Two Cal State Fullerton students studying personal financial planning, Rachel Shin ’19 and Naomi Lambert ’19, were among a select group of students from across the U.S. to attend the LINC Conference, the annual TD Ameritrade financial advisor industry convention.
The event, held at the Manchester Grant Hyatt in downtown San Diego from Feb. 5 – 9, provided networking opportunities with top industry and business talent, insights into the life of financial planning professionals, and keynote presentations by such names as entrepreneur Robert Herjavec of “Shark Tank” fame and award-winning photographer Platon.
“I thought that successful people had the idea that what they are doing would be huge, but I discovered from hearing from the panelists that they found something they were passionate about, and it accidentally became huge,” says Shin, reflecting on the panel discussions, which included such high-level guests as the chief executives of Tesla and Whole Foods.
Networking with student peers from 30 public and private universities was another high point. “I can honestly say I made friends that I can grow with for life. We’re all in this profession and everyone was so friendly and intelligent,” says Shin. “It solidified that I truly want to be in this profession. I would get compliments that I was outgoing and have a good personality, and to have someone in the industry see that in me was very enriching.”
Lambert says she was impacted by the many perspectives about the industry that she gained from: “It allowed me to listen to their first hand experiences and words of advice. Professionally, I was able to network with these advisers; it was amazing hearing their words of encouragement because they are very open to hiring an intern or new adviser. This event opened a lot of doors and opportunities for myself and other students.”
As older generations retire and the need increases for financial planning professionals in all demographic groups, Lambert, who hopes to work for a major firm or start her own practice after holding entry-level positions, recognized a strong desire for young entrants to the field. “Most, if not all advisers are seeking young advisers who have emotional intelligence,” she says. “The topic of money itself can be a very emotional subject for many people, and it takes someone with very strong interpersonal skills to connect with them.”
Making Personal Financial Planning Accessible and Impactful
Shin, an intern with McCarthy Wealth Management in Newport Beach, is particularly passionate about assisting underprivileged consumers in developing financial plans, motivated by her own parents’ lack of retirement readiness.
“My initial purpose is to help my parents, but there are hundreds of thousands of families just like mine, struggling with the same challenges, but do not have access to the knowledge that personal financial planning brings,” she says. “I want to take my knowledge, simplify it, and spread it to help others, teaching them about financial literacy. There is a lot of power in our knowledge.”
Recognizing the need for financial planning in the lives of today’s young professionals, Shin hopes to make an impact on millennial and Generation Z consumers. “I am blessed with the ability to connect with people my age, so I want to find a way to put it in terms they can understand,” she says. “Storytelling is very impactful, but we often do not have access to this. I would like to be part of a project to share the stories of people who have been transformed by this industry.”
Shin wants to work for Abacus Wealth Partners LLC, a Santa Monica-based financial advising firm seeking to make the power of personal financial planning accessible to the demographic and economic diversity of today’s society.
“If you have an urge to help people and are strong in business, the personal financial planning field is for you,” says Shin. “In many finance sectors, customers come and go quickly. This field is very personal.”
For More on Personal Financial Planning
Cal State Fullerton’s CFP Board-registered Professional Certificate in Personal Financial Planning Program, offered through the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, prepares students to become professional, competent and ethical personal financial planners. The program is ranked by Financial Planning as one of the nation’s top-tier personal financial planning programs.