Financial Planning Should Not Be Prejudice


Financial Planning Should Not Be Prejudice

As you may or may not know, a little over a year ago, I left a successful and growing financial planning practice at a large retail advisory firm to start my own company. My mission was simple. I wanted to provide financial planning to those who didn’t have the assets to attract a traditional financial planner.

In my previous firm, if you didn’t have $250,000 or more in assets for me to manage, I couldn’t consider you a client. What was worse than the assets, though, is that I didn’t have the tools or resources to help anyone beyond investing or financing large investments like homes or boats. The whole industry is built around managing wealth.

I will never forget the look on the face of my former boss when I told him I was leaving, he looked at me like I had grown three heads right in front of him, and he said, “You are going to help people with no money?” He shook his head and said that he couldn’t force me to stay and he would support me if he could. I personally think he didn’t want me to stay because he was convinced I lost my mind.

Clients Come In All Shapes and Sizes

Fast forward a year, and I am thankful that I didn’t listen to my naysayers and stick with people with money exclusively. Except for four of my new clients, none of my other clients would have been considered client material in my previous firm. I don’t think one of my peers would even take a meeting with them. I have shared client success stories on the blog before, but it hurts my heart to think about where these clients would be if they didn’t have someone to turn to.

I have met clients of all shapes and sizes, but last week was a new one for me. Last week, I spoke to a new client who is only 18 years old. She is a senior in high school and just found out that she got into her college of choice. Her parents will not have the funds to pay for all of school and she isn’t eligible for most of the scholarships through her school. In addition to all of this, she wants to take a summer internship next summer that will help in her the long run, but will not pay in the short run.

We spoke on the phone for an hour and discussed the steps that she should take to find scholarships from alternative sources as well as how she can save and plan for this summer opportunity. If she takes the advice I gave her and makes the changes we discussed, she will dramatically change the course of her life for the better. Most of the financial troubles my clients are now in, started when they were 18 and went to college. It’s tough to deal with financial situations in hindsight, which makes me hopeful for what this new client will accomplish.

The Future of Financial Planning

I love financial planning, but hate that it’s prejudice to age and wealth. I understand the financial planning model and know that clients with wealth need help; however, there are so many others who don’t have wealth and need planning and guidance.

I believe that the future of financial planning lies in wealth generation rather than wealth management, and I plan to be a part of this revolution.

Financial planning is not for everyone; however, I believe that it should be available to anyone, especially in the format that they want to receive it and not just through apps and websites. I will share more in future posts, but my primary business goal in 2015 is to make financial planning more accessible and less prejudice. Hopefully there will be a day soon where other 18-year-old clients can get the advice and guidance they need to change the course of their financial journey.

Image Source: Stuart Miles

Do you work with a financial planner? Do you wish you could work with a financial planner?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.

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