It might not have seemed like it at the time, but Eric Pyles made the right career decision.
With a bachelor’s in finance followed by an MBA from Arizona State University, Pyles had some decent job prospects when he was looking to begin his career 14 years ago. He thought about being a financial advisor or going the corporate finance route.
“I couldn’t really find a good company to work for doing financial planning, so I was interviewing more with companies for a position in corporate finance,” Pyles said. “I was then offered what looked like a great job, offering me a lot of money and a lot of benefits for one of the Big 5 tax firms working with one of their biggest accounts, a Fortune 500 company. They took me on a tour of their offices and showed me where my office would be, which was beautiful with windows looking over Tempe Town Lake.”
It met everything he could have ever expected and hoped for in a job. But while he exited the place and was heading down the elevator, Pyles got an uneasy feeling about it and had no idea why. Then, as he left the offices, he got a call from a guy that had taken his name down when he ran into Pyles as he was cutting through a job fair at ASU. “The funny thing is that I was going there to get a copy of my transcript and just was going through the job fair to get to my car quicker,” Pyles recalled. “So I get a call from this person wanting me to come in to talk to him about financial planning. I surprised myself and said I would come in. His offer was totally different than the great offer I just got.”
It was a commission job, and he was told he probably wouldn’t make as much money as he was currently making (Pyles had a full-time job as he went through his seven years of college education to earn the MBA). He would have to work many hours and it would be tough. Easy choice, right? Take the great offer!
Not so fast…
“Here’s the thing: It felt right! It was doing what I really wanted to do deep inside me. I had wanted for years to help people with their money and planning,” Pyles said. “I shocked everyone that knew me and knew the two offers I had and took the financial planning job.”
Just as promised, he didn’t make as much money that first year.
“I worked so, so hard and it wasn’t easy. But I loved it and I was 100 percent dedicated to the business and never looked back at the job I didn’t accept,” Pyles said, ”Then, two-and-a-half years later, that big accounting firm went out of business behind a lot of scandals and problems that were all over the news. So if I would have jumped at the money I would have been out of a job a couple years later. I learned to always go with your heart and your passion and to never let money make your decision. This has really helped me throughout my career in financial services to never consider the commission of a case to be the selling point but to always do what is right for the client and I know I will be paid well over time for doing what is right and best for the client.”
Financial Professional of the Year
Today, Pyles is a financial advisor and partner at Cambridge Financial Services in Chandler, Ariz. He is also the reigning Financial Professional of the Year for the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, an award he earned in 2013 as a producer of both Penn Mutual and Hornor, Townsend & Kent, Inc., Penn Mutual’s wholly owned subsidiary. The award recognizes a producer who has demonstrated the highest standards of continuing education, performance and ethics in helping clients achieve a lifetime of financial well-being. To even qualify for the award, a producer must have earned the Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, and have qualified for HTK’s Chairman’s Club or Leaders Conference.
Pyles has the designations covered – and then some. In addition to holding the CLU, ChFC and CFP designations, Pyles has earned the Chartered Advisor for Senior Living (CASL), Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF), Registered Employee Benefit Counselor (REBC) and Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) designations.
“Eric is the kind of producer that others should strive to be like,” said Bill Stevens, vice president of Career Agency Distribution for Penn Mutual. “He is a consummate professional who always looks to do right for his clients. He is continually looking at ways to increase his knowledge as can be seen by his numerous designations.”
“First, let me tell you that these designations have been very helpful,” Pyles said. “I knew that I needed some credentials if I wanted to get right into the business market and having these has helped with that. Also, as I reach out to try to form new relationships with more CPAs, it helps because they see that I am dedicated to my field.
“I know some advisors say designations are not needed or a waste of time, but I totally disagree. Even if they don’t help earn more respect with prospects, it for sure helps an advisor stay up on their practice and be educated. The CFP designation was the first one that I got and since it requires continuing education hours anyways, what better way to get those hours while you are working towards another designation? I earned the CASL designation last year and I plan on starting to work on another designation this year.”
Small business owners right from the start