A key element to building trust is to be as available as possible. This reminds me of how and why I chose Hefren-Tillotson for an internship in my senior year of college, and why I decided to stay with a company who believes in their people, their culture, and in always doing the right thing for clients and employees.
I found Hefren-Tillotson in 2014. My interest was in finance, but I didn’t know what specific area. Being from Erie, I did an internship at Erie Bank in my junior year shadowing their banking departments. But what got my attention was they also had an investment team. I had always wanted to work with clients and, frankly, the stock market and investing were of interest to me. But my time was up for the summer.
Rather than return to the bank next year, I wanted to intern at a full service wealth management firm in a larger market. I had a list of the top firms in Pittsburgh and started calling them. Hefren-Tillotson was at the top of the list and one of the few to connect me to a real person. My call was forwarded to the HR director and we set up an interview. I was impressed and it felt good right from the start.
New Career, Education and Responsibilities Ahead
I was fortunate to intern directly with the Hefren-Tillotson CEO team. Kim Tillotson Fleming, my mentor, is amazing. She, and the leadership team, took the time to get to know me and were always available to me. Watching and listening to her and her team talk with clients they have known for decades convinced me just how important and impactful it is to help people and their families. I wanted to be part of Hefren. I just needed time and education.
After my summer internship, I set up meetings and lunches with everyone I could. I wanted to make it to the top of the list, and I knew that if I could get into Hefren’s internal apprenticeship program in their highly respected financial planning department, the background and education to succeed would be there.
This department does all the in-depth financial analysis and research to create financial plans for thousands of Hefren-Tillotson clients. To me, it was awesome to even think that I could be a part of that team when other places I researched didn’t provide such a culture of learning. And then, it became a reality.
At Hefren-Tillotson, it is education first. In addition to my full-time job, I spent my free time earning the CFP practitioner designation, Series 7, and other industry licenses. Having worked with advisors on their clients’ plans, I learned from those who were willing to share their thought processes and strategies. I saw what some of the best were doing and it motivated to do whatever was necessary. My long-range goal was to become a successful financial advisor. Other advisors were available to join me in meetings until I had gotten the necessary experience.
We Focus on the Client as an Individual, Not the Bottom Line
Perhaps there has never been a better time for young financial advisors to enter our profession. Today, fear and emotion are high and people need help. A young man or woman advisor with the education can show people quality plans that work, like our MASTERPLAN®, with an additional layer of support: Hefren’s 70-plus years of meticulous planning, sterling reputation and deep commitment to doing what’s right.
And like Hefren-Tillotson, who stays true to its vision, mission and purpose, I do too. When helping clients go through their transition to retirement, there is a lot on the line and even more pressure to get it right. So when we put a plan in front of a client, and explain that they need to do these five things and here is why, they get it. They know. The plan speaks for itself, and I feel good about that.
The Common Thread
As a featured speaker in many retirement seminars, I see a common thread that runs through them. Retirees who focus on the investment portion tend to lose sight of the larger financial decisions. Everything they’ve done leading up to retirement may have been right, but when they have to start spending down their retirement money, they must become more strategic. There is so much more that goes into a financial plan beyond just hoping that a successful retirement will last for several years.
I attribute my personal growth to helping retirees on my leaning on valued mentors and learning from their experiences. If I were mentoring prospective advisors today, my advice would be to learn from those who’ve already been down that road. They will need thick skin, a good work ethic, and excellent communication skills. And they must be as available as possible.
Building trust today also means being brave and open with people, and they with you. We all share similar experiences and we should be open and honest about what we go through, especially with finances. People who share the most with us get the most out of us.
What motivates me is how much we help people. Not only do we make sure they have money for themselves, to pass on to their families, to accomplish their goals and do what they want to do, but ultimately we make their lives easier.
If you need help setting a course, I can point you in the right direction. I am available to talk with you at 412-633-1709. Contact me today.