Published by Scott Ford, Managing Director, Partner
Everyone has a unique story that shaped them and brought them to where they are today. Sometimes people have significant events or influential people that played a role in their journey, others might have experienced foggy paths and twists and turns. Regardless of how your life has looked up to this point, your past plays a part in who you are today.
I did not wake up one morning as CEO of our firm Kingsport and our firm Hagerstown. Instead, my origin story is a mixture of taking one intentional step at a time and also letting life’s circumstances change me for the better. Here is my story of how I entered the financial industry and why I continue to do what I do every day with passion and excitement.
The Influence Of My Father
My father was a Baptist minister his whole life. He was completely dedicated to his calling and wanted to use his giftings to lead and benefit others. Unfortunately, his passion did not allow him to take a salary, so he started doing benefits and insurance planning to pay the bills.
My father was passionate about small business and entrepreneurship and used to say that small business was the backbone of our economy. This philosophy left such an indelible mark on me, I actually became a business owner myself and have never worked for anyone. Starting all the way back in middle school, I began performing magic shows at birthday parties and made good money. I continued this venture through high school, and when I graduated, I followed my father’s footsteps and joined the insurance industry, helping other small business owners with their insurance and benefits needs.
However, I started to see a problem. Both my father and the business owners I served worked independently, but that independence did not translate into freedom. All of these people were masters at their trade, they were carving their own path, but their lives were so tied up in their jobs that they could not invest their time and money into other areas of their life that were just as, if not more, important to them. The reason for this was because they didn’t understand finances and were not equipped to live their best life now. I saw firsthand how many people were overwhelmed by how complicated finances were, and I wanted to find a solution for them. Before I launched out to follow through on my passion and conviction, there was one specific event that taught me the importance of freedom to pursue what matters most.
Freedom To Live Your Best Life Now
My father taught me three critical life skills that led to my vision of freedom: the value of hard work, the importance of the things in life that money cannot buy and death cannot take away, and the beliefs you hold dear that are worth fighting for. Before I founded Cornerstone Wealth Management in 1996, my son was born with a heart defect. As they wheeled him into the operating room, I saw how fragile life is and realized that wealth is not just about money.
I made up my mind at that very moment that I needed to use my allotted time in life to make a difference in the world helping other people. Between that experience and my passion to make the complicated simple, I founded our firm Hagerstown (formerly Cornerstone Wealth Management Group) to be the go-to family office for business owners and families. My mission was to help entrepreneurs and business owners obtain financial freedom and clarity where uncertainty, confusion, and overwhelming circumstances can be debilitating.
My Six Pillars
More than 20 years later, my mission has not changed. Every day I ask myself, “How can I make finances simple? How can I help people find freedom?” My belief is that happiness in life and true freedom are found in maintaining balance between what I see as six major areas of focus, which I call the Pillars of Life:
If one area is out of balance, the other areas are likely to suffer as well. Freedom means having enough time, energy, and resources to put toward each of the six pillars.
I’ve found in the past that of all things people enjoy doing, handling their financial situation ranks close to the bottom. Everyone enjoys making the money, but most feel burdened by the decisions required to manage it properly. My desire is to alleviate this burden and allow individuals to focus on the areas of their lives that are really important to them and that bring them great joy. One of the ways I make this desire a reality is by partnering with others who hold fast to the same vision.
Partnering With Others
As I continued to grow Cornerstone Wealth Management, I met Ron Carson, founder of Carson Group, one of the largest wealth management firms in the country. Because Ron’s mission was similar to mine, I spent years learning from him and building a relationship with his firm.
When technology entered the financial landscape, I wanted to learn how to use it make my clients’ lives easier, not more complicated. Ron wanted to do the same thing, and in 2011, he launched Carson Group Partners with the goal of creating a community of advisors who would work together to solve issues faster and better. The mission of Carson Group Partners is to be the most trusted firm for financial advice and guidance, which is accomplished through straightforward fees, advice in a common language, and an effective game plan. I was the first advisor to become a partner in this community of advisors and I haven’t looked back.
We Can Make Your Life Easier
One common thread throughout my whole story is that simplifying finances can lead to freedom. At our firm Hagerstown and our firm Kingsport, we have helped thousands of families navigate complex financial needs, guiding them through many of life’s major decisions, and we can do the same for you in your position. If you are searching for freedom in your own life, book an appointment online, call me at (301) 739-8505, or email me at [email protected].
*Listing in this publication is not a guarantee of future investment success. This recognition should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor by any client.