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Going back to move forward 

Tennis legend Arthur Ashe once said, “success is a journey, not a destination.” — a phrase I have found especially applicable to building a business. 

In every industry, there could be millions of scenarios for how people achieve success. I know from having clients who are doctors, lawyers and business owners that no two took the same path to end up where they are now. 

I have a similar story. Early in my career as an advisor, I was with Lincoln before choosing to move to a different broker-dealer. At the time, I felt it was the right decision for my business. 13 years late, I find myself back where I started – but that’s a good thing. Sometimes you need to go backward to move forward. When I stop to think about my main reasons for coming back to Lincoln, there are three things that stick out to me: the people, programs and professional development. 


I developed many valuable relationships during my first stint with Lincoln. Bonds I maintained even while I was gone and these relationships helped convince me to check out Lincoln again.

Even though I was excited about rejoining the organization, coming back to Lincoln seemed like a big task. I had continued to grow my business while I was away, and I was skeptical about how the transition would go. To assuage concerns like these, Lincoln offers a 90-day transition program, with support from dedicated consultants, to guide this process.

Once the transition was complete, it was wonderful to be back on the Lincoln team with its outstanding advisors and network of local, regional and national support. I still consult with a lot of my colleagues, and it is great to consider them mentors, friends and even golf buddies. Lincoln’s advisor-centric culture shows me that Lincoln is looking out for my firm’s best interests. When I have this support, I know I can deliver exceptional service to my clients.


13 years ago, the innovative technology investments broker-dealers now apply to their service models weren’t essential for success. Seamless technological integrations and digital systems that could improve my business processes were advantages that I missed out on while I was away from Lincoln.

Over time, I realized I had a need for a turnkey solution that not only offered a vast array of exceptional investment products, but also satisfied my clients’ growing expectations of a digital experience. I have not found an equivalent program elsewhere. Leveraging Lincoln’s technology helps my practice manage our business needs efficiently and connect with our clients more intimately. Ultimately, this helps us deliver the highest quality of service to them.

Professional development

It is not uncommon for broker-dealers to host various conferences and advisor-led forums throughout the year. However, from my experience, what sets Lincoln’s training and networking events apart is the quality of the programs.

Twice a year, advisors flock to a destination to hear from trailblazing industry leaders and financial services sponsors. I am surprised at how much I learn each time, and I always walk away feeling inspired and motivated to accomplish more. The camaraderie I feel from seeing familiar faces combined with the perspective provided by some of the biggest names in the industry always makes these events worth attending.

Lincoln also provides opportunities for staff and planners’ assistants, which give me the sense that Lincoln is looking out for my practice in its entirety. Usually after the fall training session for advisors, support staff are trained on the latest technologies and other industry hot topics. This reinvigorates my staff members and equips them to better serve our clients, and that is of the utmost importance.

Step-by-step, my financial services journey has led me back to where I started, even though I was able to continue moving forward throughout. With support from Lincoln, I am better able to help my firm and our clients define our own success.

Learn more about my journey and why I came back to move forward.

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Gary K. Hager, CFP – Founder & President, Integrated Wealth Management

Gary is the President and Founder of Integrated Wealth Management, a firm that provides comprehensive financial planning, asset management programs, investment planning and insurance, and is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Gary is an innovative force in the financial planning field. For over two decades, he has taken a progressive approach in serving physicians, affluent business owners, families and individuals. As an outgrowth of Gary’s emphasis on holistic financial planning, he has developed a system for investment success called the Hub and Spoke™ Wealth Integration model. 

Lincoln Financial Network is the marketing name for Lincoln Financial Securities Corporation and Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., broker/dealer’s (Member's SIPC) and affiliates of Lincoln Financial Group. Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliates.