Full disclosure – I’m not that young anymore. I go to bed at 9:30 p.m., I have regular back pain, and I can officially say I’ve been studying finance for over a decade.
Perceptually though, I will be among the ranks of “young” financial advisors for the foreseeable future. While I’m not exactly a spring chicken anymore, I am young in comparison to this quickly-aging industry. Half of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®)s are older than 50. Only 5% are younger than 30…. And yes, I get to claim that demographic for just a hair longer.
Because of this lack of youthful (and female) representation in financial advising, people might come into this office expecting to see someone who looks more like Martin Sheen and less like their niece. I get it. Really – I do. I’m actually not even that bothered by it. Assuredly, I develop relationships with my clients built on mutual respect and trust. It takes time, and I am ok with that.
So, I thought I would use this opportunity to warmly tell you that it is ok to question ANYONE’S qualifications if they are providing advice on your money. In fact, I want you to.
Please, ask me about my education.
Ask me about my credentials and licenses.
Ask me about my work experience.
Ask me about our firm’s training.
Given the opportunity, when you ask me, here is what I would say:
Education – I have been learning about business from my own dad since I was a kid. I graduated as a double major in finance and human resources management in college. It gave me a nice mix of technical knowledge and care for people. I worked in the industry for a while before going back to school to earn my Certificate of Financial Planning.
Credentials – I passed the Series 65 which technically made me a registered investment advisor. However… I STILL HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING! While I had a lot of factual knowledge, I still had so much to learn about how to 1) give smart and prudent advice and 2) give the advice in a way that people actually follow it.
For even the most experienced and credentialed advisors, this is always a work in progress. There is always more to learn.
I went on to earn the CFP® certification, as I knew it would help communicate my extensive training, experience, and ethical standards. Read more about this “standard of excellence” HERE.
Experience – I’m not sure I can share more about my background than I already have in CFP®, Who Me?, so feel free to start there! To simply restate it, I was blessed to work in client services at a financial planning firm. I got to sit in every client meeting and soak up 4 years’ worth of financial planning expertise like a sponge. It was invaluable. When I transitioned into being an advisor, I learned from other true experts in the industry while I supported them as an associate advisor. Fast forward some years, and I get to spend some time on the other side of the table working with a new associate! (Welcome to the team, Chase Rose).
Firm’s Training – You’ll find that our firm’s policy is to have two advisors in client meetings. It helps prevent mistakes, squeeze more expertise into the room, allows for better record keeping, and also ensures great training.
Our financial planning team meets weekly to talk through specific client situations, improve our analysis, and keep up with ever-changing regulations. We can all come together and share our experiences from the last week to make our firm and ourselves better for our clients.
On your quest to find the perfect financial advisor, I wish you the best of luck. It will be a very long journey.
I’m convinced there is no financial advisor who is not subject to human error and even their own biases. It is for this reason I firmly believe you need to work with a financial planning team, not a single financial advisor.
Also, I’d like to list a few reasons you might consider giving a “young” advisor a chance:
1) We might be the only advisor you ever need to hire (do you want to start the search all over again when your advisor retires?
2) A younger advisor might have been trained by and have access to some of the best experts in the industry (spoiler – I have been and continue to be!).
I mean… have you heard of Tony Hixon, author of the Amazon best-selling book, Retirement Stepping Stones? Adam Zuercher, Investopedia Top 100 Financial Advisor for 2017, 2018, and 2020? Joshua Robb,co-host of The Invested Dad’s Podcast?
3) The younger generation has a knack for research and finding answers to complicated questions.
All in all, I want to end by reiterating that you are welcome to ask me why my team should be your financial advisors! It is not a taboo question. You deserve to know.