Growing up in southeast Ohio in a financially challenging environment forced Joshua Lake to find creative ways to bankroll his college education. The whole experience instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in him.
Today, the Wright State University alumnus runs his own financial services company that has managed $215 million in assets and served more than 600 households in the Dayton area and around the world. He was named to the 2021 Forbes Best-in-State Wealth Advisors list in Ohio, an honor that recognizes advisors who excel at helping clients achieve their long-term financial goals.
“It means a lot,” said Lake, who is quick to credit his co-workers. “I hope it gives our clients more confidence in what we do.”
In 2011, he purchased his own Ameriprise franchise. As CEO, he formed The Lake Group and in 2020 rebranded as Beyond Wealth Advisors, a private practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC.
The company has offices in the Dayton area, Richmond, Indiana, and northern Ohio. The staff includes four financial advisors, five staff members and five interns. About half of them have degrees from Wright State.
Lake himself specializes in advising military personnel, government employees and executives.
“I know quite a bit about the pension side of things,” he said. “I’ve also worked with a lot of widows and widowers over the years. I find that my personal experience of having lost a child and having another child with Down syndrome has made me very empathetic toward those situations.”
Lake said none of what he does would happen without the support of his wife, Jenny, who has a master’s degree in education from Wright State and has taught at the university.
“She’s just been my backbone this entire time,” he said. “She is advocating very, very strongly within our community for children with special needs.”
Lake has a diverse stable of advisors at his company. One has a background in day trading and helps with the company’s investment portfolio. Another develops financial plans for Millennials. Another is a certified divorce financial analyst.
“She works with a lot of couples who are going through that extremely hard process,” said Lake.
Lake tells his team to look at it like they are not just helping people, they’re saving them.
“We’re saving them from possible bad decisions somewhere along their personal timeline,” he said. “And we’re saving them from bad financial advice from other professionals. We like to work with clients that energize us, they kind of drive our purpose.”
Lake said that when he was looking for a college he fell in love with Wright State and the Dayton area’s rich history and involvement with aviation and the military. To help put himself through school he joined the Air Force National Guard.
“With an entrepreneurial spirit I knew I wanted to get into business and wanted to own my own business,” he said. “As I started to get into classes on finance and things on finance and math, they just always clicked for me.”
Lake embraced the Certified Financial Planning program. He studied tax planning, estate planning, investment management and other areas of financial planning.
“There are not many universities that offer a program to prepare you for the CFP and be ready with that when you come out,” he said. “I’ve even noticed as an employer over the years that if you’re trying to get students for internships, you’re going to have a lot of trouble getting Wright State students because they are already placed somewhere. The students come out ready to go, better than what I see at other universities.”
At Wright State, Lake participated in the Finance Club and was in the first class that used the Soin Trading Center, which features an actual stock ticker tape, computer software programs from leading investment information providers and real-time coverage of financial markets.
Lake credits Marlena Akhbari, Ph.D., associate professor and former chair of the Department of Finance and Financial Services, and Bill Wood, senior lecturer and coordinator of the Financial Services Degree Program, with helping him land internships, which included stints at Salomon Smith Barney and Ameriprise.
Lake said Wright State helped give him direction and married his entrepreneurial spirit with what he was good at.
“I was able to come right out of school and start writing financial plans for the advisor that I worked for right off the bat,” he said. “I’ve had students I’ve hired from other universities who can’t do that.”
Volunteering in the community is part of the culture at Beyond Wealth Advisors. Lake and his coworkers volunteer at several nonprofit organizations, including The Foodbank in Dayton. Lake’s parents have turned the family farm in Norwich, Ohio, into a therapeutic equestrian riding center for children with disabilities.
“Volunteering was just something my parents instilled in me, and I’m trying to pass it on to my team members,” he said.
Wood said Lake has a laser-focused commitment to his clients’ success, to a challenging, supportive and family-like working environment for his team and to giving back to the community.
“Josh is a great guy, a devoted family man and an outstanding financial advisor, one of Wright State’s finest unquestionably,” said Wood.