Alum 40 under 40 winner fulfills his dream of helping others achieve financial literacy
Spencer Carpenter IV was 23 when he started out in the finance industry, and by 26 was working 50-plus-hour weeks to help his clients manage their assets. Despite his work effort, as a first-time homeowner and newly married father with a young son, he knew that furthering his education past his bachelor’s degree would help enhance his career. A self-described “dreamer,” Carpenter’s professional goal was to be a financial advisor and help others fulfill their dreams of financial security. He believed an MBA could help make that happen.
Now, 11 years after completing his MBA at University of Phoenix, Carpenter is well into his career as a private financial advisor vice president at Truist (formerly SunTrust Investments Services, Inc.) in North Palm Beach. He was recently named one of Legacy South Florida Magazine’s 2020 “40 Under 40: Black Leaders of Today and Tomorrow,” an honor based on leadership within the community.
Carpenter believes the hard work he put forth and his MBA helped fulfill his goals.
“Dreams related to finances can manifest if you have the right strategy and someone who can help guide you,” said Carpenter, 38. “University of Phoenix did right by me.”
Carpenter said he appreciates the opportunity he has to help others realize their goals. Whether it’s assisting his clients with growing their wealth for an earmarked project or managing their wealth through retirement, his goals are fulfilled when his clients are on track to meet theirs.
He credits the MBA program as part of the reason for his success, namely the group projects that were embedded in the coursework. In addition to the curricular knowledge he gained, Carpenter said he learned to work with and on behalf of others and develop strategies that apply to both businesses and individuals.
It isn’t just theoretical learning, he said. It’s what real life is all about.
“What you learn about working with others in those interactions is crucial to success,” Carpenter said.
He also learned resilience in the program, by understanding that situations often don’t go as planned, and learning to thrive in uncertain circumstances. For instance, when Carpenter started out in the finance industry, he worked for a small, regional bank. The bank he worked for was sold, challenging him to adjust to the new investment firm’s practices, and transitioning his existing clients while working with new clients.
He believes the fact that he had earned his MBA and is a team player likely played a key role in this success. He recently experienced another merger when SunTrust and BB&T merged to become Truist, where he remains a private financial advisor.
Whatever the role with whatever the company, Carpenter said, he takes the same approach with all interactions: giving them his full attention. He believes that’s the key to true job satisfaction.
“I treat every client as if they’re the only client I have,” he said.
In addition to his job, Carpenter serves as a mentor for a Florida university’s business college. He enjoys connecting with students who are in the same place he was 11 years ago, offering advice and support from his experiences. He also owns and manages rental properties — another opportunity to help people by taking care of the roofs over their heads.
Carpenter’s brother, John, said Spencer has always worked well with friends and colleagues and supported others along the way. He wasn’t surprised when his brother was recognized for his work and leadership.
“Spencer gets real satisfaction out of being able to help others accomplish their goals,” John said.
Even when he was growing up, John recalls his brother looked out for others. He describes being raised in a loving, supportive home, moving from Michigan to Florida for a new opportunity. John said his brother was his role model when it came to pursuing a degree in higher education.
John is now one class away from earning his MBA from a college in Florida. He said he watched his brother work his way through school in a profession deeply affected by the financial crisis at that time. It inspired him to push forward for his own advanced degree.
He is very proud of his brother’s accomplishments, John said.
“He’s creating generational wealth for his family and helps those of different classes and demographics,” he said. “He’s helped many people in the community on his journey — the underprivileged, the affluent and everyone in between.”
Carpenter said he hopes his educational journey will inspire others to take the leap to realize their dreams.
“You’ll create lifelong bonds and knowledge through the program. It has helped put me where I am today,” he said. “Work hard in silence, let success make the noise.”