American Way I'm beginning to see you not as a financial-services guru but as a stump preacher.

Schwab I'm sure there's a lot of that in me. You know, that is what this is all about, passion about what you do every day. Go to any Schwab employee and ask, "What do you like about working here?" My guess is you will hear, "I feel good because we are treating customers right." Probably you'd find a person or two who is off the wall [laughs], but with 16,000 employees, I believe you'd hear a consistent answer. Our employees feel good about what they do in terms of the customer experience, and that counts for a lot. If you are unhappy about the work you do, you won't feel good about it. It doesn't feel good to rip people off.
Financial Commandments
Want tips about which stocks to buy? Don't ask Chuck Schwab. He's never been a big fan of financial tips - but that's not to say he has no advice to offer.

Schwab in fact is downright evangelical about our need to do two things, pronto: Take responsibility for developing enough expertise to make ourselves savvy investors, and, secondly, talk about finances in intimate detail with our families.

Horrors? You bet. Few of us ever sit down, even with our spouses, to go over income, expenses, financial goals, and savings strategies. The result in many families is simmering conflict, and sometimes, big, unhappy surprises when goals aren't met. That's why Schwab, along with his daughter, Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, has written It Pays To Talk, a book designed to stimulate productive financial conversations.

Particularly rich are the tidbits that appear throughout the book under the header "Chuck's Two Cents," where Schwab hammers home one message: We choose our own futures with the investment strategies we adopt today. And the best strategies, Schwab says, are those worked out by family members who have talked openly.

The good news: Getting started isn't any harder than opening your mouth. Just say to your spouse, "Let's talk about finances. How about tonight?"