Neil S. Henning
I have been affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network® since 2002 but I started in the financial services industry over 35 years ago. I have gained much experience over the years and I carry some important life lessons with me daily.
I grew up as the oldest of three children. My mom immigrated from Scotland when she was 16 by herself, and my dad’s mom was an immigrant from Norway. Life Lesson One: Don’t be afraid of change.
I grew up in Piscataway, New Jersey, which at the time was mostly farmland. I learned to play the accordion because my parents belonged to a Scandinavian Club and the accordion was a popular instrument at the club festivities. In high school, I played the saxophone in the marching band and the Jazz Rock ensemble. Life Lesson Two: In order to excel at something, you need to practice daily.
At college, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, I joined the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, where I made some lifelong friendships. In 1987, I married my wife, Robyn Cooper Henning. She works at Ferris High School in Jersey City as a crisis counselor and supervises their drama club. Together, we raised three wonderful girls. Samantha, our oldest, who graduated from DePaul University in Chicago, is an aspiring actor in Los Angeles. Our daughter Kirsten is a graduate of North Carolina State and is a director of e-commerce for Southtree. Our youngest, Pamela, is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and is now pursuing her master's degree in counseling at Hunter College in Manhattan. Life Lesson Three: Time flies so don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today, but plan for the future.
Besides raising kids, my wife and I foster dogs, placing over a dozen dogs with new owners including Charlie, who we adopted. I feel it is important to give back to the community, so I joined the Nutley Freemasons and am the Past Master of that lodge. The Freemasons pride themselves on making good men better and helping them to become leaders in the community.
In my town, I was the past president of Nutley Family Service Bureau, an organization that was founded in 1913 and has gone through many changes over the years. This unique organization provides family mental health counseling and runs a food pantry in town. Life Lesson Four: Live life with purpose and always strive to improve yourself.
For pleasure, my wife and I enjoy traveling to different countries, enjoying the food, drink, and people of the world. Besides the many locales in the United States, we have been fortunate to be able to take one trip a year to another country. So far we have visited Norway, Scotland, England, Portugal, Netherlands, Morocco, South Africa, Mexico, Bermuda, Aruba, St. John, Puerto Rico, Barbados, and Spain. Traveling has been such an education for us as we are exposed to different customs, food, languages, products, and history. It also, at times, brings us out of our comfort zone, which makes us a little stronger.
The very best thing about our travels is the people we converse with, hearing their stories and what they like and dislike about their own countries. That being said, it also makes us appreciate what we have in the United States of America even more. Life Lesson Five: There is always someone who is smarter than you, more successful than you, and more fortunate than you; however, there is also someone who would jump at the chance to change places with you. Be grateful for what you have.
I have a few hobbies as well. I am the president of the Jersey Association of Gamers, a group of about 50 people who meet twice a month to play all different kinds of heavy board games. To date, I have played around 400 different and unique board games. These games can take anywhere from a half-hour to 12 hours to play. Learning the rules and strategies keeps me mentally sharp, and, at the same time, I have fun. I also get together once or twice a month with a group to work and operate on different prototypical HO model train layouts. But, my passion for cooking is probably what those around me enjoy the most. I love to experiment with all types of cuisines that my family and friends are happy to indulge in. Let me know if you’d like to have one of my recipes! Life Lesson Six: Try to have balance in your life. Business, family, community, fun.
Named to the 2022 list of Five Star Wealth Managers
The Five Star Wealth Manager award, administered by Crescendo Business Services, LLC (dba FiveStar Professional), is based on 10 objective criteria. Eligibility criteria – required: 1. Credentialed as a registered investment adviser or a registered investment adviser representative; 2. Actively licensed as a registered investment adviser or as a principal of a registered investment adviser firm for a minimum of 5 years; 3. Favorable regulatory and complaint history review (As defined by Five Star Professional, the wealth manager has not; A. Been subject to a regulatory action that resulted in a license being suspended or revoked, or payment of a fine; B. Had more than a total of three settled or pending complaints filed against them and/or a total of five settled, pending, dismissed or denied complaints with any regulatory authority or Five Star Professional’s consumer complaint process. Unfavorable feedback may have been discovered through a check of complaints registered with a regulatory authority or complaints registered through Five Star Professional’s consumer complaint process; feedback may not be representative of any one client’s experience; C. Individually contributed to a financial settlement of a customer complaint; D. Filed for personal bankruptcy within the past 11 years; E. Been terminated from a financial services firm within the past 11 years; F. Been convicted of a felony); 4. Fulfilled their firm review based on internal standards; 5. Accepting new clients. Evaluation criteria – considered: 6. One-year client retention rate; 7. Five-year client retention rate; 8. Non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered; 9. Number of client households served; 10. Education and professional designations. Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of Five Star Wealth Managers. Award does not evaluate quality of services provided to clients. Once awarded, wealth managers may purchase additional profile ad space or promotional products. The Five Star award is not indicative of the wealth manager’s future performance. Wealth managers may or may not use discretion in their practice and therefore may not manage their client’s assets. The inclusion of a wealth manager on the Five Star Wealth Manager list should not be construed as an endorsement of the wealth manager by Five Star Professional or this publication. Working with a Five Star Wealth Manager or any wealth manager is no guarantee as to future investment success, nor is there any guarantee that the selected wealth managers will be awarded this accomplishment by Five Star Professional in the future. For more information on the Five Star award and the research/selection methodology, go to fivestarprofessional.com. 6,380 New Jersey-area wealth managers were considered for the award; 431 (7% of candidates) were named 2022 Five Star Wealth Managers. 2021: 6,123 considered, 459 winners; 2020: 6,210 considered, 480 winners; 2019: 6,097 considered, 477 winners; 2018: 4,383 considered, 415 winners; 2017: 3,868 considered, 664 winners; 2016: 4,143 considered, 626 winners; 2015: 5,063 considered, 672 winners; 2014: 3,315 considered, 646 winners; 2013: 4,049 considered, 733 winners; 2012: 1,312 considered, 400 winners.