Growing up with five rambunctious older brothers and five frisky sisters is good enough reason why Cheryl Young excels at martial arts. She is well on her way to a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and is a dynamite kickboxer.
“My long legs give me a lot of reach,” says Young, who stands 5 feet 11 inches tall and is seventh in the brood of 11.
She really kicks it as a financial advisor too: sole producer in her independent practice, Young & Associates, she manages client assets of $641 million.
“I’d like it to be a billion. But that’s okay—we’ll get there!” says the CEO cheerily.
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In the heart of Silicon Valley, Young, whose broker-dealer is Raymond James Financial Services, specializes in stock options strategies. Clients are chiefly high tech entrepreneurs, pro athletes (including quite a few San Francisco 49ers) and women on their own.
“I’ve seen so many people do stupid things with stock options. With [only] one stock, you’re rolling the dice,” she says from her office in Campbell, Calif.
The brainy CFP is out to prevent such stupidities by educating clients on the benefits of a genuine financial plan.
“A lot of advisors will just manage the money, but our approach is collaborative. We go deep-dive into the financial planning aspect,” says the 39-year-old Young, who is also a chartered financial consultant (ChFC).
An advisor for 14 years, Young has taught more than 100 finance classes to senior management of Fortune 50 companies—like Apple, AT&T, IBM and Microsoft . She gives the executives insight on how their stock options work and ways to save for retirement. Some sessions concentrate on complex strategies.
With clients, “many people are in love with their own stock,” she says. “We help them understand the risks and to separate emotions from fundamentals.”
Key to Young’s success is caring attention given to every client.
“Cheryl is constantly guiding us to make sure we’re protected. She tries to do what’s right for you. She’s able to synthesize people’s ideas and interests, put together a plan that fits them and execute on it,” says long-time client Robert Mitro, owner of FaceOn Mobile, an app developer in Santa Cruz, Calif.
A Presidential Scholar at New Mexico State University, Young was, in college, on a path to become a neurologist and study the brain. Today she delves into clients’ psychological responses.
Generally, investors “are either very scared to take any risks or greedy to the point of having gambling-type tendencies,” she says. “So understanding behavioral psychology is critical: If you don’t know what motivates them to make changes, they won’t make any. I need to understand what drives them.”
With special interest in advising single females, Young holds supportive “Women and Wine” nights with freedom to ask any and all investment questions. The women-only series stems from her mother’s lack of financial savvy when, after 26 years of child-rearing, she and Young’s engineer father divorced.