When Nannette Kamien was a kid in Connecticut, she loved playing office and pretending she had her own business. She'd gather blank mailing forms from the post office and pretend to send them out. Although "snail mail" is a thing of the past, Kamien did in fact become an entrepreneur, launching Inspiration Financial Planning LLC in 2015.
"I was very specific about the clients I wanted to serve and the lifestyle I wanted to have," she says, "and it felt like running my own business was the only way to do that."
Kamien is building a successful financial planning practice that serves families with college-bound kids, and she hopes her own kids will appreciate entrepreneurship as much as she does. "I’m building this business specifically to support the life I want to have with my family," says Kamien. "I would love it if in 20 years, one of them decides to join me in this profession."
The Kamien kids will have big shoes to fill. Their mother is a rising star in the industry and recently earned the Member of the Month honor at XY Planning Network. "She is an amazingly supportive, honest, encouraging, engaging, and welcoming individual," said a fellow XYPN member of Kamien. With those qualities, Nannette Kamien is an asset to the financial planning industry.
"I really do love being one of the “good gals” that are providing honest advice in clients’ best interests, and serving younger clients that have typically been ignored by the industry."
-Nannette Kamien, MBA
7 Questions with Nannette Kamien
XYPN: Please describe your journey into financial planning for Gen X and Y.
NK: I had thought about a financial planning career for a long time before making the career change. Every time I had done any kind of career assessment, personal financial planning came up as a top choice for my skills and interests. It wasn’t until yet another corporate IT job became unsatisfactory that I seriously considered the career and started taking the CFP coursework. At that time I had a three-year plan to switch careers. As often happens, my circumstances at my corporate job changed again and I ended up leaving my job to complete my CFP studies and open my own RIA. I thought about working for a firm to gain experience, but wasn’t able to find a perfect fit for me. I was very specific about the clients I wanted to serve and the lifestyle I wanted to have, and it felt like running my own business was the only way to do that.
XYPN: What are you most proud of in your professional life?
NK: I’m proud that in the span of 14 months I was able to start and complete the CFP education, open my own RIA, and pass the CFP test.
XYPN: Did your background give you any special skills to help others reach their financial goals?
NK: I grew up very poor with a single mother who never shielded me from the family finances. I had to take out student loans to attend college, and made a lot of my original career choices because of financial factors. I have also had a lot of life experience with various financial mistakes and challenges that help me understand where clients are coming from. I wasn’t afraid to take the chance to open my own business in order to lead the life I want to have. I feel like all of these experiences have given me the skills to help others of my generation be inspired to live their lives to the fullest and reach their financial goals.
XYPN: What is the one piece of advice you find yourself giving over and over?
NK: I tell clients not to get down on themselves. Everyone has made financial mistakes (including me), and almost everyone isn’t where they think they should be with their finances, or know what they think they need to know. The important thing is that they are asking for help and support and together we will plan for them to get where they want to be.
XYPN: What should we know about finances that we didn’t learn in school?
NK: Everything? Seriously, our education system does not focus on preparing students for real life in a lot of areas, not just finances. But I’m a believer that it’s not just schools that are the problem. Parents don’t talk to their kids about money. They don’t teach them about how the family makes financial decisions, the difference between wants and needs, and the impact that the work you choose to do has on your financial future. Kids should learn the basics of finances in school, but it’s really parents who need to share their values and habits around money.
XYPN: What is most challenging and/or rewarding about your work?
NK: The rewarding part is the gratitude of clients when I’ve helped them through a difficult financial decision or situation. The challenging part is that client behaviors are difficult to modify and some clients will never take my advice.
XYPN: What do you enjoy splurging on?
NK: I splurge on travel. I find it very important to be able to get away from the day to day. It’s so important to be able to disconnect and recharge and vacations help me do that.