Spears takes lesson from father to start his business
Jason Spears grew up in Philadelphia as the oldest of four children, and while the family never went without necessities, there wasn’t room in the budget for extravagance.
His father worked at U.S. Motors, and, as an hourly worker, was subject to forced layoffs and shutdowns.
“He always found ways to adapt to provide for us,” Spears, 31, said. “We always had enough by not getting caught up in the rat race, not having loads of debt and with the good Lord’s help. We knew he was not just sitting there not doing anything for us.”
He enrolled in 1997 as the first in his family to attend college. After two years of college, where he was majoring in accounting, he took an internship with an accounting firm in Oxford. He worked there for more than two years, and the insight led him on another path.
“I decided to go into managerial finance,” he said. “I felt like I could make a living and immerse myself in something and not feel like it’s work, and that’s what I’ve been able to do.”
After college, Spears worked for Malachi Financial Group, first in Oxford and later in his own office in Ridgeland. In June 2010, he began an independent operation, JDS Wealth Strategies in Columbus.
He said the firm takes a more progressive approach to clients’ investments.
“We focus more on variety, rather than just buying stocks or mutual funds and hoping it works out,” he said.
Another aspect that sets JDS Wealth Strategies apart, he said, is how he and financial specialist John Mitchell have embraced technological tools available for clients.
One example is the use of CIR statements, which give clients a way to look online at both investments with JDS Wealth Strategies and other investments, such as a 401(k) with an employer.
“They can see how well it’s performing and have knowledge about their account without making a call or having to digest a statement,” Spears said. “Transparency is what’s paramount to us.”
Two additional financial planning tools the firm uses are Finance Logix and Cash Edge. Finance Logix is a tool that tracks investments and translates the information to keep clients on track to reach their retirement goals. Cash Edge can bundle CIR statements, checking accounts, credit cards and bills as a way for clients to monitor cash flow and make adjustments accordingly.
“I turned 31 in June, and John’s 27, so we’re sort of babies of technology,” Spears said. “We can only be as effective as the information we have at our disposal to help our clients make decisions, and technology really helps us do that.”
In addition to Mitchell and Spears, Heather Reynolds serves as the firm’s administrative assistant, and Spears’ wife, Paige, is a paraplanner and office manager, but Spears said she wears many hats.
“She handles a big part of our communications with clients,” he said.
Combining his experience growing up with his education has allowed Spears to fulfill career goals.
“I’m able to tell clients I’ve been there and I understand, but I can’t do it for you,” he said. “But I can help them, and that’s what gets me up every morning.”