As principal and senior financial advisor in the HBKS® office in Fredonia, New York, Jim specializes in providing personal financial planning, including investments, retirement, estate planning, education funding, tax management and wealth preservation strategies. He began his financial services career in 1995 as a financial advisor with Investment Diversified Services (IDS), which later merged with American Express Financial Advisors. He was one of the first franchise owners at American Express, and in 1998 became one of the first fee-based advisors. In 2011, he signed on with Raymond James Financial as an independent advisor, moved to Comprehensive Wealth Solutions (CWS) and joined HBKS® with the CWS merger in 2016.
Jim earned his Business Administration Degree from Jamestown Community College (JCC) and earned his Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation through the College for Financial Planning in 2006.
He serves as a board member of the Jamestown Community College Foundation. He previously served as an officer/captain of the Fredonia Fire Department Hook and Ladder Company and is a past vice president of Chautauqua County Rural Ministries Board of Directors.
What is most fulfilling about your occupation?
I got into this business two decades ago because I thought I could make a difference in people’s lives. My desire to do so came from my grandparents, loving, hard working people who always put their family’s interests ahead of their own. It wasn’t until years later when I was in college that I realized they did this when their health was failing, and that they were struggling financially all those years I was growing up with them. Because of this I became interested in financial service. They were not prepared to deal with financial hardship, perhaps because of their lifelong illnesses. They were proud and never complained. In a very short time they taught me that hard work, dedication and belief in family will bring the best out in anyone. I am living my life with those morals, principals and standards, and forever grateful for what they have taught me.
Their struggles led me to finance. I decided I would like to help others so no one would have to go through what they did. I decided to become educated in all aspects of personal finance. My mission was to have a clear understanding of what is needed to complete a comprehensive financial plan for anyone that would allow me to work for them.
I think it is very important to keep in close touch with my clients. I must understand them, their needs and what is happening in the ever-changing economic environment. Keeping my clients informed of suitable options and innovative ideas, and helping them adapt to the changes in their lives is a mindset I have had from day one in this business, and my passion to help anyone that would allow me to help is still very much alive today.
What does it take to be successful in wealth management?
Wealth management can mean different things to different people. It’s my opinion every person or family needs to assess and prioritize what is financially important to them. I believe it is everyone’s duty to understand, control and manage their own assets to the best of their ability.
Of course a trusted advisor will help them manage their assets. Wealth management is a service that helps each person identify, implement and monitor individual financial priorities. It brings professionals together for innovative, objective options that can improve the probability of the individual’s financial success.
To be successful in this line of work you have to accomplish several things. Trust must be earned, skill sets must be identified, recommendations must be state-of-the-art and individual accountability must never be compromised.
Where do my good ideas come for my clients?
I was trained over 20 years ago in a firm that, in my opinion, was the pioneer in comprehensive financial planning. Being trained by this company started my quest to be objective, innovative and well educated on all aspects of financial planning. To sharpen my skills I earned a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation (CRPC), and my licensing mandates that I participate in continuing education and stay current on today’s products. We also have seminars and classes internally at HBKS®. We discuss products and services and meet to talk about the best options for our clients. So I have a good overall view of options available to my clients.
I also over the years have developed relationships with many other professionals and learned about their areas of expertise. Attorneys’ benefit specialists and accountants are good examples. That has helped me ensure I’m always offering the most innovative, objective products. Help comes daily from our custodians, professional alliances and within HBKS®. I believe open communication between everyone allows us to be the best we can be.
“I think it is very important to keep in close touch with my clients. I must understand them, their needs and what is happening in the ever-changing economic environment. Keeping my clients informed of suitable options and innovative ideas, and helping them adapt to the changes in their lives is a mindset I have had from day one in this business, and my passion to help anyone that would allow me to help is still very much alive today.”