understand budgeting and to becomefinancially literate. Then I moved on toteaching the basics of investing so theycould understand the terminology whenthey would work with a financial advisor.
How did you learn the more complex
areas of financial planning?
For a couple of years [after teaching inchurch], I worked at a [major] tax preparation service. I really enjoyed taxes,and that led to my gettingmy CFP.
What prompted you
to join the Alliance of
The dean of the businessschool at the college whereI trained for my certification talked to me aboutACP, which is a tax-focused organization. So it was a perfect fit.
You are a member of Kingdom Advisors,
an organization of FAs who integrate
faith into their practices. How do you
define Christian financial planning?
It incorporates Christian and biblicalprinciples into the plans. There areover 2,000 scriptures in the Bible thataddress finances, from budgeting allthe way to investing. Incorporatingthese into financial planning helpsclients for whom [Christian beliefs]are important to really buy into thevision for their financial plan. IfChristianity is an important aspectof their belief system, the scripturesback up what we’re talking about[financially] and give them a point ofreference and an anchor.
What are some scriptures that speak
Ecclesiastes 11: 1-2 addresses diversifica-
tion; 2 Peter 3:4b says that cycles are
inevitable. There are a lot of proverbs
about not making rash decisions in your
investments. And Proverbs 15: 22 and
18: 17 are about seeking wise counsel:Outside insight can help point out flawsin something that to [you], seems logical.
Is prayer part of your work with clients?I probably pray before and after everyclient meeting, praying for insightbecause I feel that God knows my clientsand me; so prayer is a [good] way for meto [help] meet their financial needs.
As a Black FA, have you everencountered racism or discrimination?I’ve heard about the racial microag-gressions or disparity [among] AfricanAmerican advisors in the commissionedworld. Those are inherent for peopleof color, such as not receiving the sameadvancements like those who are notpeople of color. But it wasn’t somethingI had to go through.
Because I joined the Alliance ofComprehensive Planners as an independent advisor [right away]. I didn’t haveto go through the world [where diversityand inclusion are at issue].
Has being a female FA ever presented a
challenge for you?
I don’t feel it has, again, because of theroute I took. I didn’t have to face thepotential racial or gender hurdles thatothers may have had to. [About 30%]of ACP planners are women, and a lotof them took me under their wing andhelped me [learn how to manage] thefamily-work balance.
Big firms are starting to hire more Black
advisors. Your thoughts?
It would be neat to submit job applications that remove ethnicity so firmscan hire based on what’s on paper.That way, when [applicants] have thesame credentials, the same educationand the same experience, we may havemore diversity because [hiring] will goaccording to what’s seen on paper.
But firms may be surprised
when they meet the new hire
face to face, isn’t it?
When I first started in theindustry, an African Americanwebsite developer advised menot to put my picture on my site.But I told her that if I did that,prospects would come throughthe door and be like, “Whoa!”
So how would that have impacted you
as an FA?
It someone has that strong an opposition tomy skin color or religious beliefs, it’s betterthat we get that out upfront because thereare plenty of other advisors who can meettheir needs. That’s one reason my picture ison the site and that I indicate [prominently]that I’m a Christian financial planner, so wedon’t unnecessarily run into a waste of time.
Do you have many clients who are
None! When I started out, a lot of physicians I knew were trying to translatetheir medical knowledge into day trading.There was a bunch of guys saying, “I cando this!” … and they were doing it. But Idisagreed with them philosophically. Sothose [friendships] never turned into cli-ent-advisor relationships. They thought Iwas too conservative. I just laughed.
Jane Wollman Rusoff is a contributing editor whospecializes in interviews with thought leaders. Anauthor and prolific journalist, Jane is founder ofwww.FamilyStarProductions.com.
“People in medicine and
financial advisors have a heart
to help others. And there are also
similarities along the lines of
having a plan and sticking to it.”