Like most kids, Michael Foguth didn’t dream of becoming a financial advisor when he grew up.
His sights were set on a career in sports or business. But that changed in 2002 when the Internet stock bubble burst. Market prices plunged, taking with them his grandmother’s retirement savings.
“I saw the changes it made in her life from a personnel standpoint,” says Foguth, 34. “So I got plugged in to help her get on track with her financial needs.”
Once “plugged in” Foguth realized that his grandmother wasn’t alone. There were lots of people her age and younger who needed help planning their retirement. So he took a job in life and annuities with an independent advisor and started learning the job he never dreamed of.
“I said, man this is the place to be,” he remembers. “This is what people need.”
One day after training with the independent advisor and talking to other successful advisors, Foguth decided he knew enough about being an advisor to go out on his own.
“So I opened my own shop,” he says.
Today, Foguth Financial Group LLC, located in Brighton, Michigan, handles different lines of insurance. But Foguth spends the majority of his workday helping older clients plan and manage their retirement because he has never forgotten the impact that a dramatic dip in the market had on his grandmother’s life.
“When you really have the opportunity to set the record straight and take care of people, it goes on for years and years,” the FFG’s founder says. “It’s something that impacts generations
It wasn’t so long ago that sports had a big impact on Foguth. As a kid he pulled the sports and business sections out of the morning paper as soon as it hit the ground. While in college he lived his dream, working in sales and marketing for the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. He liked it but realized the job had its limitations.
That’s when the stock market bubble burst and Foguth “backed” into his future career.
“It isn’t a job you put on your transcript, you know when I grow up I want to be an advisor,” laughs Foguth, who is married and the father of five daughters. “I joke with my kids (asking) what do you want to be when you grow up. Nobody ever says an advisor.”
A decade later Foguth has compiled a pretty impressive portfolio of accomplishments. Along with appearing on network and cable business shows, he has been interviewed in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Newsweek and Forbes magazines. He co-authored his first book, “Successonomics,” with Steve Forbes, the magazine’s editor in chief.
Foguth ascribes part of his firm’s success to people who mentored him along the way. While many of those people come from within the insurance community, he’s made a point of surrounding himself with successful people from outside the industry.
“I think that it is always important that you have mentors who can share things they did with their clients and that are business related,” he says. “But it is also important to have someone to guide you from outside the financial advisor realm.”