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2013 40 Under 40 Honoree: Stephen Evans

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Last edited 2:15 p.m., March 12, 2013

If being a leader requires a person to take on risk and step ahead of the pack, then few could argue that Stephen Evans knows what it takes.

Evans has distinguished himself as a financial adviser by becoming a Certified Financial Planner, and he’s distinguished himself further by starting his own financial planning firm. Evans, 33, launched Evans Wealth Planning LLC in 2008, ahead of the country’s worst economic downturn since The Great Depression.

“I’ve always perceived a leader as someone who has faith in the risks they take,” Evans says.

The move to start his own firm, he says, came from a desire to make sure he could better serve his clients by custom-fitting products to their needs and keeping overhead low.

“When venturing out and becoming independent, I had no idea if I would fail or succeed,” says Evans, who worked previously at Waddell & Reed. “It has proven to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.

“I am able to do what I do best, please clients and help them obtain their financial goals.”

He says a relationship with Ozark Bank, in particular, has helped the business take off. Evans worked with the bank President Scott Harris to expand its product offerings, training staff, loan officers and bank managers individually. The new insurance and investment options have benefited customers at the bank’s four branches, Ozark Bank’s bottom line and Evans Wealth Planning, he says.

“Allowing myself to lead others through this challenging time, I was able to survive the recession and grow my business year after year,” Evans says, adding it has grown by more than 200 percent each year.

Through Community Partnership of the Ozarks’ CASH – Come and See How – Program, Evans has used his financial knowledge beyond the business desk to assist those who do not have the ability to pay for financial advice. He’s volunteered his services to the program for three years to help others escape the cycle of poverty.

Evans, whose family has lived in the Springfield area for 150 years, says his deep roots in the community have encouraged him to actively give back. Besides his work with the CASH Program, he serves on the Greene County Estate Council’s Spring Social, and assists his wife, Brooke, a case manager with Big Brothers Big Sisters. He also is the treasurer of Champion Athletes, helping to organize the group’s trivia night.

The entrepreneur also enjoys buying and managing rental properties, something he’s done since the age of 24 through two businesses. Today, he owns Normal Properties LLC, and is partnering with his brother to add more properties to its footprint in 2013.

“I believe my drive to grow my wealth and create security for my family is something that sets me apart,” Evans says. “My name is on my door and I’m out there branding myself. I’m not using a big name to build credibility.”

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