My story begins as a young man at the age of 18. I graduated high school as so many do and immediately headed towards the west coast trying to leave behind the gray skies, cold temperatures, and all that I had become to know during my youth in Columbus Ohio. I journeyed in my red Chevy z24 crossing rivers and through mountains as I admired the landscape to which was quite different than anything I was used to seeing. My destination was Pheonix Arizona. It just had such a ring to it, vast deserts, hot temps and a new beginning to my unknown

I had chosen a path through Denver Colorado so that I could admire the great Rocky Mountains and vast valleys. As I entered Colorado, my car began to have problems. Being still relatively a kid, I had no idea what was happening. I began to talk to it, begging to just get into Denver and I promised I would get her attention before pushing on. I am not sure at this point if it was my constant caress to the dashboard, my not so silent prayers or just sheer luck, but I made it to Denver and pulled into the first car dealer that I passed. It was John Elway Nissan and Toyota. My car never left the parking spot again

I took whatever help that was offered but they assured me the repairs were going to be more than the current value. So I decided it was time to say goodbye and upgrade to something newer to complete my intended Journey. I met a really nice salesman, Named Jeffrey Wright. He was very jovial with red hair and a charismatic smile. He showed me a few options within my budget that he qualified me for and I had decided on one that would fit the bill sort of speak. Was nothing fancy, just an Altima with around 50,000 miles. As I was working through the finances with the sales manager, it dawned on me. I said to myself that if this gentleman could do this job and support his family seemingly enjoying his career and life that maye this was something that I could do as well. So, I made the Sales Manager an offer He couldn’t refuse. I would purchase the vehicle under one condition and this decision changed my direction completely. I’ll buy the car if you give me a job! 

The sales Manager named Mark looked at me as if I was kidding but then realized I was dead serious. His words to me were simple, “This is 100% sales, some of the hardest sales, and not always glorious, however, if you having a job here allows us to sell you the car, you have a deal. Start tomorrow?”

Not even having a place to stay, I accepted and then went looking for the next piece. A roof over my head. 

I found a little spot that was well lit, and seemed close enough to my new work, but didn’t have much to offer an 18 year old. Luckily, I had support from family to allow me to get started. I listened, I swallowed every piece of recommendations and sales strategy I could get my hands on. Within, 3 months, I was the leading salesman in the store, and within 6 months was promoted to Assistant Sales Manager and was assigned a team. I had become the youngest sales manager in company history! It was then that I realized that I could not be held back and that I was on my way to greener pastures. Never made it to Arizona!

My stay lasted 4 years. Started out in one direction and ended up finding peace in a completely different one. Due to some family circumstances, I returned back to Ohio. I found a new dealership to work for and started anew. One day a gentleman came in with his wife and asked to see a new Toyota Avalon. I was happy to assist and told everything I could remember about the vehicle. When we were all finished, the man looked at me and said, I would like to think on this and asked if I would be available later in the day for a call. I tried everything to see if the man would purchase but he was not going to budge. I watched him leave thinking I had just lost a great opportunity and of course a paycheck. Later that day, as promised, the man called. He said listen, I don’t want the car, however, I want you to come and work for me. He was a VP of Lincoln Financial. He said he was head of the retirement plan division and that he had been looking for some new faces. He promised that corporate would educate me, train me, teach me and then give me a territory. I thought for a moment and said, why not? It was that day that I became a 401k and 457 cunsultant. Imaging teaching retirement plans to folks ready to retire and yet I am only 24 years young. I studied hard, having my series 6, 63, 65 and eventually my 7. I ran the state of Michigan for 4 years and then was offered a golden opportunity to open up an office. My journey was about to take me ack west to the wonderful world of Las Vegas! I succeeded and reached all expectations, having the time of my life at such a young age, making great money and having all the distractions Vegas had to bring. 2007 and 2008 were very hard markets, and the only way I was going to make money in this field was to have my clients moving from fund to fund, stock to stock. There wasn’t new business at this time due to market conditions. Only folks that were already invested. I would need ot chase returns in order to survive. This didn’t sit well with me as people would lose thousands of hard earned money trying to beat what was inevitable, a crash. I new what I had to do, was the only thing that was not going to make money. I had to look out for my client and instruct them to do nothing but hold still. Do nothing. A lose is only a lose on paper currently, if you move it becomes permanent. Let the market rebound and then we can explore options. So I suffered, but my clients did not. At least not to the level that most did

Ironically, I ran into a friend that I had not seen in many years from high scholl, he and his wife had a small remodeling company/handyman service. I asked them to dinner and was looking to just catch up. The day of the dinner, he called and told me that he was so behind-d on a jo that he couldn’t break away and we would have to reschedule. I understood for a moment and then I said to him that the dinner wasn’t the meal, it was the reconnection of a friendship. I offered to come help in any way I could. Laughing of course cause I knew nothing about manual labor. I showed up completely overdressed and clean. He laughed and said I don’t think you are cut out for this, but you can just talk to me and keep me company. Being who I am, I said at east give me a broom. It takes no talent to push the broom and to clean as we talk. I volunteered to help for the next week to get him back on schedule if it would. By then end of the week, I had such gratitude watching someone take something broken, beat up, demolished and to see it restored, repaired, or even recreated from new. I was in awe. 

I sat hard one day at my s=desk still contemplating what I was going to do. I liked my work, but enjoyed his job. SO I presented an opportunity for us both. I would become a partner, teach how to run finace and a business if he would teach me the trades. After deliberation with his wife and all parties, we agreed. We developed Reliable Renovations and had this company for 7 years becoming a figure in Central Columbus. It was sucha great feeling owning or partnering a company. I could not see myself ever going back. Long and short, no one cares more than the owners. After a $45,000 a month payroll, new trucks, trailers and a seemingless endless supply of tools, we were a company that was staying afloat and had a great name for the quality of our work, however, there was still one issue. I still didn’t know all what was needed to grow and succeed, only survive and keep grinding

After a few weeks of me personally not receiving a paycheck to ensure my people were, it was time to look in the mirror and have another conversation with the man staring back. I belonged in finance, not construction. Owning a business is not easy but can e very rewarding. I had wished I had a model to follow.

Through the recommendation of a business acquaintance, I finally decided to get into the mortgage business and became a senior loan officer with a great reach of clients and real estate agents. My numbers were always good and bosses just let me be knowing they could always count on my results. It was a great field. Gave me amazing paychecks, and a warm feeling that I was actually helping people with some of the largest decisions of their life. I have always appreciated being able to help others. Now in my later 40’s, I find myself on the back nine of life using a golf metaphor. Being a franchise consultant and helping people once again make another huge financial decision that should propel them into the golden years is one that allows me to service dreams and continue to smile. 

The greatest feeling is knowing that you helped guide with a clean and clear heart!