I’ve noticed a lot of friends on social media posting photos of themselves from ten years ago and today as part of the trending “10-year challenge.” This got me thinking about how my life has transformed in the last decade and I would like to share a little about how I’ve gotten to where I am today from where I was ten years ago.
In 2009, I left Ameriprise to join a group office affiliated with LPL Financial. It was supposed to be this perfect coalition of 5 solo advisors collaborating to align different skill sets and provide a higher level of service through a team based approach. But during my time at this office, I was only asked to provide support for the lead partner and his clients. (Apparently, my youth and gender were obstacles to my being accepted as an equal partner.) Eventually, I realized I needed more of a challenge and an opportunity to grow. So, I decided to build my own financial planning business! I loved being a financial advisor so I focused my energies on 2 specific areas of development:
1) Going back to school to get my CFP designation to prove to everyone who questioned my age and knowledge that I was committed to this profession and was the best in class.
2) Concentrating on my favorite part of the job - meeting with and taking care of my clients - which had taken a back door to the work of the group office.
Deep down I just knew that if I focused on these two areas, the rest would fall into place - and the last decade has been a testament to that.
I am happy to report that I earned my CFP designation in 2012 and started my own firm, SMB Financial Strategies. Today I serve 72 families and $30 million in brokerage and advisory assets through LPL Financial. Most importantly, I have deepened my relationships with my clients, having helped them navigate through various life milestones. In turn, they have helped me build a community by referring their friends and family. I am proud to share that there is no one client that doesn’t know at least 2 or 3 other clients and I look forward to continuing to build this community in years to come.
Here is what else I am looking forward to in the coming decade:
- Building a support team so I can spend less time on administrative functions and more on face-to-face meetings with my clients and professional development.
- Working with the next generation – my client’s children and grandchildren. While some advisors would argue that it is a waste of time and implement a minimum investable asset policy, I feel the exact opposite. These children and grandchildren are the ultimate beneficiaries of all the planning that I have done with my clients over the last 14 years so I want to keep that momentum going!
- Contributing to the Women in Finance movement - not just financial literacy and advocacy, but also by encouraging more women to join this male-dominated industry. I’ve had the opportunity to partner with LPL’s Diversity & Inclusion team as well as my alma mater, Boston University, to work on different initiatives with this goal in mind.
Before I wish you a wonderful holiday season & the very best in 2020, I would also like to share all the changes in my personal life over the past decade. In May of 2012, I was fortunate enough to marry my best friend and biggest advocate, Albert Barsoumian. In November 2014, we became a family by welcoming Samuel and were blessed again in 2016 with the birth of our (almost) Christmas baby Christian on December 26th. Other highlights over the past decade include my 30th birthday trip to Paris – something I have looked forward to for a long time (Al likes to joke that he will never ask me again what I would like to do for my birthday!); Matron of Honor at my sister’s wedding in 2017; and becoming a proud aunt and a godparent to my beautiful niece Zabel!
In conclusion, I invite you to take some time to reflect on your last decade. How did it frame the person you are today? What changes did you make in your life based on your experiences? And most importantly, what do you want the next 10 years to look like? Clients, I welcome you to share these thoughts and ideas with me at our next meeting.
May you have a wonderful Holiday Season and a happy, fulfilling New Year to kick off your next decade of success!