The spotlight is on Jeff Avila for the month of April. A new client advisor with Mission Wealth, Jeff joined because he wanted to be a part of the firm’s culture of focusing on helping clients improve their financial outcomes. Jeff, who is a California native and a father of two teenagers, prides himself on his ability to go above and beyond to serve his clients.
What are a few childhood experiences you had that formed who you are today?
I watched my father struggle as a farmer in the California's Central Valley during the mid-1980s while I was in high school. I learned that no matter how skilled or how hard you worked, sometimes luck was involved. It shaped my future in that I learned you must take calculated risks in life and at all costs, you should love what you do. My father loved farming despite the challenges of weather, commodities prices and hard physical labor. I am fortunate that I love what I do, and even though the stock market can be unpredictable, I don’t have to rely on the weather in order to help people or feed my family.
How do you like to spend time outside of Mission Wealth?
I enjoy spending time with my family. When I’m not shuttling the girls to sporting events or theater performances, you can find me on a hike, at the beach or going to a show (theater or movies). I have also recently picked up the card game bridge and find it to be a great teacher of humility.
Are you a raving fan of anything – like a sports team or band or school?
I can’t say that I am a raving fan of any sports team. I tend to always root for the underdog and love a good comeback story. "Rocky" is one of my all-time favorite films.
Do you have any pets?
I have a dog named Otis who we rescued 5 years ago. He has huge ears and always has a tennis ball in his mouth. We also have two cats - Charlie and Roo - and one goldfish that has yet to be named. I’m open to suggestions.
What’s something interesting that people don’t know about you?
I grew up in the Central Valley of California within a large Portuguese community. My grandparents are from the Azores Islands, which are about 900 miles east of Portugal. My father was 1 of 16 children. Family values were very predominant in my youth and still are today.
If you could offer any advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Don’t be so hard on yourself, listen to your inner voice and spend more time nurturing friendships. Unfortunately, I don’t know if he would listen.
At Mission Wealth we talk to people all the time about what their goals and aspirations are. So what’s on your bucket list?
With teenage girls in my home, I am focused on giving them the tools, support and guidance to attend college and enter the work force as strong, independent, self-assured young women. I also would like to become more involved in youth charities and travel with my best friend and spouse.
Are you a part of any organizations? Tell us more about it.
I am a member of the Santa Barbara Estate Planning Council. It is a national chapter that promotes excellence in estate planning by continual education in four disciplines of finance; CPAs, trust officers, estate planning attorneys and CFP® designees. I learn something every time I attend, and I have made lifelong friends who share the same passion.
What do you think makes you well-suited for your current role?
I tend to be someone who wants to help in any way I can. My willingness to take on a tough projects - go above and beyond for my clients and make sure they are happy with the outcome - is in my nature.
Is there something about your personality that guides your approach?
I have always been able to easily put myself in another’s shoes. My strong sense of empathy guides me in the advice I give my clients
What does a day of work look like to you?
I start my morning getting abreast of the markets, answering emails and preparing for my meetings. In the afternoon I am in client or internal meetings. I wind down the day by preparing for the next day’s meetings, returning phone calls and emails. I also manage to sprinkle in a little fun now and then.
What are your favorite kinds of clients to work with and why?
I enjoy working with a variety of clients. It forces me to stay current and push myself to solve for problems across many generations, industries and lifestyles. I feel I can have the greatest impact on those clients who are within 5 years of retirement. Little things make a big difference and that is satisfying to be a part of.
You are new to Mission Wealth. What makes the firm a good fit for you?
By far the culture of focusing on helping clients to improve their outcomes makes Mission Wealth a perfect fit for me. This is in addition to the energy in the office to expand upon an age-old service model and increase every advisor's knowledge in the industry. It's great.
What do you think are the most important things people can do to improve their finances?
Create and monitor a budget. In my experience many people have no idea where they spend their money. They know how much their mortgage is or car payment but not where the other 70% is going. Creating a budget, keeping an eye on it and allowing for fun activities like travel or entertainment can reduce stress and open your eyes to areas that may need extra attention.
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?
Behavioral Finance is finally starting to get its day in the sun but has a long ways to go to gain mass acceptance. The emotions we have around money can severely inhibit or ability to succeed in investing and even in our personal relationships. Understanding your behavior and habits around wealth can be powerful and enlightening.
What are some important things to consider when choosing a financial planner?
You should feel comfortable with your advisor and be able to ask them the tough questions and expect honest answers. A trustworthy open line of communication is more important than a fancy spreadsheet.