The mission of Wood Family Financial is to provide sound strategies designed for your greatest benefit. We strive to educate the client to eliminate the guesswork, often associated with investment planning, by providing clear information and recommendations.
We are a full-service financial advisory that is driven by one focused goal – to help clients grow, protect and transfer all they have worked so hard to achieve. How can we help you secure your financial future?
Meet Our Founder
Being a financial advisor runs in Houston Wood’s family. He followed in the footsteps of his father and older brother and has now been the industry for more than 40 years. His daughter, Chase Gower, has worked alongside her father for 15 years and they recently welcomed her husband, Evan, as partner.
Houston founded Wood Family Financial almost two decades ago with a mission to approach financial planning as educational. “People are smart enough to make their own decisions,” Houston says. “Our job is to teach them enough about their finances that they understand the why behind their different investments. The tagline I came up with to explain this is: ‘Educating clients to make educated decisions.’”
Houston began his career designing pensions, profit-sharing plans and 401(k)s for large businesses, and worked alongside attorneys and accountants to implement sizable estate plans for professionals and wealthy business owners. A large property and casualty agency approached him, and they started a separate company, which he built up and then sold after 11 years before starting Wood Family Financial.
Wood brings all of his experience to his clients, meeting with people to discuss the investments they own, why they own them, what they need money to do for them and when they will need it.
He teaches people about the pros and cons of various types of investments and the impact on their overall estate. “Every investment has its advantages and downsides,” he explains, “and we go over all of it.” Houston focuses on both safety and growth with his recommendations, and puts together full plans, ensuring clients also have estate documents in place. He estimates he’s created about 3,000 plans in his career.
Houston credits both his dad and his brother, and other “tremendous mentors” through the years, with helping him along the way. “I’ve now become a mentor myself,” he says. He began giving free financial education classes to the public 14 years ago to broaden his reach, and has taught at least 500 classes. “There are so many people who have not received the help they need…” he says.
When he’s not teaching clients or designing an investment plan, he plays golf, is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with his wife of 41 years, Claudia, and their two grandchildren.
Houston Wood | Managing Partner
Meet Our Team
Evan Gower is a partner with us here at GCES and is constantly working to help our postal clients and his clients at Wood Family Financial with their retirement plans.
Together with his wife, Chase, Evan is co-owner of Wood Family Financial, and they work with retirees all throughout the South preserving the legacy of Houston Wood. Houston was Evan’s father-in-law and mentor and the reason he first entered the business. “Houston provided me with the tools and guidance I needed to succeed as a financial planner. Chase and I are carrying on the family business as co-partners and partners in life,” Evan says.
Evan is most proud of the client relationships they retain at Wood Family Financial. Houston Wood’s father, Jasper, started the firm, eventually bringing in his two sons, Houston and Mike. Not only do Evan and Chase still help Jasper’s clients, but they serve the children and grandchildren of those clients. “This is very much a family-run business with a goal of helping families over multiple generations. That’s one of the things people absolutely love about us,” Evan says.
Wood Family Financial works with postal employees, schoolteachers and state employees in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky, but Evan spends equal time with employees from private companies. He approaches financial and retirement planning as a teacher, fully embracing the educational aspect of his job.
The firm places a majority of their focus on overseeing the existing clients, and they think that’s the best way to ensure that each person who trusts them is properly taken care of. “Our clients are hyperaware of what’s going on with their finances because we put a lot of energy into giving them the tools to understand what’s happening,” Evan says, adding, “Houston liked to say that anyone can make an informed decision if they have the right material to do so. We teach our clients how something works, then we can make an educated decision about whether or not it’s the right choice for them.”
The personal relationships are another aspect of Evan’s job that keep him motivated. If a client calls Wood Family Financial and Evan and Chase are unable to pick up, they make it a point to return the phone call the same day. They also place equal importance on every client, and Evan believes that clients with $10,000 need just as much attention as clients with a million dollars.
Though he enjoys the work that goes into the process of guiding his clients to retirement, his favorite part of his job is when someone gets to retire and spend the rest of their life chasing their own goals. “If anyone gets it, it’s me. I want to go fishing 24/7, too, so getting someone to the finish line is the most gratifying thing. I love watching them retire knowing that they’re properly set up for everything they worked all those years for,” Evan says.
Evan attended the University of Tennessee Knoxville for three years where he studied business administration and botany. He finished his education at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. Evan also has an extensive background in the security industry. As a financial advisor, he holds a life and health insurance license, and he works to ensure that client questions about insurance and retirement are answered completely and thoroughly. Evan is currently working toward his Series 65 license, which he expects to open even more doors and opportunities for his clients and their investing and retirement potential.
On the personal side, growing up in the South has turned Evan into an avid outdoorsman, and he spends the majority of his free time hunting, fishing and trapping. He and Chase have a son named Van and a daughter named Everleigh, and the four share a love for camping, using their free weekends to take their 1976 Airstream camper to new lake destinations.
The family uses part of their travel time to hunt down new additions to their collections. Every time they go to a new town, they hit flea markets, antique stores and any other shops that might sell old collectibles. Evan collects flags, and his personal travels and visits to small Southern towns help him add rare, unique pieces to his collection that he likely wouldn’t find anywhere else in the country. Some of his favorites are flags from the Lincoln era, local post offices or aircraft carriers in World War II.
Though Evan and Chase plan on letting their children choose their own path, Evan would love to see one of them take up the family mantle. Both Van and Everleigh have great heads on their shoulders, and Van effortlessly answers questions about what his parents do for a living. Just as it has been for the three generations, it’s in the Wood and Gower blood.
Mary-Chase Gower is a partner with us here at GCES and is the gasoline in the fuel tank of Wood Family Financial. She keeps the firm running in every area, fulfilling the needs of clients with zeal.
Though she took the last name of her husband and Wood Family Financial co-owner, Evan Gower, she has the Wood family blood. Chase’s grandfather started the firm, eventually bringing in her father and her uncle. She was hired to work for her father at the age of 15, making it her first job and plunging her into the family business.
Chase attended the University of Tennessee, then began to get her footing in the financial industry in 2002. She has since gained 20 years of experience in the field, constantly improving and refining her skills. One of her favorite things about Wood Family Financial is that she has clients who go back three generations. “My grandfather made connections with people, and now we have, not just their children, but their grandchildren as our clients,” she says.
After 20 years, Chase’s favorite parts of her job are the educational side of the financial industry and sharing her expertise with her clients. “The joke used to be, ‘Sign here, press hard, three copies.’ You just didn’t explain things. Now, with the right amount of explanation, people are smart enough to make their own decisions,” she says.
Wood Family Financial specializes in insurance annuities and tax strategies, but Chase loves the relationships she has built with people over the course of her career. “I have hour-long conversations with people about their dogs and their gardens,” she says. She values the financial aspect, but she also believes in the right balance between the business side and the personal side.
Chase isn’t a typical Nashville resident. She is Nashville-born and raised, as were her father and grandfather, so both her geographic roots and her business roots come from her family tree. “I’m a unicorn,” she says. “Anybody who lives in Nashville knows what that means and how uncommon it is.”
Chase and Evan met for the first time in their high school gym class. They began dating when she was a freshman in college, and they have now been married for more than 20 years. “We are like a John Mellencamp song,” Chase laughs.
The two have a son named Van and a daughter named Everleigh, and the four spend all of their time together. When they get a free weekend, they throw their two dachshunds, Gus and Beau, into their 1976 Airstream camper and hit the road to find a nice camping spot near a lake. Some of their favorite places to go are Disney World and Lake Eerie, and Chase has her eyes set on a trip out West in the future.
Each family member is also building a unique collection, and the four make their way to antique malls and estate sales when they travel. “It’s not hoarding,” Chase says. “It’s collecting.” Chase loves the hunt and collects lard containers, stained glass and Pendleton blankets. Her collections are displayed prominently in her home, right alongside Evan’s rarest finds. She also combines her hobbies, upholstering the entire camper with the Pendleton blankets.
At the end of the day, family comes first for Chase. After inheriting her father’s business and becoming a firm partner with her life partner, she continues to keep the Wood family flame alive. The legacy of her father, her grandfather and her uncle are extremely important to her, and she looks forward to maintaining three generations of relationships while also establishing brand new ones alongside her husband. She is excited about Wood Family Financial’s partnership with GCES moving forward.
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