Desperation kept forcing Chris Jackson, MBA ’18, EA, CFP, onto a path, so that he rarely felt he was making choices. He was trying to survive.
Bullied after third-graders learned he lived in foster care, he later made a decision as the new kid in Vista, California, that this time no one would find out. That limited his social life to school hours. He went out for theater mainly to stay at his high school in the evenings.
“I did a good job of not playing any sports, which I always wanted to do,” he said. “I didn’t want to be exposed.”
The result: He fell in love with sketch comedy and majored in theater (at UCLA).
Almost a decade ago, after college, he’d gone too long looking for work and was living out of his car. On landing his first position at a financial advisory firm, he told himself: “I’ve got to be good at this job, or I’m going to be homeless.”
“I passed one test at a time, read one book at a time, learned as fast as I could” to become a certified financial planner, said the strong academic performer.
The end result: Last year, Jackson founded Lionshare Partners, his own financial advising firm with 30 clients and $25 million in assets under management. Cal Lutheran’s online MBA program served as an opportunity to write the business and marketing plans.
Jackson found the footing to pursue other passions. He wasted no time in setting up his Heroes and Zeroes Initiative to help 1) widows and widowers of public safety workers, firefighters and veterans and 2) kids making the transition out of foster care.
Some children, he said, continue to hope they’ll be adopted well beyond the typical age. When they really need a plan to become independent. “Whether that’s school, a trade or the military, let’s get you on that path.”
Jackson is grateful to two families, the Bylers and the Bakers, who became his own at different phases. Two or three months before he finished high school, everyone found out about foster care. It was OK. A lot of people asked, “Why didn’t you tell us?” —Kevin Matthews