Jim and Linda Shoemaker
are pictured with Linda
and Jeff Long during the
Shoemaker Financial 30th
October 10 at the Firm’s
Jim and Jeff have worked
together for three
decades to grow the start-
up Firm into a perennial
Premier Club qualifier.
If the Shoe fits, why change?
Shoemaker Financial celebrates 30 years with Securian
W When the Memphis office staff of Shoemaker
Financial gathered recently for an enjoyable sit-
down luncheon, Jeff Long couldn’t help but
reflect on his first lunch at the Firm 30 years ago.
“We were sitting on a bare floor in Jim Shoemaker’s
York – hired Jeff Long as a financial advisor.
“I was a 30-year-old draft engineer who liked peo-
ple more than draft boards,” Jeff says. “I told Jim that
I didn’t think I could sell anything. Jim’s response was
‘you can learn.’ ”
Two years later, Jim left Home Life to form his own
office. It was Jim, the four other guys who started the Firm. Jeff and four others decided to join Jim on the
Firm and me,” says Jeff, a Shoemaker Financial Vice ground floor of Shoemaker Financial. “I followed Jim
President. “We were ripping off wallpaper, hanging because he’s a leader and a visionary. I’ve never regret-
our own sheetrock and painting the walls. We had to ted it,” said Jeff, a producer, teacher and technician in
do our own work because we didn’t have any money. his three decades at Shoemaker, where he now focuses
We didn’t have to worry about moving the furniture on developing new Advisors.
because we didn’t have any.”
In 1976, the year America celebrated its bicenten- CHOOSING A MUTUAL PARTNER
nial and voted to send a Georgia peanut farmer named After opening J.H. Shoemaker and Company (later
Jimmy Carter to the White House, Jim Shoemaker – renamed Shoemaker Financial), Jim searched for a new
then the assistant manager for Home Life of New mutual insurance company partner. He saw a
14 The Torch | Fall 2008
Minnesota Mutual advertisement in a GAMA ADAPTING AS footprint
International magazine that touted its mutual AN ORGANIZATION
heritage and Adjustable Life, a new flexible life Shoemaker’s early adoption 1978
insurance product. of financial planning is just one Jim Shoemaker leaves Home Life of New York to
Terry Sullivan, the new Vice President of Agencies example of how the Firm has open Shoemaker Financial in Memphis, Tennessee.
for the company at the time, launched a program to diversified its business model
build the career field force. He attracted Managing over the years. Shoemaker 1980
Partners who wanted to build their Firms instead of Financial started a Registered
relying on personal-producing general agents. “Jim Investment Advisor, purchased Shoemaker Financial starts its
own Registered Investment
was one of the first candidates we brought in, and he a broker/dealer, and later Advisor and delivers its first
looked really promising,” says Terry, who first met Jim diversified by adding a group financial plan to a doctor in
at the old Radisson Hotel in downtown St. Paul. “He benefits division and a Tennessee for $250.
had a good track record, strong values and a clear pic- mortgage company.
ture of what he wanted to do.” “This organization has
Terry didn’t want his first Managing Partner always done a good job of 1984
appointment to fail, so he banked on Jim. “We were responding to the needs of our The Firm hires its first financial planning proces-
new at this GA recruiting business at the time, so we clients,” Jeff Long says. Jim sor, purchases its own broker/dealer and buys its
first office building, a small two-story building in
were only a paragraph ahead of them. Unbeknownst to credits Jeff with playing a key
Memphis. Shoemaker Financial conducts busi-
Jim, we used him as the model to adapt how we role in the Firm’s growth. “Jeff ness on the second floor and leases the first floor.
recruited and supported our new Managing has always been my go-to
Partners,” said Terry, who surprised Jim guy. He’s very capa-
by flying to Memphis to attend the ble and a great 1995
Shoemaker Financial 30th anniver- teacher,” Jim Shoemaker Financial moves to
sary celebration in October. says. “He’s its headquarters’ current loca-
Thirty years later, it’s clear that forgotten tion, a 26,000 square-foot
this was a successful long-term more about facility in Germantown,
Tennessee, a suburb
investment for both organiza- financial of Memphis.
tions. “Jim’s commitment to planning
integrity was second to none,” than most
says Terry, a member of the people will 2001
Securian Hall of Fame. “In the early ever know.
Firm adopts the concept of periodization, break-
80s, our company took a stance He’s been instru- ing up the year into four 13-week periods.
against replacements because it was the mental in our
right thing to do, even though most of the success for three
industry took advantage of it. Jim was one of the decades and a great person to 2003
key people on our Field Council (now known as work with.”
Firm acquires the Securian
National Advisory Board) that endorsed our anti- In 2001, Shoemaker operation in Nashville,
replacement stance, and I will always be grateful to Financial adopted periodization, Tennessee. Brian Church
him for that. He’s a class guy.” the concept of breaking the year is hired the following year
to oversee and grow the
into four 13-week periods, from
DELIVERING SHOEMAKER FINANCIAL’S Brian Moran of Strategic
FIRST FINANCIAL PLAN FOR $250 Breakthroughs. “We have four
Many Advisors and Firms have recently adopted a fee- year-ends, which helps change 2008
based financial planning business model. Shoemaker the old mindset of Advisors
Shoemaker Financial celebrates its
Financial was well ahead of its time. thinking they can catch up in 30th anniversary.
“Home Life was involved in financial planning, the fourth quarter.” Jim says.
which was unique for an insurance company at the “It’s the best way to work.”
time,” Jeff recalls. “I remember writing our first finan- Shoemaker acquired
cial plan in 1980 and delivering it to a doctor in Securian’s Nashville office in 2003, and brought in
Madison, Tennessee, for $250. We used a desktop calcu- Managing Director Brian Church to grow the organi-
lator to run the numbers and a typewriter to print it.” zation that now has a dozen Advisors. Combined with
Jim recalls a Home Office employee telling him at the Memphis Advisors under Managing Director Mac
the time that financial planning would never take off. Jenkins, Shoemaker Financial has 35 Advisors provid-
“It’s not like we had a crystal ball or anything, but ing financial solutions to their clients in Tennessee and
delivering financial plans fit our philosophy,” Jim said. surrounding states. Recruiters Liz Lacey and Rebekah
The Torch | Fall 2008 15
Retired Senior Vice President (above) Terry
Sullivan flew to Memphis to surprise Jim, the
first Managing Partner candidate hired in 1978.
Shoemaker Financial Advisors David Rochester
(left) and Frank Allen (right) surround Pete
Powell, Regional Sales Director for RS Funds.
The Firm’s values are painted on the wall behind
Brashier are busy looking for additional have made it. His patience paid off for me managing a $40 million bond portfolio for
Advisors to join the Shoemaker and my family,” said Frank, a four-time an insurance company, a job that became
Financial team. MDRT member and two-time Circle of increasingly mundane, Bill became a
Excellence qualifier. Christian and made a dramatic career
NURTURING ENVIRONMENT Paul Rich joined Shoemaker Financial change. He joined the Campus Ministry
Frank Allen, a 49-year-old career in 1992, only a year removed from col- team at the University of Florida, a noble
changer, joined Shoemaker Financial in lege. “Jim is a friend, a mentor, a father calling at a campus with a reputation as a
May 2001 after working in corporate figure. What’s really cool is he cares about “party school.”
finance at FedEx for 17 years. my family as much as he cares for me. My “My job wasn’t fulfilling. I prayed for
“The main reason I joined Shoemaker daughter was recently chosen as home- direction, and God told me to move back
was the Firm’s emphasis on financial plan- coming queen at her school, and Jim took to Memphis,” said Bill. Although he didn’t
ning, which was right up my alley. I wanted such a genuine interest. My family loves have a job waiting, Bill, his pregnant wife
to be a planner, not a salesman, and help him,” said Paul, one of the top producers and their three kids packed up their
people,” said Frank, who started an invest- at the Firm. “He’s been very loyal to me belongings and relocated to Memphis.
ment club with his family before changing and asks me for advice. I can’t imagine Bill interviewed with several financial
careers. “I was also impressed with the working anyplace else.” services firms. But he was instantly
upfront training from Jeff Long and wanted attracted to Jim’s faith and his respectful
people around to answer my questions. STRONG CHRISTIAN CULTURE attitude. “During our interview, Jim took
And, finally, the Christian-based culture You won’t see any crosses in the a call from his wife Linda, and I could tell
gave me an opportunity to do things at Shoemaker Financial Firm brochure, but what an honorable guy he was just by the
work that I couldn’t do at FedEx.” Jim has built an organization by attracting way he talked to her,” Bill said. “I knew
Frank credits Jim for his patience, Advisors and clients who share the same immediately this was the place for me, and
especially after the market plummeted in Christian values. that was almost 25 years ago. The best
conjunction with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, “We prefer to portray our faith in decision I made in my life.”
less than six months after Frank joined action rather than talk about it in a As the leader of the Firm, Jim continu-
the Firm. brochure,” Jeff says. ally focuses on providing the best possible
“I was a rookie, but Jim didn’t treat me No one leaned on his faith more at environment for his Advisors and staff.
like one. The market was very difficult for Shoemaker than Advisor Bill Regeneld, “Being a person of faith is part of my life.
my first two years. If I would have joined who joined the Firm in 1983 after his It’s 24/7, not a part-time thing. I don’t have
a brokerage company, I probably would prayer was answered. After earning his faith only part-time or when it is
have been put on a quota and wouldn’t MBA at the University of Tennessee and convenient or only when I’m sick.
16 The Torch | Fall 2008