In 1980, Lisa Allen had an impressive resume. She had just graduated with honors from Texas Tech University with a degree in marketing and a minor in math and was making her way through the interview mills at major corporations–but she wasn’t having much luck.
In fact, she went through four rounds of interviews with IBM before they ended up hiring a man.
“I was very put off, and living in Dallas with my parents was not where I wanted to be,” Allen says. So she took the best offer she could find–as “a glorified stock clerk” with a large retailer in San Antonio.
By 1983, Allen was burned-out on retail and looking for her next move when several of her friends encouraged her to look at the securities industry. She took their advice–and hasn’t looked back since. From her first job with Underwood Newhouse Securities, then a regional brokerage firm based in Houston, to becoming a partner in her own firm, PlanningWork$ in Austin, Texas, Allen has built her career by taking the long view and focusing on the big picture–both for herself and for her clients.
In the late 1980s, while most of the industry was still focused on “churn-and-burn” equity trading, Allen was absorbing John Templeton’s treatise on diversification and the value of discipline. She quickly became a true believer in the power of mutual funds, especially when it came to retirement planning and asset protection. The lessons hit home on October 19, 1987, when the markets took what was then their biggest dive since the Great Depression.
“I remember exactly where I was on that date,” she says. “I was already using a managed-money approach, which was much better than having me try to pick equities and manage a portfolio while servicing a client base. But that experience so affected me that I went looking for a multidisciplinary approach.”
She knew her clients needed more than just portfolio management. They needed someone they could trust to advise them about how their legal documents were structured and what impact their financial decisions would have on their taxes. They needed someone on their side who could take a holistic view, not only of their wealth but also of their family’s values and long-term goals.
That’s when she met Mikiel Featherston, a certified public accountant by training who had become a Certified Estate Planner and a Certified Retirement Specialist along the way. Joining forces to form PlanningWork$ in 1999, they come from different fields of financial planning to meet in the middle concerning client needs.
“He’s more of an accountant, and I’m more the person who makes sure everyone is comfortable with what is going on,” she says.