When Ron Carson’s college football career at the University of Nebraska got sidelined by an injury in 1983, he quickly found another pursuit: selling life insurance. “I started cold-calling to get appointments,” he recalls. The few hundred bucks he made going door-to-door beat the grueling unpaid chores he did growing up on his family’s farm—and it didn’t leave his hands caked with grease.
He soon set his sights on becoming a certified financial planner. In 2011, after excelling at one firm, he formed Carson Wealth Management, now a powerhouse overseeing $7.4 billion for 1,553 clients. Many are executives or entrepreneurs who share his passions for aviation, wine, or Cornhusker football.
Carson favors small-cap, tech, energy, and health-care stocks, but considers Internet issues frothy. He has ventured into emerging-market debt and values alternative investments as diversifiers. He even has a fund devoted to distressed real estate.
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