Virginia's top financial advisor offers words of wisdom

Radford University alumnus Steve Cassaday '76 made a bold statement minutes into his talk with College of Business and Economics (COBE) students.

"I'm going to show you today things that I think, if you're willing to do them and execute them, will transform your lives and make a profound difference for you," said Cassaday, president of Cassaday and Company Inc., and COBE's latest executive in residence "The little things that you do in your early 20s can translate into millions of dollars."

He immediately had everyone's attention.

When Virginia's top independent financial advisor speaks, everyone listens.

With all eyes and ears tuned in, Cassaday told students how they could be a "ridiculous success" by focusing on having "inviolable principles," integrity, by practicing good judgment, patience and fear.

Being a success, he said "is about being able to do scary things, big scary things. And being able to do those things is what makes Radford students special."

Through 40 years as a professional, Cassaday said he has hired numerous Radford graduates and he often turns to them when difficult tasks emerge at his company. "When I need something done, I go to my Radford grads," he said.


Steve Cassaday '76, speaking to students during his time as COBE Executive in Residence.

After the lecture, Cassaday took numerous questions from students eager to pick his brain for more words of wisdom and potential life-changing advice. In closing, Cassaday said the most important thing he has learned is "helping other people. Money can't buy that feeling."

He said the reason he came to campus for the lecture and meeting with students and faculty was to help. "I'm here because I want to help you guys. We're family. I'm a Radford grad."

Later, COBE Dean George Low spoke of the importance of Cassaday's visit and interaction with students and faculty.

"Steve Cassaday's visit as our most recent executive in residence was important because his success, as a Radford graduate, inspires confidence in our students, and motivates them to achieve anything they want to," Low said.

Stacie Mandaleris, a senior business marketing major from Virginia Beach, said Cassaday "left students with a newfound sense of security and confidence for life after college."

In 2014, Cassaday was listed as the top independent financial advisor in Virginia and 34th in the nation on Barron's magazine "2014 Top Independent Financial Advisors" list.

Barron's has ranked independent advisors since 2007 and Cassaday was included on the list each year. Criteria used to rank the firm includes the advisor's assets under management, quality of the practice, and the revenue that the advisor generates for their firm.

Previously, Cassaday was also ranked by Barron's as the "#1 Financial Advisor in Va."  Washingtonian magazine continually lists Cassaday as a "Best Financial Planner" in the D.C. metropolitan area. Northern Virginia magazine named him as a "Top Financial Professional" in 2012-14. Cassaday & Company was also recognized by the National Association of Board Certified Advisory Practices as a premier advisory practice in the greater Washington, D.C., area in 2011-14.

Cassaday and Company Inc. manages or supervises more than $1.6 billion for more than 1,000 households. Cassaday created the firm in 1993 to provide objective guidance to investors seeking advice about their financial situations.

Cassaday has been a dedicated alumni volunteer as a former member of the RU Board of Visitors and member of the College of Business and Economics Advisory Council. Throughout the years, he has spoken to business classes and given students advice about being successful in the "real world."

During the fall 2014 semester, COBE introduced the Executive in Residence initiative, a program designed to expose the college's students and faculty to current issues affecting today's business world.

Program organizers invite participating executives to visit campus for two or three days and engage with students, faculty and the campus community through such opportunities as classroom sessions and lectures, one-on-one meetings and campus-wide forums.

Apr 1, 2015