Nate McCay shares wealth of knowledge


In a word, Nate McCay is pragmatic. It’s fitting considering he once practiced law and has a firm standing in the finance world.

After studying mathematics at the University of Northern Iowa and law at Drake University, he practiced law in Iowa and Arizona. Though he’s been retired for many years, he remains interested in and active in equity investing, and he shares his wealth of knowledge with students at Torrey Pines High School, where every semester he teaches a few hours of personal finance to seniors.

He has served on the boards of Del Mar Toastmasters, the La Jolla Unit of the American Contract Bridge League, and the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. He currently serves on the Del Mar Design Review Board, and volunteers at Del Mar Community Connections as a bus host and board member.

What brought you to Del Mar?

We found a house we wanted to live in. I knew little about the town aside from the proximity to the ocean. Even now I don’t know if people in Del Mar are odd or whether it is much of Southern California.

What makes this town special to you?

For me any place is special because of the people. I like the beach, the track, the trees and crooked streets, but what I remember of every place I’ve lived is what I did with others.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

I would have a livelier, healthier business community with lots of people out enjoying it.

Who or what inspires you?

Every night I go to bed excited about waking up the next day.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

This brings to mind all sorts of well-known historical and living figures: Mark Twain, Aristotle, Alexander Hamilton, Ben Franklin and so forth. But I’d really like to talk to my mom and dad again. We were always close and talking to them provoked much laughter and plenty of thinking. So I’d invite them along with some others, who wouldn’t matter nearly so much to me.

Tell us about what you are currently reading.

I just finished a Herbert Quick trilogy: “Vandermark’s Folly,” “The Hawkeye,” and “The Invisible Woman.” All were written in the 1920s. Such a pleasure to read good writing — loved them. “The Partly Cloudy Patriot” was in there also, as a pleasant diversion. “Pillars of the Earth” and “World Without End” were fun this summer. Now, I’m part through “Legacy of Ashes,” a history of the CIA. I started, “The Mathematical Mechanic,” which is exciting for me, but wouldn’t be for many. A friend gave me a diary for the books I read. It’s the only diary I’ve ever been able to keep.

What is your most-prized possession?

A note my dad wrote me. Told me every thing I’ve needed to know in one sentence.

What do you do for fun?

Lots of uninteresting things. I’m blessed to be so easily fulfilled. I play competitive bridge, go to Del Mar Toastmasters, ride the DMCC bus, play guitar, watch racehorses run, collect coins, make money. Mostly I just like to talk to people and learn from them. People do a lot of very interesting things.

Please describe your greatest accomplishment.

I raised a child without telling her anything I didn’t believe myself. That doesn’t sound like much, but it isn’t easy, particularly for a skeptic. Telling fibs to children comes with a cost. I didn’t want to pay it.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

I think of myself as pragmatic. Is that a philosophy or does it negate the need for one? I try to be nice so people don’t hate me since it’s easy for me to be obnoxious.