Why I Became a Financial Advisor 

By Emily Parent

We’ve all been there. We’ve seen that friend, relative, neighbor or co-worker struggle — like, really struggle — to get out of a financial hole (may not have been completely their doing but still could have been prevented). We wonder what we could have done differently or if we could have helped. Sometimes people shy away from assisting others in such a personal endeavor, but what if we can make an immense difference in people’s lives?

After watching my mom struggle to understand basic finances when life threw her a curveball, I started to doubt my own knowledge on the subject and worry about my own future in addition to hers. The idea of advancing my financial savvy and feeling in control of my financial future peaked my interest, but what could I really do to improve my knowledge and comfort with money? It was my longtime friend and soccer teammate, Craig, who approached me about coming to work with him as a financial advisor. I didn’t think twice; this was my opportunity to learn and help others.

More than Numbers, It’s About the People

I came from a job in corporate accounting where I sat at a desk all day crunching numbers for a known but very boring purpose. Sometimes I still crunch numbers, but now I can look an actual human being in the eyes and listen to their story. While I may not solve all their problems, I alleviate one major one: Fear of the financial unknown.

Yes, being a financial advisor is a career and way to make a living, but it’s also much more for me and my colleagues at Interactive Financial Advisors. It’s a way to genuinely help people. A way to provide piece of mind, that extra assurance that it’ll all be ok in the end. After all, there’s not much we can do in life without money, so we’re adding incredible value to our clients’ lives if we can help them to manage their money properly. I don’t know a single person who couldn’t use our help. It’s our job to help them see they just can’t live without us.

The most fulfilling aspect of being an advisor is knowing that all the hard work you’ve put in has accomplished something, and you’ve really helped someone. It may be as simple as creating a budget for a client that they actually stick to and see the benefits of. Or as life-changing as helping a client save for their lifelong dream of owning their own home or putting their kid through college debt-free. Of course, sometimes it does not go as planned, and your advice may go in one ear and out the other. For me it’s worth the effort to try. When you help a client set a goal for their financial needs and they attain it… man, what a feeling!

Becoming Someone Who CARES™

Finding an organization that is truly out to help the clients was one of my major considerations entering the industry. I wanted to be a part of an organization that didn’t take advantage of an individual’s lack of financial knowledge or innocence. My personal goal was to be an advisor that always puts my clients’ best interests first, even if it’s less rewarding for me.

In order to do that you have to get to know each client at more than a basic level. And that takes a dedication and approach that focuses on relationship development and customer-centric process.

I chose to become an advisor with Interactive Financial Advisors because of their customer-first approach. Their motto is Someone Who CARES™ — which is exactly what I want to be. I want to care about each and every client that crosses my path and be backed by an RIA that allows me to do so. It was critical for me to be with an organization that would provide me with the skills and knowledge to do this to the best of my ability, and to do it right.

Authentic Partnership

Interactive Financial Advisors is a firm that encourages that personal connection. They know that we can’t be truly successful on this journey and do what’s best for people without building a trusting relationship. And they’ll make sure they help you every step of the way.

They host multiple training meetings throughout the month. They provide hands-on training to any advisor who is looking to learn something new or to brush-up on their expertise. They have provided the instruction I need to succeed at my job, which ultimately pays off for my clients and the people around me that I’m obligated to help.

I had no interest in being part of a gigantic organization where I would be one in a thousand. I wanted to be part of an institution where people know me by name, a place where I have a voice. Even as a brand-new advisor that (let’s be honest) didn’t know anything, I’ve been surprised at how my input has not only been appreciated, but sought after. For me, that’s an indicator of a place that’s not afraid to think outside the box and provide an experience that is unique and welcoming. The family atmosphere surrounding the firm aligns with my approach to advising and delivers value to my clients.

I didn’t know exactly what I was getting into when I started on my journey into financial advising, but I’m certainly glad I gave it a chance and became someone who cares for my clients.

Advisor Fast Facts

Who: Emily Parent

Firm: Shenandoah Financial Advisors

Joined Interactive Financial Advisors: 2016

Location: Winchester, VA