We've assembled what we think is a group of the brightest and most caring financial planners and investment professionals in the country. They each have an interesting personal story and reason they got into this business. We thought you'd like to get to know them a little better. (take a look at our NAPFA financial planner interview)
I grew up in Queens, New York. About 90% of my classmates were Jewish. So when I took a career aptitude test in high school, I was not expecting Mrs. Forrest, the school counselor, to review the results and say:
"Spencer, have you ever thought about becoming a priest?" "Uh, well, no." I said. "You're meant to counsel people on the most intimate aspects of their lives. It's either that or making maps. You scored high on cartography, too." Then she yelled into the hallway "Next!"
10 years later, I'm an MBA student at Wharton Business School. A friend suggests a new course called Financial and Estate Planning. He says the course requires strong math and analytical skills as well as excellent communication skills. Sounds great - I get to combine my love of the math and psychology courses I took at Brandeis! I am very excited.
The first day of the course I learn that a financial advisor needs to have integrity and keep confidential the many personal things told to him "like a priest receiving confession" as well as "plot out a client's life showing where they are now on the 'map' and how to navigate their destination." Yep, that fits. I am often the only person who knows which child will inherit the business and when my client is retiring. As a "mapmaker," I also help my clients see how they can be where they want to be right now, rather than in the distant future. I help people to wake up around money. I had dismissed and forgotten that career aptitude test long ago, but it was right on the mark.
Outside of work, my passions include
Cycling - I met my wife on a bicycle in the Canadian Rockies in the summer of 1993.
Meditation and yoga and Pilates are part of my daily practices to keep me balanced, centered, and calm.
Playing guitar – I just started playing again after a 40-year break.
Backpacking and hiking with my wife and kids.
One goal I'm saving for
A bike trip through Europe, Morocco, Turkey, and Thailand with my family. The kids are
helping by putting some of their weekly allowance in a trip fund box and watching it grow.
One thing I'm doing to help the planet
I joined the Pachamama Alliance Stewardship Circle. Pachamama empowers the indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest to preserve their lands and culture, and educates and inspires people everywhere to build a thriving, just, and sustainable world. The world's rainforests are invaluable sources of oxygen and medicine for much of the planet.
Primary way I'm advancing my career knowledge
Of course I take continuing education courses to stay current in my profession. But the most important way I develop my practice is by understanding myself and the conditioning I bring to money and decision-making. This was the genesis of The Cure for Money Madness, the book I wrote in 2009 about money and emotion, showing that unmanaged emotion (which I have witnessed in many clients) ends up producing very poor financial decisions and investment results.
Here's a talk a recently did at Ignite Sebastopol on the dirtiest word in the English Language, "Enough."
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