Take Care of Your


The year is 1988. It’s 9 pm. My dad calls me and my four brothers into his bedroom as his pastor leaves. Something is wrong because Dad never bothers anyone.

He is wearing the same pants I wore in the ninth grade and has difficulty speaking. Cancer has eroded his physical body but not his spirit. He looks us all in the eye and whispers:

“Take care of your mother.”

I don’t understand the significance of his request and go to bed. Then I wake to Mom screaming. Dad points to the end of his bed and says:

“Jesus is in the room and he feels so good.

At 68, those were his last words. 
Origin Story Image

I grew up in a blue-collar family in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Dad didn’t carry a big stick but cast a big shadow like Gregory Peck.

He was a man of faith who taught me principles I didn’t understand at the time – work hard, do the right thing, keep your word, and look out for those in need. 

He owned a side business painting people’s houses. Even if they couldn’t afford it, Dad still finished the job. He grew tomatoes and zucchini in our backyard, for our family and anyone who was hungry. I saw him many times give the shirt and coat off his back to help someone. 

But when it came to money, we had little of it. Vacations were non-existent. Halloween was a big deal because I got free candy. But I never enjoyed it. I was so preoccupied with protecting what I never had, the hoard under my bed rotted away. 

In high school, I made the varsity basketball team my sophomore year and needed to buy the required team basketball shoes, high-top leather Adidas sneakers. Mom gave me $20. I needed to come up with the remaining $80. I never had an allowance, so I did odd jobs – shoveling snow, raking leaves, mowing yards, delivering newspapers. 

I graduated from Indiana School of Business in May 1989.
It was bittersweet. I was the first in my family to graduate college, but Dad wasn’t there to celebrate because he tragically passed in my junior year. And I was clueless
about my career path. 

Origin Story Image
Origin Story Image

Then I discovered
financial planning.

A friend worked at a small boutique firm and said I’d be good at it. Because I never had money, helping people manage theirs intrigued me. 

I interviewed with the big brokerage firms but didn’t like what I saw. They all looked like robotic puppets on a string. Although I knew it would be a struggle, I wanted to be independent and one day build my business.

Six months after joining my friend’s firm, I knew I had found my calling. It was life-giving and
life-changing. I could be a difference-maker like Dad. But I was still a 25-year-old
snot-nosed kid who knew nothing.

I had to cross a canyon from having no money and only knowing blue-collar work to working with wealthier people about their money. It was total intimidation like David and Goliath. 

My Uncle George, who had money, told me to join a country club and learn golf. I looked at the fairways and thought it was a fantasy land after my upbringing. But I had self-belief. If I just lasted, I would succeed.  

Then, in 1991, I attended an economic symposium that became my greatest business investment.

I learned wealth-creation principles outside the
status quo of your typical financial advisor.

I invested all the money I didn’t have to learn it – and continued investing over the next 30 years to master my intellectual property. 

Early on, I helped a young married couple with two small children. One morning, I received the tragic news that the husband died in a car accident the night before. That’s when
I understood the significance of my work.

It wasn’t about how much money was in his retirement plan or his portfolio’s rate of return. It was about being able to give the wife a $750,000 tax-free check (and hope) for her boys. 

I took care of the mother. 

I stayed at the firm for five years before leaving to build my own business at 29.

Today I’m one of the top financial
advisors in the country.

But my staff and friends just know me as Phil. 

I no longer worry about money. I work with people from those just starting their financial journey to those who have achieved generational wealth.

It’s a broad range but I was called to serve like Dad. His example made the biggest impact on my life, and I honor his memory with how I live today. 

After his sudden passing, my brothers and I became 
Mom’s emotional rock. She was dependent on Dad for 42 years of marriage. When her money started to run out, we took turns writing a $1600 monthly check to supplement her retirement until she passed at 93.

We kept our word until the end.

Dad said take care of your mother.