People often ask me, “Why did you become a financial advisor?” Well, the answer doesn’t follow a straight career path. What I can tell you is that I enjoy helping people sort out all of the financial decisions they make through the various stages of their personal lives. Sometimes it’s about planning for a client’s retirement or deciding what is the best choice at retirement to continue to maximize their income. Other times it is counseling parents on how to save for their children’s education. Or perhaps a client hasn’t thought about how estate planning could benefit them as well as their family. So helping people for over 35 years has been the “Why” of why I became a financial advisor.
My career path had many twist and turns. First let me tell you that in 1982, with daughter in tow and some money in the bank, I moved to Syracuse and founded OMC Financial Services. As a woman, entering the investment business in the 80s wasn’t easy. I wish I could tell you that I came with a great deal of confidence that I could conquer the investment world, but I didn’t. What I did have was a great background in history that I could apply to investing; and it separated me from other investment managers since I looked at investing through the eyes of where we had been and where I thought we were going.
Prior to the 1987 Black Monday Crash, I was a commissionable broker even though OMC was my own firm. I spent the entire day on Friday calling all of my clients and on into the weekend asking their permission to sell on Monday. The market was so chaotic on Monday that I sat tight, which was the best decision. I had positioned my clients well, and in six months we were back.
I gained a great deal of experience from Black Monday; and the primary one was that I wanted to manage my client’s money with discretion so that I could react quickly. I transitioned OMC from a commission-based business to a fee only one, which was not an easy decision. All of my peers discouraged me and let it be known that they thought it was a recipe for disaster. Fifty percent of my clients couldn’t imagine paying a fee and decided to move their accounts. First, I had moved to Syracuse, opened an office and then, after 5 years, lost half of my clients.
Somehow, I managed by doing what most people do. I tightened up my belt, got my hands dirty and kept an optimistic view. After being in the business for over 35 years, I know, in spite of everything I went through, both business and personally, that it was the right decision. OMC has grown, thrived, and other firms have finally come over to my side. A fee only business isn’t a novelty anymore.
Earlier I mentioned that my path to becoming a Financial Advisor wasn’t a straight one. You see, in the beginning, I was studying to become a history professor (which has served me well as a money manager) when I met my former husband who was a Professor of English. Eventually, I decided that I wasn’t really born to be a teacher. I knew that I wanted to outline my own destiny and wasn’t really aware that I couldn’t break through the “glass ceiling.” So, the next career was as a Realtor. After 10 months as a very successful Realtor (thanks to my mentoring), I again came to the conclusion that it wasn’t a good fit. I had a little girl and I found that buyers and sellers don’t have the same time schedule as you do.
That brings me to my final career path that led me here as President and Founder of OMC Financial Services. I began as an Insurance Agent, hired by a major insurance company in Erie, PA, by a manager who had a great deal of faith in me. I came to the company with the attitude that no one wanted to purchase life insurance and no one would want to buy it from a woman! Wow, can you believe someone would hire me? There I learned about estate planning and investments and the beginning of my newfound career was born. Everything I learned sparked my interest and curiosity.
I have been very fortunate to have been recognized as a local “expert” and was a co-columnist for seven years in the Post Standard, a guest, as well as a guest host, on Financial Fitness and have worked with Laura Hand on Channel 3 Noon News.
I know what it takes to bring my experience and knowledge to help manage your money. Thanks to my loyal clients, my good fortune to have brought on Greg Jennings as an associate, a real talent, who has developed into a great business partner, and my wonderful staff, who keep everything running smoothly, OMC will continue to grow and thrive. If you need financial “direction”, Let’s Talk.