After Tammy McKennon graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in finance in 1983, she went to work for Merrill Lynch as an advisor doing cold calls, which she describes as “a cubby hole and a phone book.”
McKennon is now an advisor with Edward Jones in Orange County, California, and remembers one phone call in particular.
“I spoke to this gentleman and gave him a presentation on a financial opportunity, and at the end of the conversation he thanked me. Then he said that although the investment sounded like it had merit, he would never do business with a woman concerning money,” she recalls.
“I was shocked. I wasn’t sure how to reply to that, but I remember that I [felt] pity for his wife,” the advisor says.
McKennon believes the financial advisory business is perfect for women and ideal for building a business.
“Women like working with other women,” she explained. “And women actually have an advantage in this field for a number of reasons: They are better listeners, they have empathy, and they really want to make a different in people’s lives. Plus, they have the emotional intelligence.”
McKennon left Merrill Lynch after eight years and took a break to raise her three children.
Once the eldest went off to college and the other two were in high school and playing sports until 6 p.m., “I had the days to myself, and it gave me the opportunity to start and build a business,” she said. “It also gave me the ability to have a life and do what I loved” once they were all away at college.
That effort has paid off, as today her business is thriving. Further, all three of her kids followed her lead and were finance majors.
In fact, her youngest daughter, who went to the University of California-Berkeley, “saw how I was able to build my business and even get back into the worst [low employment] workforce of 2009. She really values the work-life balance I’ve been able to establish.”
Here are more highlights from our conversation:
THINKADVISOR: What issues are your clients facing today?
I have a client who is 63 years old and worked for a Fortune 500 corporation. [Because of the pandemic,] the firm announced they would be offering voluntary retirement packages, and said if they aren’t taken, another option could be an involuntary retirement scenario.