At the young age of 12, Joseph Lombardi accompanied his father to Greenwich, where he was working on an elaborate home owned by a successful Wall Street businessman. Joe was so impressed with the property that he resolved then and there to pursue a career in finance. His determination to enter the field grew even stronger after witnessing his father fall three stories from a ladder—sustaining injuries that resulted in the loss of the multi-million-dollar company it had taken him decades to build. In hope of utilizing the knowledge he had gained through the hardships his family had suffered, he set out to help and protect the livelihoods of others. After graduating from Southern Connecticut State University with a bachelor’s degree in finance, he went on to hold positions with multiple leading firms—MetLife, MassMutual, Guardian, and Northwestern Mutual—searching out the top producers, working alongside them, and emulating them within the marketplace. Then, in October 2019, Joe leveraged his training and experience to establish his own company, IronHawk Financial, a privately held financial services firm based in Cheshire, CT. Specializing in buy/sell agreements and long-term care, life, and disability income insurances, he and his team serve much of the U.S.—including CA, FL, NY, and MA.
Over the course of Joe’s 16 years in the finance industry, he has won 27 awards, including the Super Starter Award and Fast Pace Award. He has also ranked in The President’s Club, Leader’s Club, or higher for 13 consecutive years. Although he is always appreciative of the recognitions he receives, Joe’s main objective is to provide protection, growth solutions, and financial security for as many clients, families, and business owners as possible. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with him to learn more about his background, his responsibilities as IronHawk’s managing partner, and the services the firm offers.
Please begin by telling us a bit more about the sequence of events that inspired you to join the financial industry.
My dad, the former owner of JV Lombardi Builders out of Fairfield, CT, gained full custody of me when I was 4 years old. As I grew up, he frequently took me to work with him, and that’s how I saw his accident. To make matters worse, he had no disability insurance, and we lost everything. Later on, my mom died at age 52 from Cirrhosis of the liver. Since she had no life insurance, my family and I were left on the hook to pay for her funeral expenses. Lastly, my grandmother suffered a stroke and developed dementia. Although she’d inherited almost $2 million from my grandfather (the former owner of Lombardi Masonry), she failed to obtain long-term care insurance. As a result, she lost all of her money to a nursing home. All of these situations not only taught me the importance of building a financial foundation, but they also gave me the determination to protect others from enduring those kinds of hardships. I share my family’s stories and warn people: “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” I don’t do my job for the money. I do it to help save people’s lives, to guide them in building wealth, and to make sure their children can go to college. I don’t want any of my clients to lose their homes or communities as a result of unforeseen circumstances.
When and how did you get your start in finance?
In 2006 at the age of 20, I started in sales—with no salary or hourly wages—at a small firm called Mass Mutual in Fairfield. I was still in school and bartending full time to pay my bills. After a year there, Northwestern hired me as a financial representative. For the next two years, I did a lot of grunt work—serving under a top professional, marketing myself, cold calling, and going after leads—all of which I needed to learn, but the job was difficult with low pay. Once I’d earned my degree and gained some experience, I was hired by MetLife who placed me into another training program where I learned even more. Then, through Barnum Financial Group, I was given a manager and a mentor who taught me the processes—what they did and how they did it. Throughout the 18 months that followed, I learned everything I could from the top 1% and then emulated it when I was approached by Charter Oak Financial in Farmington—another mass mutual but with a bigger agency and more resources. I worked for them from 2012 to 2015, serving high net worth contractors in the field, doing more complex planning, and getting increasingly more involved with higher net worth individuals. Then, the same guy who brought me into Charter Oaks started his own firm—Ageis Wealth Partners—an office of guardian life where I ranked as his top employee for years. After they were bought out by another firm, I realized the general agent role was no longer a fit for me, and I decided to start my own business.
How did you go about establishing IronHawk?
As a lifelong football fan and coach of 14 years, I took time to focus solely on building a strategic alliance. This was done in the same way I would build my own football team. I found partners (not employees) who have niches in law, accounting, insurance, banking, and mortgages so they could provide advice and help clients plan for their futures.
What are your responsibilities as managing partner?
I’ve essentially become a full-service financial consultant for my clients. If they need anything to do with investing, insurance, or legacy planning, one of our team members will take care of it. My primary responsibilities involve meeting with prospects and asking them to complete a fact finder, so I can gain a clear understanding of their assets, liabilities, incomes, goals, and fears. I then go over the short falls—whether it be life insurance, long-term care, retirement, investments, etc.—provide a quote for all of their insurances and devise a strategy. For example, I may set up a tax free, non-market correlated income stream pension to protects them now and in the future. This process not only ensures the happiness of my clients, but it also helps me to build long-term relationships with them.
Do you have any special designations or specialties you’d like to tell us about?
Currently, I am Series 6, 63, life & health, and property & casualty licensed while my team has Series 7 and other certifications. My niche market is blue collar businesses— roofers, arborists, masons, landscapers, plumbers, electricians, etc.—basically a sector of our society that usually has a healthy income but few assets and little to no protection. For the past 15 years, I’ve specialized in foundational planning, which involves educating and motivating clients to invest in their financial futures—college funds, retirement incomes, and long-term care plans as well as life, health, and disability insurances.
There are four main situations that can occur in people’s lives, and my job is to make sure my clients are protected through all of them:
Running out of money before the end of life
Dying early and leaving family behind
Needing long-term care
Focusing on protecting my clients’ incomes along with their families is our mission while making money for our clients is what makes us valuable in the marketplace.
Founder and Managing Partner
LinkedIn: Joseph Lombardi │IronHawk
Facebook: Joseph Lombardi │Ironhawk Financial
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