In this interview from May 2017 – the first of our “Spotlight on the Team” interviews – Julianna Rote shares a little about her journey to becoming a Client Advisor.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
As a girl I thought the ultimate job was to be the woman on the Travel Channel who went all over the world visiting exotic places and the getting to talk about it on TV.
However, I always was interested in counting things, and money was something to count. I had a very systematic way of looking at things from a young age. Looking back, that was a good indicator that I was interested in finance. I remember as a child going on a bike ride and losing $12 out of my pocket. That was so much to me then, and so important, that I put up signs all over the neighborhood about it, hoping to get it back.
Also, my parents created this system for us as kids where we had little checkbooks. Each of us had a certain amount of money that we could use every month - and that was it! If I wanted anything – like a snack or some silly sticker or anything – I would have to write a check to my parents, and that would be drawn against my monthly balance. I guess you could say I was budgeting and cash-flow planning from a young age!
What made you decide to be a financial advisor?
When I learned that you could make money out of money ... that was extremely interesting to me. I knew that was something I wanted to do. So I interned for a friend over the summer at a financial services firm to find out more about it, and I got hooked on the idea of helping people figure out their finances. Once I have a feeling of what I want to do, I really do not deviate from that.
The thing is, there are lots of different types of firms that financial advisors can work for. For me, I have loved working for an independent RIA (Registered Investment Advisor) because we have no products to sell and no quotas to meet! As fiduciaries, we always put our clients’ interests first, so I feel really good about aligning myself with a company that takes such good care of our clients.
What would you say is a good process to becoming an advisor?
Find a team you connect with. It is about personal chemistry and trust, so find people who will let you participate in meetings so you can see what a financial advisor does on behalf of their clients. This could be either as an intern or as an entry-level employee. Expose yourself to advisors with varying backgrounds and years of experience - they have a different way of doing things and you can learn something from everybody. Some advisors are more numbers and performance oriented, while some are much more on the planning side. In general, though, you should have an affinity for finance and numbers.
Beyond that on-the-ground knowledge, you will also want to begin working toward the certifications and designations that are required in this industry. It’s very important to have the “book knowledge” and enhance it with practical experience in working with clients.
What is your favorite thing about investments and finance?
It really is so much more than numbers. You can look at bank statements or tax documents and see a blueprint of people’s lives. That leads to the important discussions and deeper personal relationships that make the job great. The money talk is a big part, but it can be a smaller part when you are getting to understand people’s motivations and life goals.
What’s been the hardest part of your training?
It’s not easy to become a financial advisor. You have to be interested enough to put in the time you need because you are constantly learning and the industry constantly changes. You must truly have the discipline it takes to sit down and study. I’m fortunate that I love the business. The hard part is making the decision to do it and then putting in the concerted effort it takes. It’s amazing to arrive at this point and see how much more I can learn and grow.
Now that your CFP® exam is behind you, what do you plan on doing with all your free time?
Right now I am in travel mode. I went to Palm Springs this past weekend; I also have Cabo and Chicago on the books later this year! I am currently planning a California coastal camping trip this summer. My gym membership was neglected, so I have been dusting that off as well.