This article appears in the February issue of 400 Life.
David Fountain remembers one of his roles as a grandson was to do the little things for his grandparents: change a lightbulb, fix the VCR, even just provide some company.
Fountain has brought the same spirit to his career as a financial planner with Fountain Financial Advisors, the company he co-founded a decade ago to provide individuals, families and businesses with analysis and guidance to make smart financial decisions.
Yes, he gives clients advice about typical financial decisions — Should I downsize? Can I retire at 62? How do I eliminate my debt? — but those situations often come with complicated underlying issues.
Fountain doesn’t shy away from those issues. He takes them head-on with his clients.
“People don’t hire me for that, but that’s what we do for them to help them find clarity in their own life,” Fountain said.
Fountain has extended his giving spirit further. He recently joined the board of The Place of Forsyth County, a local nonprofit organization that provides financial emergency assistance, clothing, food and other support services to help people in need become self-sustaining.
Fountain talked with 400 LIFE about his first job, the best career advice he ever received and his favorite pizza toppings.
What was your first job?
“My parents owned a department store, Fountain’s Department Store, in West Palm Beach, Florida, and I was a stock boy. It was like a warehouse, so I just organized jeans and clothes and prepared them to ship to the different stores.
“You wanted to be there. It was more than just a family business. My friends worked there, too. So we had a big family, so to speak. It was fun.”
What’s the best career advice you have ever received?
“Putting other people first. That’s probably my main thing is not to think of myself first. You can ask any of my employees — they love working for me, because I put them first. It’s not about me, it’s about making them happy. Because if I’m not making them happy, then my clients aren’t going to be happy. I think it’s just a good cycle, that if you treat people right, then what goes around comes around.
“And then sticking to it for the long run. Not making quick changes. It’s not the way the world works.”
How do you unwind from a busy day?
“A drive in the car helps, but I usually want to get outside so my mind can think. I might go for a hike at Sawnee Mountain or go for a run on the Big Creek Greenway.”
People have started to know you for your food reviews through Fountain’s Food Adventures. You did your first one on pizza. But what’s your favorite food?
“The funny thing is pizza is my favorite food. That’s why it was a no-brainer to be the first one. But I like all food. I could go anywhere and be fine with any food. But my favorite food has always been pizza. My family is the same way. I just think of my childhood as baseball and pizza. We ate lots of pizza.”
“Sausage, pepperoni, onion and bacon is my family tradition. That’s kind of what we grew up on.”
How did you get involved with The Place of Forsyth County?
“I started helping them five years ago. We go to Browns Bridge Church, and my daughter got really involved there. We went through the ‘Be Rich’ campaign, and our project was The Place. We volunteered during the Holiday House, and I just loved it. Helping those families pick out gifts for their kids meant a lot to me. Now, I’m getting involved with their finances and helping them make decisions.
“I think it’s all about giving. When you achieve things, that’s great, but when you’re able to give back to others, it’s so different. A lot of people have to get there, but I think once you do, you really can live more.”