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How Well-Being Drives a Future Financial Planner

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What You Need to Know

  • The winner of the 2020 New Planner Recruiting Tuition Reimbursement Scholarship represents the future of the advice business.
  • To help people, University of Georgia graduate Anna Schermerhorn plans to focus on their financial well-being.
  • Across the industry, the various advisor designations and payment structures are confusing to clients and need to be standardized.

We’ve had many ups and downs as a country and in our business over the last year, but one thing is certain: the resiliency and adaptability of our profession.

It’s been great to see advisors step up to lead. As important is recognizing others — growing numbers who are opting to join the advisory ranks — who want to make an impact on the profession.

In highlighting this, I want to share a story about one of my University of Georgia students, Anna Schermerhorn, who aspires to do great things in our profession.

Anna is the winner of the 2020 New Planner Recruiting Tuition Reimbursement Scholarship. The selection committee, made up of Geoffrey Brown, CEO of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, Michael Kitces, founder of Kitces.com and XYPN and myself, were pleased to award her $3,000 towards the cost of training to become a certified financial planner.

Coming from a military family, Anna moved around frequently while growing up. During that time she was able to witness firsthand how the lack of personal and financial well-being negatively affected others.

Focusing on the concept of well-being, she initially planned to be a high school nutrition teacher. But after watching those in that profession, Anna realized the medical field wasn’t for her.

In an effort to find something that affects all areas of someone’s life, not only the health component, she came across financial planning through a family acquaintance.

Fortunately, this person helped her gain a better understanding of the benefits a career as a financial planner ­provides. A relationship-focused person, Anna thought it was a great fit.

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Finding Her Voice

Unfortunately, several people tried to dissuade her because they did not think she was cut out for it. Instead of being disheartened, she said those comments motivated and pushed her — and helped her gain tremendous success already in a career that has yet to begin.

Anna has seen firsthand the ravages of the lack of a financial safety net. Her father lost his job in 2008, which was an anxious time for the family. Although highly educated, her parents did not have a financial planner (and still do not due to their distrust of the industry).

One of Anna’s goals is to change that negative perspective of financial planning professionals. She equates much of it to a lack of unified identity, highlighting that we do not have a standard definition of the various roles, such as financial planner, and significant confusion surrounding the various business and compensation structures.

She wants to help shape the profession to build a unified identity to increase the amount of trust in advisory relationships.

Anna has secured a summer internship with a local fee-only financial ­planning firm and plans to continue her education after her expected graduation in December 2021 by pursuing a Masters in Financial Planning with an emphasis in financial therapy.

Excited about the possibilities her future profession can provide her, Anna shared what she is seeking from employers when she begins her job search:

  • A culture that matches her mantra of “Have fun, facilitate connection and promote well-being.”
  • A midsize RIA firm that is focused on financial planning first and that provides a high level of service to families, individuals, and small businesses.
  • The opportunity to work with clients. She is a self-described “front porch person” and would love to roll up her sleeves and get in the trenches early in a support capacity, then work her way up to a more senior role.

Also, she said one of her goals a few years into her career is to start bringing in one client per month. She’s confident she can achieve it due to her preference for front stage activities and a commitment to serving her clients at the highest level possible.

Congratulations, Anna, we are excited to have you in our profession!


Caleb Brown is co-founder and CEO of New Planner Recruiting and hosts The New Planner Podcast.