XY Planning Network is thrilled to continue promoting our members who launched new financial planning firms in 2015. We're celebrating these advisors by spotlighting their experiences, thoughts, and lessons learned.
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Today, Nannette Kamien shares her story and the journey that lead her to launch Inspiration Planning.
Nannette founded Inspiration Financial Planning after a 15-year career in business and information technology, because she loves personal finance and helping others find their financial inspiration. Her firm offerings a different model where professionals can access comprehensive financial planning with a lower up-front planning cost.
I feel like my whole career I've been searching for something in the jobs I've taken and not really ending up finding it. I knew there were a lot of things I didn't want to do (goodbye, law school), but was never really sure what I wanted to do.
I started a career in Information Technology in 2000 because there were a lot of IT jobs at that time and not a lot of people with my business and technology skill set. I worked for several companies over my 15 year career, earned an MBA, and finally had a management position in a great company -- and an office with a door!
Some changes at my company got me thinking last summer about what I really wanted to do with my life. I read the book The Alchemist, attended a women's leadership seminar, and got a few "signs" that I needed to make a change. I had always had financial planning at the back of my mind as a potential career because I was so interested in my own finances, but was afraid to take the leap. I started taking the CFP coursework last summer just to see what it was all about.
Creating a Career as a Financial Planner
It very quickly became clear to me that my interest in personal finance was something I should pursue. I started thinking of my career change not as a 3 to 5 year plan, but as a 1 year plan. I was very lucky in that this thinking coincided with my family financial situation becoming more conducive to walking away from a really nice income. My husband and close friends have been very supportive; everyone else probably thinks I'm crazy.
I started right away reaching out to local professionals that I found through friends, family, and the NAPFA website. I would email them or call them and ask for a half hour of their time to hear their story, and get their advice. It was easy to narrow down my focus to fee-only financial planning.
I started researching local firms and applying for open positions. I was really hoping that I could find a firm that matched my philosophy and where I felt comfortable starting my career. I interviewed with an UHNW firm, a HNW firm, and what I will call a "regular" firm (>$1M).
I wondered who exactly was serving people like me, because the firms I interviewed with didn't. They were also very structured for the most part - not allowing schedule flexibility or remote working. With two small children, this just wasn't going to work for me. I wanted to start a career where I had control over my schedule, my location, and my clientele.
Launching a Firm to Serve My Peers
I started my firm so that I could serve mid-career professionals like myself -- those who were single or married, and had decent jobs, but were wondering how they could possibly juggle saving for retirement, raising a family, caring for parents, and trying to enjoy life in the meantime.
When I left my corporate job, there were so many people who told me that I was an inspiration to them. Inspiration Financial Planning was born. I truly believe that meeting all your goals 20 years down the road is pointless if you are miserable on your way there.
Financial planning should be about learning what inspires you today and in the future and planning for that.
One of the professionals I reached out to sent me to XYPN. Through XYPN I found Alan Moore's and Sophia Bera's posts about starting a new financial planning firm. That was the moment I really felt like I could actually do this, and that it was doable on my 2015 bonus check budget.
Once I learned more about XYPN and joined, I felt like I had found my peeps. People that had a similar philosophy to mine, recognized the need to serve similar clientele, and a ton of knowledge that I could tap into being new to the industry.
Overcoming the Challenges in Starting a Business
One of the hardest things I've struggled with since leaving my job was how much time to devote to finishing my CFP education versus getting my business up and running. I tried to balance these two things, and as a result, I will be finishing up my coursework this month instead of June 1 like I planned. I should have just buckled down and gotten it done before diving into the business activities.
However, the business activities have been really fun. I'm the kind of person that likes to do a little of everything. I like working with technology, writing blog posts, talking with people, and managing the financial aspects of a new business.
Another item that really threw me for a loop was my website. I just couldn't justify spending a lot of money on one, for two reasons:
- Having a technology background meant I felt like I could do it myself.
- I wanted to get something out there and plan to change it in a year or two.
Initially I hired an intern to help me on an hourly basis, but quickly realized that I needed to have creative control and it was taking me longer to explain what I wanted than it did to learn WordPress and do it myself.
Also, having a background in technology meant that I wanted to try every piece of software and I had high expectations of what they should do. I don't know yet how my technology will evolve in the next year, but again, I fully expect that it will.
Want to Start Your Own Firm?
So far, this has been a great experience. I have not yet seen the client growth that I would like to, but so many people I've talked to have said to give it at least a year. I would recommend that those of you wanting to start your own firms keep a couple of things in mind:
- Be confident. You can do this. There will never be a perfect time or situation, so just do it now.
- Find your voice. You are different than anyone else out there and don't be afraid to put your spin on things.
- Don't obsess. There are so many decisions to be made starting a business that it can be overwhelming. Make a decision and move on. You can always revisit later.
Have more questions for Nannette, or just want to connect? She's happy to answer any questions and loves sharing her experience with others. Reach out via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), connect on LinkedIn, or send a tweet to @inspirationfp. You can also visit InspirationPlanning.com.