Evolving Enterprise | Carpenter Financial Services, from income taxes to forward-looking retirement planning
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – For more than four generations, the Carpenter family’s businesses have included a grocery store, income tax services’ and an accounting firm and a financial planning firm, all in downtown Johnstown.
Samuel G. Carpenter, financial adviser and co-owner of Carpenter Financial Services, 237 Johns St., has been helping people plan for retirement for 35 years. He’s branded his company as a tax-smart financial planning firm, offering securities and investment advisory services through its affiliation with Avantax Investment Services.
The answers to the following questions were provided by Sam Carpenter.
The goal of presenting this questionnaire is to show how time-tested businesses have grown and endured. For more, listen to the podcast.
Question: How did your business start?
Answer: In 1953, my dad started doing income taxes and accounting. He became a CPA (certified public accountant) in 1960. I think the work ethic his father brought from Italy was also instrumental in his drive to build his business. When I went to work at Carpenter’s Store in 1975, I was the third generation of the business. My grandmother was working there; my Uncle Charlie and his sister Rose were all there working on my first day of work. I grew up in a multi-generational business.
Question: What were some of the major developments in the business over time?
Answer: In 1978, my brother Paul joined the business of Carpenter and Carpenter CPAs with my dad. I joined the company in 1983, and then my brother Joe joined the firm in 1988. In 1987, we began to offer financial planning services, and over time, we have transitioned away from tax preparation and focused more on retirement income financial planning. My children, Dean and Lindsay, became licensed and joined the company in 2014, which gives us the opportunity to help clients today and continue to work with them throughout their future retirement years.
Question: How has your business evolved to what it is today?
Answer: In 1987, I decided that I was tired of looking through the rearview mirror of life, as accountants deal with accounting for the past. My desire to create the future led me to get my securities and insurance licenses and start recommending investments for our clients.
In 2014, Lindsay, my daughter, and Dean, my son, joined the company. I love working alongside my children, teaching them a business that has helped thousands of families for more than six decades.
Question: What’s most rewarding about your business?
Answer: It is a rewarding profession that lets us help hard-working people retire and ensure they have the resources to enjoy their next chapter.
Question: How broad is the territory reached by your products or services?
Answer: National. I am in 21 different states. What happens is people from Johnstown have moved away and I continue to work on the accounts. Clients have died, and many of the beneficiaries have told us their parents were very happy with our services, so we have continued working with the next generation even though they live in different states.
Question: What have been your biggest business challenges?
Answer: The great retirement challenge: being retired for 30 years, during which time prices will double. I am still excited to come in and try to help with this challenge we all face.
Question: What advice do you have for people who want to open and sustain a business in Johnstown?
Answer: To open a business in Johnstown, or anywhere, you have to offer something that is in demand. I always say, “The need is great,” meaning that we have expertise in an area that affects everybody. Sooner or later, every working adult will want to retire. We can help them. Sustaining the business is the important part, and you can only sustain a business by doing it the right way. To be in business in Johnstown for 70 years, you have to do things the right way and treat people the same way you would want to be treated.