Our January team spotlight is on Client Advisor Brian Sottak, who recently achieved his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation (CFP®). Brian is a Chartered Financial Analyst® as well, and in his role at Mission Wealth he creates tailored financial strategies and offers advice on estate planning and risk management. In this interview, Brian discusses the rewarding experience he has gained from working with his clients, how he likes to spend his time outside of Mission Wealth and what a day on the job looks like for him.
What are a few childhood experiences you had that formed who you are today?
I moved around quite a bit growing up. My father was a General in the Army, moving every two years to a new military base became just a normal part of life. I was born in Kentucky and lived in Maryland, Hawaii, and Atlanta before my family retired to Santa Barbara. Constantly having to get acclimated to new surroundings, to make new friends, and to adapt, even at a young age, has helped me through many walks of life.
How do you like to spend time outside of Mission Wealth?
A large part of my decision to move back to Santa Barbara a few years ago was to spend more time with my family. When I’m not working I’m usually spending quality time with my wife Christina, our puppy Charlie, and both of our families. Golfing, beach runs, hiking, cooking, and being active in the community with family and friends keep us busy.
Are you a raving fan of anything – like a sports team or band or school?
After living in San Francisco for 11 years, I’m a big fan of the Golden State Warriors.
Tell us more about your dog.
We have an Australian Labradoodle puppy named Charlie. He has quite the personality, he’ll play fetch literally for hours, and he resembles Chewbacca.
What’s something interesting that people don’t know about you?
I’m a car fanatic, always have been, and always will be.
If you could offer any advice to your younger self, what would it be?
There’s no substitute for hard work, you can do whatever you set your mind to, but do take time enjoy the moment and routinely reward yourself for your hard work.
What do you think makes you well-suited for your current role?
I’m a very detail-orientated person, I enjoy multi-tasking in the sense of managing many different things at once, and I love the global markets. Educating myself on our endless world of investment opportunities has always been a passion of mine. Getting the opportunity to use my skillset and my passion to help individuals and families navigate their future is such an invaluable and rewarding experience.
What does a day of work look like to you?
Wake up early and check the overnight markets; get good grasp of what will be driving the U.S. markets for the day. Respond to overnight emails. Take Charlie for a walk. Head to the gym for a workout. Get into the office and check all of my clients’ portfolios. Try to knock out a few items on the never-ending to-do list, and squeeze in at least 2 meetings before lunch. My afternoons usually consist of at least 2 more meetings and lots of projects, with the underlying goal of always trying to stay ahead of the curve for all things related to each of my clients. Late evenings working on presentations and analysis are regular occurrences, but when you enjoy what you’re doing, it makes the long hours enjoyable and meaningful. Usually we’ll have a late dinner downtown or Christina will cook up a great dinner at the house. Then I’ll catch up with family and friends, do some reading, and if I’m lucky watch part of a movie or documentary before bed.
What are your favorite kinds of clients to work with and why?
I really enjoy working with clients that like learning about the markets and being educated on their investments. Being able to educate clients and their families (children, parents, etc.) allows them to pass along their wealth and knowledge for generations to come.
What do you think are the most important things people can do to improve their finances?
Don’t push off getting your finances organized. Get all of your accounts in order, and get your money invested and working for you. Compounding is an invaluable part of investing that will allow you to retire and pass along wealth to your future generations.
What is a subject or area of finance that not many people know a lot about, but understanding it could really help their financial picture?
Understanding the value of building a portfolio beyond the scope of just a few of the largest and most popular stocks; instead building a globally diversified portfolio across all major markets and asset classes will dramatically reduce the volatility of your portfolio, increasing your risk-adjusted returns.
What are some important things to consider when choosing a financial planner?
Picking a financial planner is not an easy process, in my eyes, here are the five most important things to look for:
- Trust - you need to know that your advisor will be your fiduciary, your advocate, and will always have your best interests at heart
- Detail-Oriented – your financial planner should have the capacity and the ability to go well beyond the scope of just surface-level discussions
- Holistic Approach – your advisor should not only look at your portfolio in isolation, but instead should be making investment decisions holistically across all aspects of your balance sheet
- Investment Savvy – your advisor should know your portfolio and the market intimately, and be able to educate you on all investment related strategies/concepts/news across the globe
- Personality match – your financial planner should be someone you get along with well, someone you feel comfortable calling any time for advice, and that you can see yourself working with for a long time.