Wealth Management Head Ford Serves As Keynote Speaker at Black Excellence Awards

The sold-out event honored high-school students, Vietnam vets and local leaders
Apr 8, 2024 9:30 AM ET
" "
Scott Ford, President of Wealth Management at U.S. Bank.

Originally published on U.S. Bank company blog

As a young man fresh out of college, Scott Ford fancied himself having an expensive car, going on nice vacations, living the “good life.” But, he said, reality quickly set in when he started paying his own rent and buying groceries.

As a cold caller with a well-known financial institution, and later as a bank branch manager, he learned a lot about money quickly. What struck him most, he said, was that the people who had the most money weren’t the ones with flashy cars or expensive homes.

“They worked hard, saved for a rainy day, made simple investments – not get-rich-quick schemes – and spent less than they made,” he said. 

He realized that the things he thought he valued had changed. Instead of focusing on the things he wanted now, he had learned the value of saving for the future and helping his own family financially.

Ford – who is now the President of Wealth Management at U.S. Bank – spoke about his values around finances at the 39th annual Black Excellence Awards on Feb. 23 in Milwaukee. He was the keynote speaker at the event, which honored 12 high-school seniors and recipients of the Louvenia Johnson scholarship; 30 corporate trailblazers, including U.S. Bank Wisconsin Market Leader Nina Johnson; and 12 Vietnam War veterans. More than 800 people attended the sold-out event.

The Black Excellence Awards were created in 1985 by a group of Milwaukee citizens to honor the city’s unsung heroes and to raise funds for the Louvenia Johnson Scholarship Fund.

The theme of the evening’s event was “Value, Values and Excellence: Making Your Assets Count.” Ford talked about how to identify values around money and the importance of creating and building wealth for Black Americans. He also discussed six ways to build wealth, learned from his years as a financial advisor.

In addition to speaking at the event, Ford met with several influential leaders in the community to discuss some of the biggest issues facing Black Americans in Milwaukee right now, including high inflation, the cost of housing and record-high student loan debt.

“I became a financial advisor because I wanted to help people access the resources and information they need to talk about money, build wealth, and pass it on to their children or to their community,” Ford said. “That was my hope for everyone at the awards, and for anyone else who wants to create or build wealth.”

Scott Ford’s tips for building wealth

Maybe you can only do one of these to start and add on as your financial circumstances change, but the important thing is: Just. Get. Started.

1. You are your most important asset. Invest in yourself: in your education, in your ability to earn a living. It will pay dividends over your lifetime.

2. Pay yourself first. Whatever your income, set aside the same amount every week or month. Make it automatic if you can.

3. Save for a rainy day. According to a recent SecureSave survey, 63% of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $500 expense. You don’t want to put that on your credit card if you can avoid it: If you owe $10,000 on your credit card and pay $200 a month (18% interest rate) it will take you decades to pay it off.

4. Don’t buy bills. Consider prioritizing appreciating assets vs. big ticket items that depreciate. Warren Buffett still lives in the same house he bought in 1958.

5. Have goals around what you are trying to accomplish financially. Think about your longer-term goals (retirement) and shorter-term goals (buying a home).

6. It’s not timing the market, it’s time IN the market. Growth over time is probably the biggest thing I try to tell people. Start early. Time is on your side.

Related resources:

· Scott Ford’s interview with MKE Connect in Milwaukee on how Black Americans can build wealth

· Scott Ford’s interview local Milwaukee TV