President & Senior Financial Advisor
“All hard work brings a profit but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
Jim Cantrell lives by these words, using them as a constant reminder to keep focused and work hard so he can deliver financial success to his clients.
When Jim was a young boy, his mother said, "If you want to get ahead in this world, you have to invest your money.” Jim, always inquisitive, asked her, "How do you do that?" and she responded, "I don't know, which is why we're not ahead." Those powerful words would act as a catalyst, leading Jim on a quest to discover how to invest and make money in order to achieve financial success.
Jim started his financial career in 1989 working and observing other financial planners and insurance sales brokers. While working, Jim studied at night and received his Series 6, Series 63, and life, health and disability licenses. His boss at the time told him he didn’t need to become a Certified Financial Planner. She said she had all the tools to teach him how to make a sale. She was making a lot of money, but Jim thought to himself, "Were her clients?" Since Jim was passionate about helping others, he left his job determined to find a way to help others achieve financial security and peace of mind.
Jim joined another financial firm in 1990 and studied at night to obtain his Series 7 license while saving money so he could open his own company and live the American dream. He also became a Registered Investment Advisor Representative in that same year.
In 1991, Jim formed Financial Strategies, Inc. with the mantra of always putting a client's interests first. At night, Jim attended the College for Financial Planning out of Denver, Colorado for two years, taking coursework in financial planning to obtain his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP®) certification. He attained the designation of Certified Financial Planner Professional in 1995 from the CFP® board.
In 1994, Financial Strategies, Inc. (FSI) evolved into a fee-only, transparent business model. Jim selected this model as a means to eliminate conflicts of interest that arise from hidden fees, commissions or compensations based on selling financial products. The fee-only compensation model helps assure that you know your advisor always recommends what is best for you and your specific financial goals.
A dynamic and passionate financial planner, Jim developed a detailed and sophisticated comprehensive financial planning model to understand a client's overall goals and objectives. Every financial model is customized for each individual or family since no two people have the same story or life goals. As a part of the process to build a strong financial plan, Jim works with a select group of hand-picked professional advisors including tax attorneys, bankers, CPAs, insurance brokers and other client advisors to streamline financial planning strategy and deliver best-in-class results.
Since 1996, Jim has been a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and is one of only 45 individuals in WI that are a part of this select group of wealth advisors. In 2009, he was selected by industry leaders as a regional board member. He rose to regional President in 2011 and regional board Chair in 2012. He was elected by his peers to the national board in 2015 and served on that board until September of 2018.
Jim's passion for learning is reflected in the continuing education he constantly pursues. His thirst for knowledge keeps him continually involved in keeping up to date with changes in the industry so he can share that knowledge with staff and clients alike.
Jim serves his community with the same passion as his business. One of Jim’s mentors was his dad, a gentle and loving man, who suffered with Parkinson's disease and passed away at the young age of 61. Today, Jim works tirelessly with the Wisconsin Parkinson Association helping others afflicted with the disease. While there is still no cure, he is trying to help others live better, stronger lives. Currently, he serves on the board and recently was elected President for 2019-2020. He is also involved with NAPFA's Consumer Education Foundation and the Financial Planning Association (FPA).
A strong believer in defending our country, Jim served in the military for 6 years. For 16 years, Jim also served as lay minister of two churches in WI. He has been married to Lynn for 31 years and has two grown children. Jim’s family is vitally important to him; he says his priorities are: God first, family second, and work third. When those priorities are taken care of, he enjoys jogging, canoeing, singing (often singing while jogging or canoeing), scuba diving (never sing while scuba diving, it uses too much air and the bubbles make you sound funny), riding his Harley, wilderness camping, and fixing stuff in his shop.
At the end of the day, Jim leads by example, listening before speaking while considering every option to ensure success for those he advises. He truly cares about his clients and their happiness. It's why he's also considered a valuable friend to those he helps.