Norm Shirley was born with a keen sense for a good deal, and he developed a talent for investing. He founded CommonWealth in the early 1980s in the bedroom of his home in Marietta, Georgia. From these humble beginnings, the company grew quickly, aided by the popularity of tax-advantaged investments. By 1984, CommonWealth Financial Planners registered as an independent Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) firm. When President Reagan signed into law the Tax Reform Act of 1986, it immediately ended the benefits for tax shelters as an investment, which at the time represented a majority of CommonWealth’s revenues.
As a result, Norm and CommonWealth had to adapt to stay in business. Norm experienced firsthand the importance of diversification in any business, was able to steer the young company in the right direction. CommonWealth moved into an office in Dunwoody, Georgia, and joined with Investment Management & Research (IM&R), a broker/dealer that later became Raymond James Financial Services.
In late 2004, Norm and his wife Renee purchased ‘The Old Stone House’ in historic Roswell, Georgia, an original structure built between 1908-1910 out of Stone Mountain granite. The building went through a painstaking restoration, and in 2004 CommonWealth moved into the building on Canton Street.
Michael Agurkis joined the firm in 2005 and together with Norm, weathered the Great Recession of 2008. In the lows of the recession, the CommonWealth family expanded with the acquisition of Independent Wealth, a small boutique firm owned by Mary Faith Moser.
Norm retired from CommonWealth in late August 2019. He handed the reins to Michael, a 14-year veteran with the firm. Today, the CommonWealth front porch is the perfect spot to watch any of the wonderful events taking place in Roswell, from monthly Alive in Roswell evening gatherings, to the Youth Day Celebration Parade and the Historic Roswell Criterium & Cycling Festival. The porch swing has hosted many clients, friends, and family over the years, and the gardens are beautiful year-round.
Today, the principles that steered CommonWealth in its early days are still guiding us: the importance of diversification, adapting to the world around us, and planning for the unexpected help us serve our clients to the best of our abilities. We hope you’ll come see us when you’re ready to plan for your financial future.
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