Women CFP® Professionals: Share Your Stories

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Forums / CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative / Women CFP® Professionals: Share Your Stories

Women CFP® Professionals: Share Your Stories

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  1. CFP Board
    CFP Board avatar
    4 posts
    04/21/2014 2:29 PM
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    CFP Board is developing a “Faces of Women CFP® Professionals” campaign to showcase women leaders and practitioners in the profession and help promote financial planning careers and CFP® certification for women.  Share your story in this forum, or send us your story by email.

    • What led you to pursue a career in financial planning and attain the CFP® certification?
    • What challenges did you encounter and overcome? 
    • What elements of your previous careers or experience were most relevant to your career in financial planning?
    • What factors have been the most important to your career success? 
    • What has been the most rewarding part of your career as a CFP® professional?
    • What do you say to women who are considering entering the financial planning profession?
  2. Kerrie Debbs
    Kerrie Debbs avatar
    1 posts
    04/30/2014 4:54 PM in reply to CFP Board
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    My main thoughts from reading the survey (and there are more than I write here) center around, 1- the basic demanding culture of Certified Financial Planning and advising- period.  It is demanding both for women and men.  It can be (but is not in reality) more quantitative, so that chases lots of women away, as your survey found.  2- Also, I believe in my 26 years' experience there are a lot of sub-standard men in the profession (and very bright men too) which skews the numbers in favor of men overall, but that the proportion of quality women in the business to overall women is a much higher number than the respective proportion for men.  Women have traditionally had to jump through higher hoops than men to succeed.   3- Finally (and there is much more that went through my head), women themselves USED to be tough on fellow-women for selfish reasons.  Back in the early 1990’s, I experienced several (I remember them like it was yesterday) women who were super-mean to me because they felt threatened by a young, smart woman in the business and these “mean girls” enjoyed a great ratio amongst the men if the women were tough and did a good job.  So that has skewed the numbers against women historically…but that will change for the better- and has already!

    I am now a partner in an independent Financial Planning firm and gained my CFP(R) in 2008.

    Last modified on 04/30/2014 4:56 PM by Kerrie Debbs
  3. Michelle Buonincontri
    Michelle Buonincontri avatar
    1 posts
    04/21/2015 5:56 PM
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             After a successful career in Technology as a software developer and managing projects, I became disenchanted after all the mergers my bank went through, creating a distinct culture change. I know longer felt I was making a difference for my business clients on projects, as we then began managing to man-made
    projects dates rather than defining goals/objectives, developing and implementing solutions to support our client's success; repeatedly implementing projects that just didn’t meet the needs and expectations of clients. I looked for an area where I could use my transferrable skills and feel I was making an impact in the lives of individuals and families. Financial Planning was that area for me.

        Transitioning careers is hard, especially at 40. I needed to make contacts in the field of Financial Planning, learn about what I wanted for my career;  What would my niche be? Would I be fee-only, commission based or a hybrid? Would I do planning, investments, insurance?   Would I be a sole-practitioner or part of a team? Would I work for an RIA or a large firm? How would I connect with clients and grow a practice; Practice Management and Marketing were big concerns. There was much to learn. 

         The Financial Planning process is very similar to the Project Management  process and project lifecycle. I believe that previous skills developed  in client engagement, collaboration, problem solving, and strategic thinking are most relevant in my career in Financial Planning.
          I believe that building relationships and having passion for what I am called to do, have been the most important factors in my career success; relationships with colleagues, organizations, communities and individuals. The most rewarding part of my career as a CFP® professional has been knowing that I can be a
    contribution to community and positively impact the lives of individuals and families though my work.

          For women considering a career in Financial Planning; I would say that this is an opportunity to impact the lives of other women, their families and our communities. Get yourself a mentor and align yourself with liked-minded individuals and organizations like the Financial Planning Association and the CFP Board to support your success.

  4. Tiffany Polifka
    Tiffany Polifka avatar
    1 posts
    09/23/2015 4:18 PM
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    After graduating with my BSBA in 2005 I took a job in the back office of a Securities firm.  Like many graduates I was unsure what I wanted to do or who I wanted to work for.  After several years supporting Financial Advisors from the back office I made the move to the field as an assistant to an Advisor for Raymond James where I have been for the last seven years.   During this time I have taken my series 7, 66 and Life and Health exams and started to think about how I will make the transition to a self-supporting Financial Advisor.  It is here and now that I feel I have reached the biggest challenge in my career.  As I make the transition from a support role to an Advisory roll I have found there to be a lack of guidance and training material to support this transition.  My main reason for deciding to pursue the CFP designation is that I want to set myself apart from the many other financial advisors out there as I enter into a cut-throat field.  Currently I am on course six for the CFP exam and plan on testing in March of 2016.  I can’t speak to a lot of the questions addresses above as I have yet to obtain my CFP designation or to even make a comprehensive plan.  I would love to hear more from the women who have.  Especially regarding the struggles and how they overcame them.  I know that if I can get off the ground the rewarding part will be helping other achieve their goal and giving them peace of
    mind as they enter into retirement.   And though I am not able to yet, I would love to be able to reassure a women thinking of becoming CFP’s that though the road is long and bumpy that the ability to help others in the end will make it all worthwhile. 

4 posts, 0 featured