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Financial
Apr 21, 2022

Finding Success in Succession Planning

Sponsored Content provided by Jason Wheeler - CEO, Pathfinder Wealth Consulting

At Pathfinder Wealth Consulting, we help many business owners and executives transition into retirement; but retirement looks different for everyone, and many people would rather not “retire,” instead shifting to less hours, different duties, and more meaningful activities.  To have these options, we look for success in succession planning.  

Pathfinder recently had our first successful transition with tenured wealth advisor, John Zachary, CFP®, CRC®, purchasing partial ownership from my fellow founder, Rob Penn. Rob is only a couple years away from 60 (don’t tell him I told you). Working with retirees for over 30 years gave him a lot of perspective, and Rob is a realist. His biggest life passion is scuba diving; not just recreational but serious scuba diving (fossil hunting, wreck and cave diving, and spear fishing). This takes great physical skills, and Rob knows health can be the biggest game changer in someone’s financial (and life) plan. He wants to be under the surface whenever the weather allows it, and certainly before any age-related health issues interrupt; however, he still loves his work and the clients he serves.  Staying engaged professionally, while shifting more of his time to his personal lifestyle, has been his goal.  

John, of course, had his eyes set on becoming partner since he joined Pathfinder 13 years ago.  He put his head down, worked hard, and has held just about every position in the firm, continually looking for ways to grow personally and professionally. Having meaning and purpose in your work is essential for personal happiness and John exudes that daily. He carries our values and cherishes working for our clients. He’s earned his opportunity to be an equity holder in our firm, and we’re very proud to work side by side with him. 

What needed to happen for Pathfinder to be ready for this great succession? Here are a few concepts that we see with clients, and that we were able to achieve ourselves. First and foremost, it takes vision.  It sounds generic but it is true and deeply important. Rob and I set out 17 years ago knowing that we wanted Pathfinder to continue into perpetuity, beyond either of our own careers. We envisioned a firm that would allow great people to grow professionally, make a difference in the lives of others, and reach their personal goals. We knew that vision would also parallel sharing success, both financially and in status and visibility. We want our best folks to be seen by their peers, our clients, and the community as the leaders they are.  

Another concept and part of our vision is the ability to scale and create capacity; but it’s more than just systems and processes (although those are critical). It’s about providing resources (education and experience), nurturing responsibility, and cultivating accountability for impactful work that grows the firm. 

How do you keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive? You turn it over to the next generation that sees beyond your original vision. We want people to carry our values, enhance our vision, and help us create the next path forward, all while continuing to deliver the high-quality service and personal relationships we maintain with our clients.  

I’m proud to announce John Zachary as my business partner. He has earned it. His success is also the firm’s success, as it has always been a combination of vision, great people, scale and capacity, and shared success. Planning for success in succession takes time and effort but it pays off.  Planning for the future is what we do best at Pathfinder. If you’d like a trusted partner for your future financial planning, give us a call at 910-793-0616, or visit our website. We are here to guide you forward.        


Jason is a wealth advisor and founding partner of Pathfinder Wealth Consulting. He has been in the financial services industry since 1999. Jason was born in Dayton, Ohio, but grew up in Eastern North Carolina. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 1999 with a BS in finance and an MBA in 2003. Rob Penn, Jason’s business partner, hired him in 1999 and the two began a successful business relationship, highlighted by the formation of Pathfinder Wealth Consulting in 2005.

Jason’s passion for the business begins with helping our clients, working with select families to accomplish their personal and business goals. Jason’s role also includes managing the overall firm, leading its growth initiatives, and enhancing operations. Jason resides in Wilmington with his wife, Ashley, and their daughter, Merritt. Ashley is a speech-language pathologist and owns Therapy Connections, Inc., a pediatric speech therapy company. Currently, Jason spends most of his free time with his family doing anything kid-related. He also plays average golf as often as possible, waits patiently for his invitation to Jedi training, and hopes that maybe this year he'll have more time for surfing, boating, fishing, and all the water activities that the family loves. Jason considers himself a lifelong learner and is always ready to try a new activity, travel to a new spot, or delve into a new subject.

 

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