ning. In my office, we use an established
process but we customize our plan by going further in depth than most.
Retirement can be very different for every
individual. It is my job to ask questions that
will help me understand what life looks like
to them in retirement. This includes things
like what they plan to do on a day-to-day basis, where they will live, how often they will
travel and the cost associated with it, how
many cars they plan to purchase and their
estimated health care costs, to name a few.
I try to quantify their specific lifestyle
and model it in their retirement-plan accounting for inflation. We update and
review this plan with every client twice a
year, adjusting it to changes that may or
may not have incurred in his or her life.
Can you tell us about one of your
best client relationships and why it
has been successful?
In the wealth-management business, we
all like working with our wealthier clients.
But I get the most satisfaction from working with clients who are that diamond in
the rough. My number one goal is to have
a positive, significant financial impact on
everyone that comes into my office.
One of my best client relationships
involves a client I met at the beginning of
my career. This client had never worked
with a financial professional, did not have
a lot of assets and had a lot of debt, but
very high income.
At the beginning of our relationship he
would constantly tell me I would be wasting
my time because he did not have a lot to
invest. I knew he was someone I could help,
and I was going to make it my project. We
spent dozens of meetings and several years
working through the financial-planning
process taking baby steps toward achieving his short-term and long-term goals.
Because I persisted in asking the right
questions and truly wanted to change
this individual’s life, I was able to help
him become debt free, achieve goals he
never thought possible and become one
of my wealthiest clients through prudent
saving and investing. This story always
reminds me that hard work is worthwhile
and that I can make a positive difference
in the lives of my clients.
What advice would you give younger
advisors based on your experience?
I always share with younger advisors the
same advice that was bestowed upon me.
New advisors should put their clients first
and view this career as a marathon and
not a sprint.
It can be very tough in the begin-
ning stages, and you may think in your
mind that you are not getting any trac-
tion. Clients may not connect with you
or trust you at first and that feeling can
be personally and mentally defeating.
I feel that most people entering the
field of wealth management are driven,
competitive and highly motivated individuals. In light of these character traits,
many new advisors are likely not seeing
or celebrating their small successes.
I tell new advisors that we are constantly trying to achieve small successes
which will lead you to bigger ones. Young
advisors need to celebrate the small successes because that will help them maintain
a long-term view of this career and stay
motivated. Watching people reach their
financial goals and knowing that I helped
is very rewarding; this work has provided
me with opportunities and experiences
that I could never have imagined.
Who, as a mentor or source of
inspiration, has most helped you
and your career?
My mentor at Edward Jones has been
Willie Randall, a financial advisor in
Exmore, Virginia, since 1997. I consider
Willie a friend, colleague and a Kappa
Alpha Psi Inc. fraternity brother. From
my infancy in this career, his advice to
me was to understand my community,
get involved in the community and build
relationships in that community.
A good mentor is someone that can
be there for you, be a listening ear during
challenging situations and give you well-needed guidance and support. Willie has
done just that, which has not only allowed
me to build a great business but also helped
me to make a difference to my community.
Willie, to this day, is a source of inspiration for my career. Willie Randall is the first
African-American financial advisor that I
have known personally to achieve over $1
million dollars of business production. In
addition, he has been very influential and
significant to the community that he serves.
I aspire to grow my business to achieve
heights he has reached and beyond.
FAVORITE INDOOR ACTIVITY:
Listening to music and playing
board games with friends
FAVORITE OUTDOOR ACTIVITY:
Cooking on the grill
FAVORITE FORM OF EXERCISE:
FAVORI TE TV SHOW: “Shark Tank”
FAVORITE OTHER RELAXING OR
WEEKEND ACTIVITY: Playing with
my kids at the park
FAVORI TE VACATION SPOT:
FAMILY DETAILS: Wife Keena,
daughters Karissa and Kacie
CHARITABLE FOCUS: Rotary Club,
Autism Delaware and New Mount
Olive Baptist Church
with CHRISTOPHER S. SMITH