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When I Grow Up...

When I Grow Up...

| June 02, 2021

It had to happen. You’re young & nervous. Eyes as wide as saucers.

It’s the first day of residency.

Your stomach quivers with a mix of excitement & anticipation. You feel the pressure. The real world closing in on you. Less studying and more of a focus on patients. Only another three years until you are in practice.

Can you remember that feeling?

You are deluged with new patients, new colleagues, & new mentors. It’s a revolving door- turnstile after turnstile of rotation after rotation.

I’ve been through a similar process myself.

When I first entered into the financial planning business, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I was so eager to learn and spread the gospel of finance.

I started out as an intern my senior year in college for a very small independent financial planning office in Seattle, WA. Thank goodness it was only five minutes away from my college, Seattle Pacific University.

As a matter of fact, there were only four of us there. My boss & the financial advisor, Vivienne, Sylvia the receptionist, & Kari the administrative assistant.

It didn’t take me very long to figure out that when I grow up, I wanted to be just like Vivienne.

She had an amazing practice. She owned the building that she officed in and rented the other two units. She had hundreds of clients. She had loads and loads of energy and loved what she did.

She was like a freight train- once she got chugging, she couldn’t be stopped. She’d barrel through the day with focus and determination, and most importantly the inner desire to help those she served.

Even more amazing, she practiced what she preached. She was debt-free and cash-flow rich.

You see, Vivienne used to be a teacher working in the Seattle Public School System. As she started having babies and was raising her family, she stopped her day job. Her husband was the bread winner.

The story didn’t stop there. There’s more…

The kids started growing older & she yearned to get back to work, but need a part-time job and hated the pay of being a teacher.

She got her MBA and then her CFP credentials. It turns out that financial planning was the perfect fit for her. She could work part-time and mold her schedule around her family. She started working with people that were just like her- public school teachers. She built her whole career on standing up for the “little guy”.

She would work with someone whether they had $1,000 or $1,000,000.

I admired her tenacity and energy, her willpower and drive.

Even more so, I admired her because she stuck to her tried-and-true philosophy. “Steady and slow wins the race”.

As a matter of fact, she became an avid collector of anything associated with a turtle. She had glass turtles, plastic turtles, green turtles, rainbow turtles, and turtles of every shape and size. They were everywhere in her office!

I want to be just like Vivienne when I grow up!

You want to know something really sad?

Many supposed financial advisors & planners, are the worst savers I know. Many are chronically in debt. They suffer from horrible cash flow.

I swore I would never be like them and instead be like Vivienne.

To be completely honest, while I love and admire many, many aspects to her personality and practice- there are many things we don’t agree on.

For example, she is a product of her time. She’s stuck in the 1980’s and 1990’s. She uses loaded mutual funds (i.e. A shares) and primarily uses only one company (American Funds).

Today, I work with clients in either assets under management or an hourly/flat fee. I use a whole variety of different companies- whatever is the best & cheapest. I’m not tied to one company or the other and will pivot on a moment’s notice.

I also like using the new-fangled technology to focus on cash flows and retirement planning. For years, she stuck to a fairly basic balance sheet and program that was entangled in Microsoft Access.

She has kept her practice pretty low key. I am aiming for a higher profile & a bigger platform.

Also, I’ve focused on a different investment philosophy as well- using both tactical & strategic asset allocation depending on the client.

Nonetheless, she is my hero! As a matter of fact, she is still working today. I don’t know her exact age- but she has to be pushing 80- been in the financial services business since 1982 and was a teacher before that. She has to be retiring soon???

Not only is she working, but she works with energy and passion- still today. Her voice is vibrant & filled with excitement & energy. We get together every so often and I am amazed.

I am aiming to do many of the accomplishments my greatest mentor has done.

I want to own the real estate that my practice is located in and I want to be completely debt free.

I want to have so much energy at nearly 80 years that I am bouncing off the walls and still able to work & enjoy it.

And most importantly, I want to walk in integrity- doing the things I recommend to others.

What about you? Who are your mentors and what are lessons you have learned from them? E-mail me with your stories. I’d love to hear them!


Advisory services through Capital Advisory Group Advisory Services LLC and securities through United Planners Financial Services of America, a Limited Partnership. Member FINRA and SIPC. The Capital Advisory Group Advisory Services, LLC (CAG) and United Planners Financial Services are not affiliated.

The views expressed are those of the presenter and may not reflect the views of United Planners Financial Services. Material discussed is meant to provide general information and it is not to be construed as specific investment, tax, or legal advice. Individual needs vary & require consideration of your unique objectives & financial situation.