Edward Perrone is one of New Jersey’s renowned independent financial advisors, whose upbeat nature and forthright dedication to his clients has earned him widespread respect. Perrone’s own life story – of perseverance in the face of remarkable challenges – in many respects reflects a depth of character not unlike his clients, many of them determined and self-made. With a humble, down-to-earth style, and an excellent listener, Perrone has been a professional fixture of Metuchen and neighboring towns since 1976, when he launched his independent firm, Eagle Plans Inc. Perrone grew up in upstate New York east of Buffalo (“If it wasn’t the middle of nowhere it was close to it”), relocating as a teen-ager with his mother and sister to Long Island. (“It was a huge change at that age, but you take what life gives you.”) After college and at the height of the Vietnam War, Perrone enlisted in the Army and became an Army food inspector; for more than three years he worked on-site at meat-packing plants in the Midwest. Later, after returning to New Jersey and working at Lever Brothers Research, in 1969 he made a bold career move: He joined Aetna in its highly regarded training program. (“Much of it involved learning to sell, but it was as much about perseverance and commitment. That was a natural thing for me.”) Seven years later, with the steadfast support of his wife Anita, Perrone launched his own financial advisory practice – “It was important to me that I be independent – I knew I could serve my clients better that way.” His Main Street firm has catered to a range of individuals and small businesses – professionals, executives, and experienced workers from the many manufacturing plants and major corporations in the area. Over the years, as manufacturing declined and corporations downsized, Perrone helped his clients with a familiar challenge: “All of a sudden many of my clients faced early retirement, and the questions were the same. ‘What do I do now?’ ‘Can I afford to retire?’”
Over the years Perrone’s clients grew more varied: Physicians with private practices and small business owners, among others. In 1999, Perrone suffered a great personal loss, the sudden passing of his wife of a stroke. “I had to be there for my children, and for my clients. And it turned out that my clients were there for me as well. It is amazing how people’s help and caring gives you strength.” Perrone had always been committed to community service and charitable work, but such activities “only grew more important to me.” Today he serves on the Planned Giving Committee of nearby JFK Hospital, as well as on the Boy Scout Council and the board of the Metuchen YMCA. Five years ago, through a fellow financial advisor, he met Nancy Deigan of Ridgewood; they married, and live in Bergen County. Now in his mid 60s, Perrone keeps a high-energy pace; he continues his love of Alpine skiing and fly fishing. And his firm seems likely to prosper for some time to come: His son David, a graduate of Bentley College, has joined him.