Movers & Shakers: David Casper, Northwestern Mutual

  • Article by: TODD NELSON , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 26, 2014 - 1:12 PM

A look at the people behind the numbers in area business.

David Casper, Northwestern Mutual

Title: Financial representative

Age: 61


David Casper, who earned a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a tight end for the Oakland Raiders, is continuing his second career — as a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual — in the Twin Cities.

He and wife Susan Casper last year moved to Cottage Grove from Northern California, where he had led a Northwestern Mutual office for a decade.

They were eager to return to the Twin Cities metro area, where he began working with Northwestern Mutual in 1990 and where one of their two daughters, their three grandchildren and Susan’s mother live.

Casper’s 11-year pro career, which ended in 1984, included time with the Houston Oilers and Minnesota Vikings and a return to the Raiders when they played in Los Angeles. Casper, nicknamed the Ghost, took part in two unforgettable plays that have their own nicknames, “Ghost to the Post” and the “Holy Roller.”

His aptitude for math helped him earn an economics degree from Notre Dame, where he played on the 1973 national championship team, and has propelled his financial services career.

“Very few people have more money than they can spend,” Casper said. “So they need to go through some principles of model-building and allocation of assets, and that’s what we do.”

Casper’s move reunites him with the Minneapolis-based Columns Resource Group and his longtime associate, managing partner Mark Heurung. Casper is based at the group’s Lake Elmo office, working with managing director Jeffrey Manderfeld.


Q: What’s your approach to financial planning?

A: The key is [that] planning is a process and not a product. It helps you discover where you are, where you want to go and then you coordinate products that get you there. But the two most important things are action and good products.

Q: What has appealed to you about Northwestern Mutual?

A: Everybody compared themselves to Northwestern Mutual then, and they’re still doing it today. As a mutual insurance company, they’re a nonprofit. They put their money in four products only: life, disability, annuity and long-term care. They have excellent products that have low expenses and long-term value, and we can go outside the company to get other products. That’s what attracted me to Northwestern Mutual.

Q: Your advice: Save or spend?

A: If you start to save at a reasonable age you still need to save usually at least 20 percent of your income. The obstacle to saving is spending. We live to spend and don’t really want to save. At the same time, our economy needs spending, even frivolous spending. The key is to build a savings plan that saves enough, and then spend the rest.


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