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Randy Carver of Carver Financial Services: “Do one thing every day to make that vision a reality”

To be resilient, you need to have a clear vision and passion that it’s still the main goal no matter what happens to you. I faced a lot of setbacks in my life, but my vision remained the same. I just had to find new and creative ways to achieve it. You might have to […]

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To be resilient, you need to have a clear vision and passion that it’s still the main goal no matter what happens to you. I faced a lot of setbacks in my life, but my vision remained the same. I just had to find new and creative ways to achieve it. You might have to adjust your approach to reach your goal. In each instance, I used the setback as a new opportunity to learn about myself and added to my skill set.


In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Randy Carver.

Randy is President and founder of Carver Financial Services Inc., an independent registered investment advisor and he is a registered principal with Raymond James Financial Services Inc. (member FINRA/SIPC). After a lifetime of numerous health setbacks, Randy and his firm now manage in excess of 2 billion dollars AUM for clients globally. For Randy, it’s not financial planning, it’s personal vision planning — defining a personal vision, designing a plan, and monitoring progress to ensure success.


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?

At the age of 12, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Over the next three years, doctors worked to remove the entire lobe of my left lung, parts of my right lung, spleen, and thymus. I went through chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgeries. Later another mass needed to be removed that paralyzed my vocal cord. Incredibly, years later, after enduring all of that, I learned that I had been misdiagnosed and actually had malignant thymoma.

As a result of the time in the hospital, I missed a lot of school but became a fan of The Wall Street Journal. That is how I started to learn about financial markets, investing, and business. I started a catering business in my mom’s kitchen at 15 and then founded two successful home-renovation companies.

Once in college, I took what I learned from the Wall Street journal and would borrow money from my professors and invest it in futures. Upon graduation, I joined a brokerage firm but acquired enough clients to open my own branch four months later.

But, just two years later, I faced another setback when a single-engine plane I was piloting crashed. I suffered collapsed lungs, broken ribs, a cracked larynx, and a crushed nose. I couldn’t speak for almost a year.

While these experiences could have stopped anyone in their tracks, they spurred me to be more creative and resilient. A year after the crash, I founded Carver Financial Services Inc. in December of 1990, using my background as an innovative way to approach clients’ finances managing 2 billion dollars.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

In the mid-nineties, I could see email would be significant and there was no reliable local internet. With a partner we became an internet service provider. I’ve had a website since 1995, and was involved in internet radio more than 20 years ago. Due to my childhood setbacks, my mindset had developed into one where I saw possibilities of what could be for the future ahead of my competition.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Most firms are investment centric. We work with clients to help them get clear on what’s important to them and then work to achieve it. We call our trade marked process Personal Vision Planning. The planning is based on your vision, not investments.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Early on, there was one doctor in Toronto who kept saying he was going to save me. He looked for possibilities and solutions rather than focusing on the problem. This shaped my mindset personally and in the business world.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?

It’s moving forward with your vision regardless of what happens. Picture a guy with a yo-yo walking up a hill, and the yo-yo is going up and down. If you’re focusing on the up and down, you don’t see the progress moving up. A resilient person has a specific vision, is passionate, persistent, and disciplined.

When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?

I think about Elon Musk because he was told all the things he’s achieved were impossible and did them anyway. No one knew who he was 30 years ago. Richard Branson is another one. He’s done some amazing things and is entirely self-built. He didn’t even finish high school.

Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us?

I was told I wasn’t going to live when I was 12 years old. But I did. That experience shaped my mindset and was critical in leading to my success in the financial world.

Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?

Not being able to speak after my crash was a catastrophic setback when you’re in a sales role. But I focused on what I could gain versus what I was giving up. It made me a better listener, which helped me be more concise in what I was trying to say. This helped keep the business growing.

Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share a story?

I was supposed to be an Outward Bound instructor and would have been one of the youngest instructors at 12. To be an instructor, I had to complete a physical where they found a huge mass in my chest. I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. St. Jude’s turned me away, and I was told I would be dead in six months. But we found doctors to treat me, and I survived.

Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Create a vision.
  2. Do one thing every day to make that vision a reality.
  3. Develop a support team.
  4. Use your time efficiently and prioritize tasks.
  5. Look for the opportunity in every situation, especially the tough ones.

To be resilient, you need to have a clear vision and passion that it’s still the main goal no matter what happens to you. I faced a lot of setbacks in my life, but my vision remained the same. I just had to find new and creative ways to achieve it. You might have to adjust your approach to reach your goal. In each instance, I used the setback as a new opportunity to learn about myself and added to my skill set.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think people need to take responsibility for their own futures financially. When I started in the business, people retired at 65, and they died at 69. Now people retire at 55, and they never die. There’s a price to that, and if people aren’t prepared. It’s going to hurt the country and people individually.

We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂

Richard Branson. I find it very interesting what he’s done. You talk about persistence and thinking outside the box. I think I can relate to a lot of that.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Facebook: @carverfinancialservicesinc

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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