Welcome to the Roadmap, an ASBN exclusive resource designed to educate CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business leaders on the value of growing and monetizing their businesses. On today’s episode, host Ted Jenkin is joined by Heather Fortner, the CEO of SignatureFD, one of the country’s largest money management firms, to discuss how she stumbled into the successful business.
SignatureFD’s primary focus is “Wealth management, evolved.” The firm is unique solely due to its messaging- “It doesn’t start with ‘who we are, but who you are.” SignatureFD is prepared to navigate everyone’s different financial goals by having at least eight different approaches. Since one size does not fit everyone, their custom design plans align with their customers’ financial advisors, putting you at the center of all decision-making.
By starting her career as a financial planner, she fell in love with starting and growing businesses. Her passion later transpired in creating SignatureFD, which she started from the ground up. Fortner continues, “I believe there are two concepts that touch everybody”:
Adding, “Everyone has to deal with both daily.” Therefore, her graduate training specializes in professional counseling, and “I believe you can teach people the fundamentals of money and how to live well with money, and you can teach people to talk well about money. Money is the number one stressor in this generation’s lives.” Money is also the reason why 75% of marriages fail, but if you can teach people how to do those two things, and do them well, then “you can change families.”
Georgia recently passed a personal finance bill (SB 220) that mandates personal finance lessons for high school students from the 2024-2025 school year. This means all grade 11 and grade 12 students must pass a half-credit program to graduate. But, according to Fortner, “I’m really proud of Georgia for implementing that. I wish we could teach them earlier, but just like the education system has changed, so has the core teaching of what they find fundamental.” For example, when Fortner was in school, her home economics class was designed around teaching typing fundamentals. She adds, “But I think money, finance, and budgeting should be the same way.”
"Money is a tool that should be used in the thing that you find worthwhile." — Heather Fortner
Ultimately, Fortner asserts, “If money is not serving those worthwhile moments in your life, then it really is meaningless.” For the majority of people, they’re so fixated on saving now and enjoying life later. Yet, Fortner emphasizes that you can enjoy the life, legacy, and the things that matter to you today. The reality is, “Your financial journey is a marathon and not a sprint.”