Michael E. Spears, CRPC®, APMA®
I learned about planning ahead and proper money management at an early age because of family circumstances that required me to support myself and live independently. I worked full-time to pay for school while attending East Carolina University, where I pursued my bachelor’s degree in finance. One particular event that changed the course of my career was when my wife's grandmother requested my input about her pension options. I was shocked at how little she would receive to supplement her social security after many years of service. At that moment, I knew I wanted to spend my career educating people on how to live well versus just getting by financially.
My personal mission in life is to live by example, leaving the individuals with whom I interact and the world around me better than I found them; to be a great husband to my wife of 25 years, Jimi; and a great father to my son Cameron, 24, my daughter Madison, 20, and grand dogs Gini, Paisley, and Harley. I also want to ensure that my family has the necessary resources so they never have to experience the poverty and dysfunction in which I grew up.
I opened my financial planning practice in 1995 and served business owners and multiple generations of families through Ameriprise Financial. In June 2019, I joined Crossbridge Financial Group and became associated with Commonwealth Financial Network. I made this change in pursuit of being able to focus solely on client needs through our offices in Kinston, Wilmington, and Cary, North Carolina. Education is important to me, which is why I have pursued advanced designations from the College for Financial Planning such as Accredited Portfolio Management Advisor and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designations. I was blessed to receive the Five Star Wealth Manager* award in 2014 from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network for the Carolinas. During my tenure at Ameriprise, I qualified for the Circle of Success multiple times and earned the President’s Recognition Award. In 2018, I was appointed to the Fidelity Investment Advisory Council.
My professional mission for our private wealth advisory practice is to provide 360° proactive advice and service to families, using our unique process and relationship to allow our families to have financial freedom, confidence, and control so that they can focus on the big rocks in their life. Believing financial advice is the best tool for achieving financial freedom, our families can expect sound advice, objectivity, value, expertise, and monitoring. We have the experience to help clients quickly assess their goals in the areas of estate/legacy/wealth transfer planning, tax planning, providing protection needs, investing, and maximizing workplace benefits, retirement income strategies, chronic care, and banking, and then help the client to set a more effective course to reach their goals.
In our practice, it is important to us that we continue to learn, understanding that there is a difference between being happy (which is temporary), versus being fulfilled (which is permanent), or having a sense of significance and purpose. We also want to have more impact on the people with whom we interact. That is why we enjoy serving others through the Food Bank of East North Carolina, 1Pet1Vet, and Special Olympics of North Carolina, along with the East Carolina Alumni Association.
Our business’ core values are to be objective, experienced, and proactive, always putting the client first. Our team’s organizational culture is to operate as a family and to treat our clients as such. We are blessed to have members with different areas of strength, while at the same time allowing us to work together and communicate effectively. We want our clients to always know and feel that we have their back. Our enjoyment comes when we and our clients succeed together.
* Based on 10 objective eligibility and evaluation criteria, including a minimum of 5 years as an active credentialed financial professional, favorable regulatory and complaint history, accepts new clients, client retention rates, client assets administered, education, and professional designations. 4,407 Carolinas wealth managers were considered for the award; 135(3 percent of candidates) were named 2014 Five Star Wealth Managers. These awards are not indicative of the wealth managers' future performance. Your experiences may vary. For more information, please visit www.fivestarprofessional.com.