses, has picked up several awards and honors that include becoming a member of the industry's Million-Dollar Round Table. He also is currently enrolled in chartered financial consultant program of The American College.
    And though much of his time is taken up by his work, involvement with the association, and his wife and two children, he does find time to enjoy a favorite hobby - flying his single-engine Cherokee 180, a four-seater. His private pilot's license is put to use frequently as he mixes pleasure with business by flying his plane to meetings with clients both instate and out-of-state.
    But his busy life has forced him to give up, for now, another activity that he enjoys - water-skiing, which he did competitively in UF's intramural sports program and later in American Water Ski Association tournaments.
    He said he used to ski with a client in Melrose, where he lived for a number of years, but that after moving to Gainesville he found he had little time for the sport, although he still has his place on the lake there.
    "I bought a boat three years ago with the idea that I would get back into it. The boat sat in my driveway in Gainesville and didn't get put in the water once, so I sold it," he said, with a laugh.
    Ashley's involvement with local group also is active in community service projects, including the annual March of Dimes Walkathon, the WUFT-TV Channel 5 fund-raisers, and most recently in providing Thanksgiving baskets for some of the area's low-income families.
    "I think this association helps focus the community's attention on the professionals in our business, and one of my personal goals for this association is to perpetuate that community awareness," Ashley said.
    Doris Chandler can be reached at (352) 374-5094.

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