Biography, Credentials, and Memberships


Drake and his wife, Jan, live on 36 acres close to Bloomington, Illinois. There Drake enjoys nature, writes and keeps bees.

Drake is a financial advisor and teacher/professor with background both deep and diverse. Drake is fluent in some languages, including German and Spanish. His first degrees were in German, giving him the operating metaphor of being a translator. Everyone speaks different dialects, often whole different languages. Law, investments, taxes all are linguistically similar, related by finance grounded in math, yet few speak all three dialects. We all need translators.

Who translates the translators? Beyond law, tax, money, who speaks human? Money, investments, tax are one thing, but who can connect the dots between people and their stuff? In ways that you can understand? Drake’s most useful ‘training’ may be growing up in Iowa where you have to talk with everyone and doing social work – emergency poor relief - before law school.

Law school taught him legalese. Training for Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Analyst, and Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy taught him other ‘languages’. Teaching Investments and Business Law at Illinois Wesleyan honed the ability to explain, to translate complex topics into words, ideas, pictures that individuals ‘get’. Coach Certifications taught listening - an ongoing effort for us all! Is listening the most important of the technical skills? Sure, someone may be a brilliant investor or tax attorney, but can he listen to the client? Understand what the client is saying, what she wants?

Thirty-plus years of active financial planning and money management continue to polish Drake’s insights in how “‘we humans’ think, speak, learn, understand ourselves, and function. Who can explain how our aspects of our lives relate to our finances?” Speaking clear, intelligible English isn’t something you put on a resume, but might ought to, eh? .Translating thoughts, wishes, and quirks of families into practical decisions is another level of complexity that some people can make clear, if not outright simple.

Yes, financial advising is supposed to be about ‘stuff,’ but it really is about people. About what we want. For ourselves. Now. Later. Beyond that. Eventually for our heirs, too.  

When you’ve taken care of your stuff,
how about you?

What do you want to do
with the next few (dozen) years?

Financial advising may be where we all need clear communication the most. Why? “Family wealth counseling” is perhaps the most personal, intimate, and potentially productive interaction of our lives. Do something one way saves money on taxes, or reduces risk, but who knows what is right for you and your situation? Good planning like we all want may take someone like Drake who has formal training in multiple disciplines AND can translate among them. And then speak English the rest of us can understand.

How open are you in talking with your attorney? Your accountant? Assume your accountant or attorney can get you to open up on your deepest and most important concerns? How full and rich is your conversation when you can see and hear the fee clock tick, tick, ticking away at $250/hour? (Wow, you mean I am paying that professional $4 a minute?!) Yet, how well can your advisor plan for you without knowing about those personal issues in pretty fair depth? No wonder the satisfaction levels of typical planning are so low. No wonder many (most?) of people’s plans never get fully executed.

“Money, stuff gets easier to organize when you have some idea of what you want.” 

Simple questions such as: ‘What do you want?’ can have clients give simple, bullet point action points. Most humans are not that clear. The discussions take clients to uncharted -and useful- territory when they get overlaid with personal discussions on your stuff, your family, your eventual heirs and what you want?

Drake is fond of saying, joking, but seriously: “You’re gonna die!” 
Then adding in a calm voice: Now that the scary stuff is over, let’s talk. What do what you want?  Stuff’s easy. We can start where you want. Stuff’s easy. First the stuff, What do you have? Who do you want to get your stuff?  (Is that what your docs, your beneficiary statements say? Really?!  You could be the first for that to be true!) Following on: How well prepared are your heirs for getting it are they?  When there are opportunities to save money, to build wealth, to protect money, are you taking advantage of those opportunities? 


  • BA Simpson College (summa cum laude – in 3 years)
  • Masters in German, Middlebury College
  • Law Degree from University of Iowa; Admitted to bar, 1981
  • Certified Financial Planner 1986
  • Chartered Financial Analyst 1988
  • Family Wealth Counselor 2001
  • Fellow, Masters Program for Multidisciplinary Practice in Wealth Transfer 2003
  • Certified Coach through ITS London 2003
  • Advanced Estate Planner 2003
  • Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy 2003, (the first person ever to take and pass the CAP exam!)

Drake organized, ran and taught intensive review courses for all levels of CAP 2003-2013 until technology cloned the materials.

Many Rotary and Community Awards. The biggest is least known: AMP’s Global Top Award of Alliance for Malaria Prevention, Geneva 2013, for lifetime contributions to malaria control (helped design, create & implement multilateral efforts reducing malaria over 50% 2002-2013).


  • International Association of Advisors in Philanthropy merged groups of NAAP (National Association of Advisors in Philanthropy) and NAFWC (National Association of Family Wealth Counselors)
  • National Committee on Planned Giving, Central Illinois Planned Giving Council
  • Financial Planners Association
  • Chartered Financial Analysts Chicago Society
  • Central Illinois Estate Planning Council
  • Founding Vice Chair, Rotarians Eliminating Malaria, Rotarians Action Group
  • Special Envoy – Partnerships, The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, Evanston, Illinois
  • Friends of Kickapoo Creek (lifetime, co-founder)
  • Friends of Constitution Trail (lifetime)
  • Prairie Rivers Network
  • John Wesley Powell Audubon Society
  • Parklands Foundation
  • Rotary Club of Normal, Illinois, Past President


Site Map | Contact Drake | Copyright © Drake Zimmerman (updated April 24, 2019)

Check the background of this investment professional on FINRA’s BrokerCheck

Securities offered through First Allied Securities, Inc. A Registered Broker/Dealer. Member FINRA/SiPC. Advisory services offered through First Allied Advisory Services, Inc. and Zimmerman and Armstrong Inv. Advisors. Both Registered Investment Advisers. Zimmerman and Armstrong Inv. Advisors is not affiliated with First Allied Securities, Inc. and/or First Allied Advisory Services, Inc.

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