Ashley Ott, CFP®, AIF®, accomplice at Vantage Point Financial, joined her agency in 2012 in a brief function as a shopper providers supervisor. Being on the time a current graduate with a psychology diploma from Harvard College, she rapidly realized she cherished working with purchasers and was delighted to transition to a full-time worker. Vantage Level Monetary, a agency devoted to gender steadiness, purchasers’ schooling, and unbiased monetary recommendation, was the right match for Ashley’s targets and keenness for serving to individuals. With the assist and mentorship of Vantage Level’s president and founder, David Griswold, she launched into an academic journey in economics, finance, and investments, ultimately incomes her trade designations and partnership function.
When talking with Ashley, I discovered that her ardour for partaking with individuals nonetheless runs robust, each professionally and personally. Under, she shares her experiences as a lady and next-gen adviser and the way her agency has managed by the continued pandemic.
Q: What strengths do you convey to the desk as a lady and next-gen advisor?
A: Millennial ladies are beginning to take management of their monetary futures and handle their very own cash and property. I see this mindset in my present shopper base, which might be about 15 p.c millennials. Lots of my next-gen purchasers are ladies who’ve so much in widespread with me. They’re shopping for houses, having kids, and beginning to concentrate on the monetary safety of their households.
Being a lady advisor who shares these experiences is a large bonus in onboarding purchasers and growing long-term relationships. Many ladies, whether or not youthful or older, are extra snug talking with a lady advisor. Total, in my expertise, our ladies purchasers discover it empowering to work with one other girl.
Q: What’s a very powerful recommendation you’d give to a younger advisor?
A: To anybody beginning on this enterprise, I’d say don’t be afraid to fail and take each alternative to fulfill individuals. Once I entered the workforce 10 years in the past, I used to be afraid of failing and hesitant to leap at alternatives. I used to be particularly afraid of public talking. A method I received by this was to show a category in primary finance as an adjunct professor at Boston College—one thing I did for a number of semesters. I advised my college students that standing up there and speaking was a nerve-wracking expertise. Telling my college students that with all honesty whereas standing in entrance of them helped me work by my fears.
Q: How does your enterprise mannequin show you how to steadiness work and household life?
A: I really love what we do as advisors—serving to purchasers obtain their targets. However I additionally love the flexibleness this enterprise gives. A couple of years in the past, I opened a department workplace in Seattle, Washington, to enhance our predominant workplace in Boston, Massachusetts. My purpose was to spend extra time with my husband, who performs soccer for the Seattle Seahawks. Now, I work at home not solely due to COVID-19 but additionally so I can see my seven-month-old son all through the day. Once I took day off for maternity go away, our purchasers have been excited and cheered me on. Since then, I’ve turn into much more enthusiastic about my work and the chance to assist younger households make sensible, assured, and educated monetary selections.
Q: How did the pandemic have an effect on your enterprise?
A: Surprisingly, our enterprise thrived—2020 was the agency’s strongest progress yr to this point. From the beginning of the pandemic, we noticed elevated demand for monetary planning. For a lot of purchasers, the lockdowns have been a possibility to take a superb take a look at their funds. They lastly had the time to sit down down and make a monetary assessment a precedence. Many consumers even loved it! Regardless of the uncertainty, they appreciated the prospect to trace how they have been doing financially in opposition to their targets and actually dive into total planning.
Q: Did your agency’s use of expertise change in 2020?
A: As a result of our enterprise mannequin, my colleagues and I have been already snug utilizing Zoom nicely earlier than the pandemic hit. We’ve got places of work on each coasts—I’m primarily positioned in Seattle, and my accomplice relies in Boston. We’ve got a license to function in 26 states, so Zoom expertise was excellent for connecting with our associates and purchasers throughout the nation. We started to make use of Zoom greater than three years in the past. So that you would possibly say our agency was as prepared as potential for the large shift to digital.
One change, although, is that I’m beginning to do digital networking and prospecting. Earlier than the pandemic, I organized Finance 101 conferences for teams of 5 to 10 ladies at somebody’s house. We’d have wine and cheese and get to know one another. I’d share ideas and primary data about monetary planning, with no questions thought-about too easy. Due to the pandemic, I’ve began holding conferences like this on Zoom. It’s a superb choice for now and would possibly generate purchasers similar to the in-person conferences did.
Q: How did your purchasers reply to the adjustments final yr?
A: Earlier than the pandemic, the vast majority of purchasers most well-liked to fulfill in individual. With the lockdowns in place, convincing purchasers to make use of Zoom received so much simpler, after all. However as soon as they received began, Zoom’s comfort and ease made a number of converts. I’m certain some purchasers will need to proceed assembly nearly.
Q: How do you keep related together with your neighborhood?
A: I used to be a hockey participant when rising up and all through faculty. Earlier than the pandemic, I loved supporting younger individuals within the sport by teaching youth hockey at two native faculties. And, additionally pre-pandemic, I stored my aggressive hearth up by taking part in a neighborhood males’s hockey league, which has just one different girl participant. The camaraderie I’ve skilled with my teammates has been an actual eye-opener, demonstrating how a lot males take pleasure in sharing tales about their households and private issues. It’s a standard misperception to suppose solely ladies are focused on exploring their emotional sides.
Q: Why do you stick with Commonwealth?
A: I can sum that up in a number of phrases: the Commonwealth neighborhood. Commonwealth does an awesome job of fostering relationships. Our neighborhood is exclusive as a result of it’s not aggressive—individuals need to collaborate and share finest practices. As an advisor, you may be wherever within the nation and work with different Commonwealth advisors to have a bigger presence. Once I first got here to Seattle, I reached out to different Commonwealth advisors, and the response was, “How can I show you how to?” I really like with the ability to go on that neighborhood dedication.
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