Yesterday was the day to celebrate our fathers and all they have done for us in our lives. My dad has been a great influence and role model in my life. He has taught me that with hard work, there is nothing that I can’t accomplish. He has always supported me in everything I have done or wanted to do and taught me to never give up on my goals. My dad is determined. He didn’t wait for opportunities to come to him. He created his own opportunities. Today I honor him by sharing his story.

Jim Cantrell grew up the fourth of five children. Like any little boy, he questioned the world. He wanted to know how it worked and how to succeed. One day his mother told him “If you want to get ahead in this world, you have to invest your money.” Jim asked her, “How do you do that?” and she responded, “I don’t know, which is why we’re not ahead.”

These words stuck with Jim as he got older. He made it his mission to learn how to invest. In 1989 Jim started his financial career. He started working and spent much time watching and learning from other financial planners and insurance sales people. Along with work, he was studying to learn even more about the financial world. His boss at the time told him that she could teach him all that he needed to know to make a sale and that he did not have to become a Certified Financial Planner. Without the title, he could be successful. However, this wasn’t enough for Jim, he cared not only about his own success, but also for the success of the clients. His boss was making a lot of money with her strategy, but Jim wanted more than his own wealth; he wanted to help others. He left his job in pursuit of this, to help others find financial freedom.

In no way was this easy. He was still studying at night while saving up money with the dream of starting his own financial planning firm. In 1991 Financial Strategies, Inc. was born and just a few years later, so were Jim’s two daughters. Now he had more to think about than just supporting himself and his wife, who was also working hard to keep them afloat. Although these years were anything but easy for Jim and his wife, Jim worked tirelessly to get his company off the ground, forming it around the clients’ best interest even though that was the harder path than simply focusing on his own success. Somehow, even with working long days for little reward, he managed to make it home at night to tell his girls a story or sing them to sleep.

It took years of hard work and long days, but Jim succeeded in bringing his dream to life. He is now a Certified Financial Planner, running his own business, and working personally with clients to help them reach their goals. Jim is more than a financial planner, he is a friend to those he advises; he gets to know them and their goals and values so he can always work in their best interest.

Jim is a fighter. He works for what he believes in and puts others first. He has a humble sort of confidence where he knows his strengths and abilities but never assumes that he is better or smarter than anyone else.

I have been so blessed to have Jim as a father and role model. He taught me to believe in myself and work towards my dreams. He has supported me in every way he can, being careful never to spoil me. Jim has taught me that I can make a difference in the world by helping and caring about the people around me. He taught me that hard work is hard, but it is worth it.

Fathers have a special role in their children’s lives. They teach us, support us, and love us so that we can find our own way in this world and be successful. Fathers are a wonderful gift and we don’t take as much time as we should to appreciate them. Father’s day doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, just one day. Take the time to appreciate your father because if he is anything like mine, he deserves it.

Hannah Cantrell

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