Senior Wealth Manager, Owner
An entrepreneurial spirit comes naturally to Chris Hobart, who opened his first business at age 9: the Hobart Café and Karaoke, a neighborhood restaurant located in his parents’ basement. Since then, Chris has continued to dream big, and it’s led him to his true calling of helping others dream big, too.
From guiding baby boomers through retirement to inspiring other financial planners, Chris has dedicated his life to helping others live with meaning and purpose and achieve their dreams. His passion for helping others has resulted in recognition from Senior Market Advisor and Retirement Advisor Magazine as one of the top five independent advisors shaping the industry. He also received Charlotte’s prestigious 40 under 40 award in 2015.
Chris is a highly-sought after coach and has taught his Gold Paper Clip philosophy to hundreds of world class financial advisors through mentoring, speaking and training programs. He’s been featured on a variety of well-known media outlets, including CNBC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, Forbes magazine and many more. Chris also appears regularly on the TV morning show Charlotte Today, and he’s the host of The Charlotte Retirement Report, a weekly financial educational TV program.
Chris and his wife, Renee, reside in Charlotte with their daughters, Sloane and Blythe. They are avid supporters of the performing arts, and they’re passionate about making arts education and musical theater accessible to all young people regardless of financial means. Chris enjoys traveling to remote locales such as Alaska, Wyoming and Canada, and he frequently escapes to the North Carolina mountains for some fly fishing.
Lead Wealth Advisor
As a Wealth Advisor, Andrew works closely with clients to develop customized financial strategies that incorporate asset allocation, financial management, retirement planning and succession planning. He also builds relationships with local CPAs and estate planning attorneys, enabling Hobart Financial Group to give clients a truly comprehensive, individual and holistic financial plan.
Andrew originally moved to Charlotte to open a restaurant, but quickly discovered it wasn’t his true calling. He wanted to help people in a bigger way – and knew that he could truly make a difference through financial advising. “I get to help people live their Bucket List Retirement,” he said. “Early in my career, I had this sense that retirement was essentially a permanent vacation with nothing to worry about. I quickly found out that retirement is the most significant, fundamental shift you will ever experience with your money which can be incredibly scary. Every day, I have the privilege of helping wonderful people navigate through the unknown.”
Andrew has been with Hobart Financial Group for nearly a decade, and his favorite part of the firm is its character. “Our clients choose to work with us because this is where you go to be part of a family, not a file in the cabinet,” he said. “I love working here because of the same reasons someone would choose to become our client: family values, passionate professionals, fun loving, genuine and ethical.”
Andrew’s free time is immersed in activities with his wife, Leslie-Ann, and their son, Easton. “Seeing the world again for the first time through his eyes has always been something I was told to expect,” he said, “but I did not understand how rewarding it would be.”
Corey Sunstrom, CFP®
Lead Wealth Advisor, Director of Financial Planning
In his role as Director of Financial Planning, Corey guides others in their financial lives and provides them with a better understanding of their financial picture. He works with clients to develop strategies for tax planning, estate and beneficiary planning, and income planning. Corey divides his time between meeting with clients and working behind the scenes to build retirement plans that stand the test of time.
Corey’s interest in the financial world was raised in college. During his first post-college job, he realized that managing finances took more dedication and effort than he had previously thought. “There were so many complexities that I hadn’t considered before,” said Corey. “I also realized that most people don’t understand the nuances associated with managing their money because they’re overwhelmed by the many nuances associated with finances.
While Corey enjoys teaching people about the process of saving, growing and passing money on to future generations, his favorite part of working at Hobart Financial Group is getting to know the clients. “There is so much to be learned through listening to others,” Corey said. “We have a unique opportunity to hear stories of success, adventure, love and grief. It is an honor to me that our clients open up that part of their lives to us.”
Corey and his wife, Stephanie, love to travel, checking new destinations off their list. Corey has his camera with him everywhere, capturing pictures of their adventures. The couple lives in Charlotte with their cat, Stevie, and their dogs, Dylan and Freddie.
Jacob Woodrum, CFP®
Lead Financial Advisor
Jacob Woodrum’s career in financial services was inspired early in life by his father, a business owner and investor who spurred Jacob’s interest in financial markets and how they work. Jacob carries this passion into his role as an associate advisor, and he enjoys guiding clients on the principles of finance, retirement planning and the financial markets.
Jacob has worked in financial services for six years. Prior to joining Hobart Financial Group, he was a banker for Wells Fargo, where he helped clients achieve financial success by providing education and understanding each client individual’s goals and dreams. During that time, he developed the critical communication skills that allow him to connect with clients on a personal level.
When working with retirees and pre-retirees, Jacob’s is guided by the philosophy of sowing, then reaping. “We make informed decisions about an investment now, with the hope of reaping the harvest in the future,” he said. “The hard work and value of making quality investments comes before reaping but sets you up for success. The need for financial planning advice has never been greater and is a big reason I come to work every day.”
Jacob and his wife, Allie, love exploring Charlotte, trying out new restaurants and walking or biking around the city. Jacob credits much of his success to family, and he and his wife love spending time with their families in Virginia and West Virginia.
Associate Financial Advisor
Mike Lacy joined the team in mid-2018 and brings 12 years of experience in the financial services industry. As an associate advisor, he meets with potential clients to uncover their needs and present the best recommendations to fit their unique circumstances. Mike does much of his work behind the scenes, including gathering and inputting information and ensuring that all paperwork is accurate and complete.
Growing up, Mike watched many of his friends’ families struggle financially, unprepared for financial emergencies and unable to retire. The experience made him realize that not only did he never want to be in that situation himself, he also wanted to help others avoid those same struggles. Mike’s goal is to encourage people when they’ve done well and support them with helpful strategies to improve the chance of success moving forward.
Mike notes that two things set the Hobart Financial Group apart. “Aside from the genuine care that is given to the people with whom we work, we make a point to plan for every phase of our clients’ financial lives,” he said. “Accumulation in a portfolio and appropriate investment strategy is important, but so is preparing for how that money will provide income … We help our clients plan and prepare for all of that.”
Mike moved to Charlotte in the summer of 2018 with his wife, Alex, and their daughter, Eleanor. They enjoy visiting new places and exploring the city. Outside of the office, Mike also spends his time cooking, golfing and cheering for the WVU Mountaineers.
Client Services Specialist, Chief Compliance Officer
Thomas Hamilton joined Hobart Financial Group in summer 2018, adding nearly 15 years of financial services experience to the team. As a Client Services Specialist, Thomas assists advisors and clients with paperwork, ensuring that information is complete and accurate. He also helps with inputting and analyzing data and has recently assumed responsibility for overseeing all compliance functions for the firm.
Thomas chose to pursue a career in financial planning in 2010 when he learned his parents were hit with a massive tax payments in 1998 after they were misguided by their financial advisor. This opened his eyes and he made it his personal mission to help others avoid misguided decisions in their financial lives.
According to Thomas, the best thing about working at Hobart Financial Group is its family environment. “It’s a close-knit firm with a small company atmosphere, but with the ability to do things in large scale,” Thomas said. “My opinion matters and the absence of ‘large corporate red tape’ is refreshing. The work each of us does every day is clearly helping both the firm and its clients be successful.”
Thomas and his wife, Jessica, have two kids, Caleb and Shelby, and one dog, Albus. Thomas loves spending time with his family, cooking, aquarium keeping, playing golf, and tinkering with electronics. He has also been known to binge watch Netflix and YouTube with his kids.
Renee Hobart’s work is vital to everyone at Hobart Financial Group. That’s because she’s responsible for making sure the firm runs like a well-oiled machine, and she oversees a variety of functions, including Human Resources, financial reporting, marketing, and more.
Before joining Hobart Financial Group, Renee was a pharmaceutical sales rep with Merck & Co. As a drug rep, she educated doctors and nurses on Merck’s product lines and provided patient samples.
Renee is excited to be part of the Hobart Financial Group team. “Although I’m on the sidelines, I’m passionate about getting to know our clients and watching our team sincerely do the best for our clients,” she said. “I believe in the mission and vision of what we do. My favorite part of working here is feeling purposeful, that we’re making a difference in clients’ lives.”
Renee enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, and attending theater productions. She is married to Chris, and they have two kids, Sloane and Blythe. They also have Arnold, a 15.5-year-old miniature dachshund.
Executive Assistant, Marketing Coordinator
As the executive assistant and marketing coordinator, Kim Collins juggles a variety of daily tasks. She’s charged with coordinating firm events, providing administrative support and making sure Chris Hobart knows exactly where he needs to be and when he needs to be there. Kim even helps with building management, making sure the office’s physical environment is inviting for both clients and staff.
In 2018, Kim relocated to Charlotte from Sarasota, FL, where she spent the last four years working as the event and marketing coordinator for a wealth management firm. But her work experience hasn’t been limited to just financial services. In fact, you might describe her background as eclectic. “I have been a cosmetologist, cemetery owner/manager, fire educator, and fire instructor,” Kim says. “So why not choose the financial industry, too?”
Kim lives with her daughter, Hannah, who also moved to Charlotte to attend college. She also has an Italian Greyhound mix, a rescue dog named Mia. When she’s not working, she enjoys entertaining friends and family and taking walks in the beautiful North Carolina weather.
Social Media Specialist
Heidi Clearman sees marketing as a valuable component of any organization – and using social media platforms is a crucial part of it. In her role, Heidi creates and utilizes Hobart Financial Group’s digital content, including video, graphics, and posts that promote the services and culture of the firm.
Before joining the team in 2018, Heidi worked for 20 years at a non-profit. There, she employed her attention to detail to oversee all aspects of event planning, from team management to marketing, implementation, organization and execution of events from start to finish.
Heidi enjoys working in the positive team dynamic she’s found at Hobart Financial Group, noting that it starts with Chris’s leadership. “There is something so inspiring about having a gifted leader who is a visionary but also deeply cares for his employees and clients,” she said. “HFG is unique in that it has a deep vein of integrity that translates into excellence in every area of the company."
Heidi and her husband, Stacy, have four children: Rachel, David, Joelle and Gabrielle. She frequently volunteers in the community, both at her children’s school and the church the family attends. Heidi is also dedicated to health and fitness and spends her free time at the gym.
Operations Specialist and Client Services Specialist
Wendy Casale believes preparation is key when it comes to providing excellent customer service. She does a variety of behind-the-scenes work at Hobart Financial, helping advisors prep for meetings and processing and tracking paperwork for new accounts. She also works with existing clients to make sure their service requests are handled in a timely, friendly manner.
Wendy’s interest in the industry was piqued during her very first college class, and led her into courses about economics, personal finance and marketing. Discussions about the potential retirement crisis facing Americans today and the importance of taking charge of your own retirement inspired her to pursue a career helping people plan for their future and make a positive impact on their financial picture.
Before joining the Hobart Financial team, Wendy gained a wealth of experience at larger financial institutions, Vanguard and Wells Fargo Advisors. The team at Hobart Financial “feels like a family,” she says. “If a team member sees that a process can be done better, opinions and ideas are genuinely heard.”
Wendy and her husband, Bobby, have three children, Victoria, Allison and Mila. The family loves visiting Freedom Park/Carowinds in the summer as well as trying new Charlotte restaurants and checking out live bands throughout the year.
Client Services Specialist
As a Client Services Specialist, Megan talks with new and existing clients throughout her day. Her various tasks including setting up new client accounts, processing client paperwork, and providing operational support to the firm.
Prior to joining the Hobart Financial Group in 2019, Megan worked for another financial services firm, where she worked primarily with dentists. During that time, she earned her Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™ (FPQP™) designation. “Nothing in life is scarier than eventual retirement and the financial worries that go along with it,” Megan said. “Anything I can do to alleviate those concerns is a great feeling. I love building personal relationships with clients and anticipating their needs.”
Megan lives in Fort Mill with her Maltese / Shih Tzu mix, Charlie. When she’s not ensuring every client gets the best experience possible, Megan enjoys trying out new restaurants in Charlotte, going to the movies, or curling up on the couch with a book and Charlie.
If you call Hobart Financial Group or visit the office, you’ll probably talk to Becky Rogers first. As the Receptionist, Becky manages calendars and schedules, calls clients with appointment reminders, and creates a comfortable environment for clients that she calls “Hobart Hospitality.”
Prior to joining Hobart Financial Group, Becky worked as Sr. Financial Administrator worked at South Charlotte Middle School for 12 years in various roles, including eight years as the financial administrative assistant, and she also worked as the receptionist and accounts payable coordinator for White Oak Skilled Nursing Facility in Waxhaw.
She may be good with numbers, but Becky has a heart for people. “I enjoy listening to everyone’s stories and sharing mine,” she said. “I am always amazed at people and how they make choices or deal with what is in front of them.
Becky and her husband, Wayne, recently moved back to the South Charlotte area with Belle, their rescued Pomeranian Chihuahua mix who has completely forgotten she’s a dog and not people. Between them, Wayne and Becky have three grown children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She is an avid reader, PBS Mysteries watcher, and Clemson sports fan.
Operations Manager and Client Services Specialist
Lynn has been a member of the Hobart Financial Group since 2016. In her dual roles as Operations Manager and Client Service Specialist, Lynn is overseeing day-to-day operations, processing new business, servicing existing clients, and coordinating events.
Building strong client relationships is Lynn’s passion, and she listens closely to every client’s individual needs and concerns to provide the highest level of client service. She uses her excellent administrative and communication skills not only in the office, but also in non-profit volunteer roles within the community, local schools and church. Lynn is a graduate of Wingate University with a Bachelor of Science degree in communications, and also holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Strayer University.
Lynn and her husband live in Mooresville and have two daughters who are currently in college. While much of her time is spent supporting her daughters’ activities, she also enjoys spending time with family and will find any excuse for a trip to the beach.