Fairfield Now - Spring 2009
Class of '74 profile:
Carole Ford: A guiding hand
By Carolyn Arnold
Jim and Carole (Riley) Ford '74
Finances can be confusing if you don't do your research, or if you don't have trusted advisors to lead you through the confusing layers of the financial world - especially with today's economy! But the clients of Carole (Riley) Ford '74, of LPL Financial Corporation, are at ease knowing that their advisor is tirelessly working to help them reach their goals.
Ford, who has been recognized by Barron's Magazine as one of the 100 top women advisors in America for three consecutive years, knows how uncertain people can feel about the many ways to manage their money. A guiding hand is welcome when making the first steps in the process. Also named as one of the top 100 independent advisors in America for the last two years from Registered Rep Magazine, Ford said, "It's always nice to know that you're respected."
Ford lives in Fresno, California, along with her husband, Jim '74 who is also a Fairfield graduate. Both certified financial planners (CFP), they work together with Carole advising clients while Jim manages the business and technical facets of the company. Working through LPL has proven to be a great benefit to Ford because it enables her to offer independent financial guidance and advice while having the freedom to run and manage her own company.
Her clients often include women who are single, divorced, or recently widowed. Often they are wary of the idea of investing their money and have never felt comfortable looking at their budgets. When these women become clients Ford sees it as her duty to teach, advise, and most importantly, empower them to take charge of their lives and their finances. "It's almost like therapy. Sometimes women come to us after losing a spouse, and this helps them to take control and look at what they have to do next," she said.
After graduating from Fairfield with a degree in sociology (a field that actually helped her to better understand and work with her clients), Ford initially worked in banking. Eventually her husband suggested she switch to the financial field. "I was always interested in finances since a very young age; I helped my mother with her finances after my father passed away," she said. She has now been in the financial business for 30 years and with LPL for 5 years.
As for knowing what to do with your finances: "The most important thing to do is to educate yourself so that you're not afraid to make decisions about your money," Ford advised. She recommended that people read Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and LPL's website at www.lpl.com/fordgroup, where readers can utilize financial planning tools and get market information. Her company also offers classes for clients that educate them on managing money and investing.
"I'm here to guide my clients," said Ford, "not run their lives." Indeed, those who do make the effort to learn about finance know how to look at long-term situations. Those who don't, tend to panic and make less-informed decisions. "Education helps people feel less intimidated and gives you the power to control your own life," she added.
Still, investing remains a daunting challenge. Ford said people should feel satisfied with their advisors. "It's similar to finding a therapist; you have to find one that you feel comfortable with, one that won't talk above or beneath you, and understands you as a person."
When she's not hard at work, Ford relaxes at home with her husband and her four dogs. They also have a home near the ocean in Carmel, Calif. where they spend time. But, as Ford said, she's always got her Blackberry close at hand. Finances stop for no one, and Ford and her husband are dedicated to growing the company and guiding their clients to make smart and savvy decisions.