Ep #267: Supporting BIPOC Advisors on the Path to the CFP

August 05, 2020

Ep #267: Supporting BIPOC Advisors on the Path to the CFP

We’re honored to interview the leaders of the XYPN Diversity Committee - Shehara Wooten, Miguel Gomez, Ryan Frailich, and Abel Soares - on the show today. These four wonderful XYPN members have all served on our Diversity Committee over the past 12 months. They join the show today to discuss the value of the CFP® designation, their own personal journey to pursuing it, and ultimately the scholarships and opportunities the XYPN Diversity Committee offers to advisors both in and out of the Network to make the CFP® more accessible, achievable, and utilized within our industry.

Shehara, Miguel, Ryan, and Abel each have really unique stories about the road to the CFP® and into this industry generally. Join us as each of them shares their experience of receiving the XYPN CFP® Exam scholarship and how the community support that they received along the way was essential to their success. Listen as we talk about what kind of barriers of entry exist for advisors of color or folks without financial means. Finally, learn what it means to transition into this industry as a career changer and how the CFP® establishes credibility and provides the foundation and knowledge advisors need to succeed in this profession.


If you're interested in pursuing the CFP® designation, this show is for you.

Listen to the Full Interview:


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What You'll Learn from This Episode:

  1. A brief introduction of the leaders/members of the XYPN Diversity Committee (00:02:48)
  2. The journey Shehara, Miguel, Abel, and Ryan each took to get their CFP® designation (00:09:30)
  3. What the XYPN Diversity Committee has done to help make the CFP® more accessible (00:26:53)
  4. How the XYPN CFP® Exam Scholarship helped each of the Diversity Committee leaders/members get their designation (00:29:07)
  5. Why integrating studying and programing into your professional career as an adult can be challenging (00:31:53)
  6. How, as a career changer, a CFP® designation adds credibility and can eliminate the feeling of imposter syndrome (00:34:02)
  7. The time and experience that taking a CFP® prep course can require (00:36:40)
  8. How to take advantage of having multiple designations and giving your clients a value add-on (00:40:44)
  9. Tips and tricks for creating the right mental space and environment to study for your CFP® exam (00:42:33)

Featured on the Show:

Shehara Wooten: Website | LinkedIn

Abel Soares: Website | LinkedIn

Miguel Gomez: Website | LinkedIn

Ryan Frailich: Website | LinkedIn

Shehara's 16 Tips for Passing the CFP® Exam


XYPN Exam Scholarship Programs

College of Financial Planning

American Institute of CPAs (AICPA)


This Episode is Sponsored By:

Serve Millennial Clients Cover

Avocado toast. Selfies. A mountain of student loan debt. Gen Y is anything but traditional and with over 75 million people, it's a population you don't want to ignore. Learn more about how to serve this unique population in our guide, "Attract and Profitably Serve Millennial Clients in Your RIA." Discover three key ways to tap into the millennial market and the six things they want from their financial advisor. Visit www.xyplanningnetwork.com/millennials for your free copy.





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Read the Transcript Below:

Narrator: [00:00:01] Join your host, Maddy Roche, as she brings you into a community of fee-only financial advisers who are successfully building profitable businesses that serve the next generation of clients, learn from innovative advisers whose unique stories will inspire you to dream big and take action on your goals. Are you ready to live your best life and help your clients live theirs? Then you're in the right place.


Maddy Roche: [00:00:24] Hello and welcome to this episode of #XYPNRadio. I'm Maddy Roche your host. I'm honored to interview the leaders of the XYPN Diversity Committee on the show today. Shehara Wooten, Miguel Gomez, Ryan Frailich, and Abel Soares have all served over the past 12 months on our Diversity Committee. Each of these advisors join me today to discuss the value of the CFP® designation and their own personal journey pursuing it. Shehara, Miguel, Ryan and Abel each have really unique stories about the road to the CFP® and into this industry generally. But each shares that the commonality among them is that the scholarship and the community support that they received along the way were essential to their success. We talk about what kind of barriers of entry exist for advisors of color or folks without financial means. We talk about what it means to transition into this industry as a career changer and how the CFP® establishes credibility and provides the foundation and the knowledge advisors need to succeed in this profession. We also discuss the scholarships that XYPN Diversity Committee offers to advisors both in and out of the network to make the CFP® more accessible, achieved and utilized. If you're interested in pursuing the CFP® designation, the show is for you.


Maddy Roche: [00:01:41] Avocado Toast Selfies, a mountain of student loan debt. Gen Y is anything but traditional and with over seventy five million people, it's a population you don't want to ignore. Learn more about how to serve this unique population. In our guide called Attract and Profitably Serve, Millennial clients in your RIA, discover three key ways to tap into the millennial market in six things that they want from their financial advisor. Visit XYPlanningNetwork.com/Millennials for your free copy.


Maddy Roche: [00:02:12] You can find any of the resources we mentioned during the episode at XYPlanningNetwork.com/267. Also, be sure to go to XYPlanningNetwork.com/VIP to join our private group. Just for #XYPNRadio listeners, it's the community of advisors we've all been looking for that's there to provide support when needed it the most. Best of all, it's free. Encourage you to check it out again. That's XYPlanningNetwork.com/VIP. Without further ado, here's my interview with Shehara, Miguel, Abel, and Ryan.


[00:02:41] -- swish --


Maddy Roche: [00:02:42] How are all of you? Thank you so much for joining.


Ryan Frailich: [00:02:45] Hey, Maddy.


Shehara Wooten: [00:02:47] Fantastic. Thank you.


Abel Soares: [00:02:48] Doing great.


Maddy Roche: [00:02:48] Awesome. Well, we've got a number of XYPN members on the line today, all leaders of our Diversity Committee for this year. We're here to talk about the journey to the CFP®, why it was important for them, how they went about it and how we at XYPN are supporting other advisers to do the same. But before we begin, let's get to know some of our members on the line today. Shehara, would you mind start us off on an introduction to yourself and your firm?


Shehara Wooten: [00:03:18] Yes, yes. My name is Shehara Wooten said and I started my firm four years ago today. So we're actually recording this broadcast on the day that I started my firm. -


Maddy Roche: [00:03:28] Wow.


Shehara Wooten: [00:03:29] -Yeah. So, so super excited about that. But I, I started on my journey into the financial industry back in 2004 as a career changer, electrical and computer engineer. And so I decided I wanted to help people and just really help folks with financial literacy and get the word out. And 2016, you know after that journey through working at another firm and working in the financial services industry, I just decided that it's time for me to work with individuals regarded regardless of their age or assets. And that's what I did. Started Your Story Financial because I believe everybody has a financial success story they want to create, and I helped them create that. So it's been a great journey. It's been had its ups and downs, but but I wouldn't trade it.


Maddy Roche: [00:04:24] Awesome. No, no good journey has a lack of ups and downs. -


Shehara Wooten: [00:04:28] (laughter) That's right.


Maddy Roche: [00:04:29] - Where are you located and how many clients do you work with.


Shehara Wooten: [00:04:33] Yeah. So I'm located in Plano, Texas. I just tell people Dallas Metroplex moved here in March 2020. So right before like a few days before COVID and quarantining and locked down. But I have been virtual since I started my firm, so that wasn't a big issue. And I started at my firm in Phoenix. I moved to Orlando and now I'm in Dallas. So so I try not to have my location be such an issue because I don't know that Dallas will be my last place, you know, so, so virtual is definitely how I like to present it.


Maddy Roche: [00:05:13] Yes. Awesome. -


Shehara Wooten: [00:05:15] Yes.


Maddy Roche: [00:05:16] - Abel, how about you? You want to tell the listeners a bit about yourself and your firm?


Abel Soares: [00:05:20] Sure thing. Thank you. So I kind of came into it from the CPA side where I was preparing taxes. I developed a passion for financial planning about a decade ago when I was doing my master's in taxation and took my first financial planning course. And it kinda was that bug that just kind of stuck in me, even though I was a tax accountant and an auditor during the years I branched off on my own and 2015, about five years ago, mostly doing taxes and accounting. But then I was able to start working my way towards the CFP® and in doing so I also was working at the PFS at the same time since they had similar credentialing profiles, because I had almost all of my clients asking me, oh well, how should I do this on the personal side as far as investments or retirement planning and things of the sort. And I just felt that it lended hand in hand with the CPA firm that I had, especially noticing that there a disparity in information that was provided to individuals because they would get information from a CPA and one from the financial adviser and it wouldn't always match up. So my goal was to try and find a way to give them the best advice holistically across the board. And that's why I started Hui Malama Advisors, which is team of caretaking advisors, and got it all started about two years ago after getting my credentials and the same thing which I was talking about and remote set up in Hawaii currently. So don't feel too bad for us if we're working hard during these times -


Maddy Roche: [00:07:01] (laughter)


Abel Soares: [00:07:01] - because we still have an escape here. But that's kind of the roadmap and then give you a few more tidbits later on.


Abel Soares: [00:07:08] Yeah, great. I, I'm looking forward to hearing more about your story. Thank you. Ryan, how about you?


Ryan Frailich: [00:07:16] Hey, Maddy. So I am a career change similar to Shehara. I was actually a teacher and then worked in schools as an administrator and back in 2016 due some advice from my own planner, I decided to pursue the CFP® and so I started the CFP® coursework and actually started my firm around the same time back in late 2016, early 2017. So my firm, Deliberate Finances is about three and a half years old. And I'm based out of New Orleans, but I also have clients all over the country, so I think it was like nine or ten different states. So I've been virtual and in-person, depending on where people are located for a while. And I work with about 40 clients, give or take right now, primarily young professionals who are I described my clients as people who are early in their careers and trying to manage all the different pieces of their financial life and who oftentimes are making more money than they expected to do. So maybe one, the public service, nonprofit type roles in leadership positions in those areas. So I've had a sudden rise in income to an amount that is probably more than they were anticipating given the line of work they chose. Yeah, and that was actually, I got a scholarship for the CFP® exam from the CFP® board and that was big in my sort of journey to becoming a CFP®. So we'll talk more about that later. But I sort of have some firsthand experience with this on my CFP® journey, getting some help along the way.


Maddy Roche: [00:08:47] Awesome. Ryan, thank you so much. Miguel, how about you?


Miguel Gomez: [00:08:52] Ok, well, I was born in Mexico. Been in the industry since 2007, first as a marketing consultant and then as an adviser. My focus is on people prefer to talk Spanish when talking about money. So there's a huge need about-about that. Several about 40 clients in the firm called Lauterbach Financial Advisors. I've been with them since 2009, and then I got my CFP® in 2014. And it's made a big difference in how I serve clients.


Maddy Roche: [00:09:30] Great. That's exactly why we're here today. I really want to dove into each of your journeys to the CFP®, why it was important to get for you personally, professionally, how you got it, the timing for it, what support you sought for it, whether you've got any education programs or scholarships related to it, and really how it's impacted you as an advisor long term. Shehara, if you wouldn't mind, I'd love for you to expand a bit on your story to the CFP® and take your time with it. I'm interested in the ins and outs of what went into it. We'll have some follow up questions for each of you about that. But go ahead and paint us the picture of what was Shehara like pre-CFP®.


Shehara Wooten: [00:10:08] All right. Thank you, Maddy. Yes. So I after some soul searching, praying and all of that, I decided to change my career from being an electrical and computer engineer, I was in sales in that side of the business and reading Purpose Driven Life. And what color is your parachute? I decided to change careers and come on board with the financial services industry. So that was in 2004. And my first role was working at an annuities company. So I was an internal wholesaler and honestly, I wasn't really thinking too much about the CFP®, I was just so glad to be in the industry learning, getting my understanding and really the goal was to eventually start to help people with their finances. And in 2009, I decided to work with, because being a wholesaler, you're working with other financial planners, financial advisers, different firms. And in 2009, I changed over to another firm. 2009 was a tough year because the market was crashing, the world was just it was just a crazy time. And it was really at that point that I said, well, do I need to go back into the technical fields? And did I make a mistake? But I decided to continue. And that's when I went with the broker dealer firm and they set it up that I would be able to get clients. Prior to that, I realized that my friends didn't have enough money and all of this. So I just needed a way to be able to get in front of people. And their business model was knocking on doors so I could figure out who that was, but knocked on thousands of doors. And in in Phoenix, 110 degrees started in June of 2009. So if you look at the Weather Channel right now, you could probably figure out what Shehara was doing at that time. So after a few years there, I was there almost seven years and it just came to me that I really wanted to work with people in a different way. And I noticed that the clients and the folks that were attracted to me may not have had as many assets. And it really dawned on me that you do want to have clients with assets if you're using this particular business model. So that's when I learned about the RIA world, the fee-only world, and then transitioned and change careers or changed the firm type and became an RIA. And then I knew that I wanted to get the CFP® once I came on board with as an RIA just because I felt that it could give me some more credibility being on my own, not having the brand recognition. I also will have to dispute the fact that I hear from a lot of advisors that no one ever asks about your CFP®. And for me that was the case. I back in 2013, 2011 timeframe, I think there was a six week window where I had about three to four people asking me, -


Maddy Roche: [00:13:27] Wow.


Shehara Wooten: [00:13:27] - Do you have the CFP®? Yeah. And I just thought, wow, why am I getting asked this question. I pretty much have gotten asked that question pretty much ever since I started being a financial advisor. So I just want it as a black woman. I want it to I understand there's barriers and I just wanted to eliminate any other barriers. So finally, in 2017 a year after, well about, about six months after starting my firm, I decided to pursue the CFP®, got my materials and started to study. And soon after I got my materials, my husband, now husband, he proposed. So I was so excited about that. And I told everybody and he lived in Orlando, I was in Phoenix. So I told everybody, I'm going to be getting my CFP®, I'm going to get married, I'm going to move to Orlando. I was like, I can do it all. And everybody said, wow, that's a lot Shehara. But you know what? Yeah, you can do it. -


Maddy Roche: [00:14:30] Oh yeah. (laughter)


Shehara Wooten: [00:14:31] - (laughter) So, I got over to got married, got to Orlando, and then I started really digging deep into the book, so that was 2017, the end of 2017. So the last quarter of 2017. And then I plan to take the exam in March of 2018, sat for the exam after studying lots and lots, three to four hours a day from February till the exam time and did not pass. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it because I had always passed exams, I'm an engineer. You know, those things don't happen. So then I decided we're going to do July, you know, and so I changed a little bit. I already had a study buddy prior to, but I added another study buddy. Then I got a tutor, did a different aspect of the program I was in and took the exam in July and again, did not pass. I just could not believe it at this point. I spoke with some of my colleagues and and we were thinking, wow, maybe this isn't it. Maybe, you know, maybe you need to pivot. And I was the first time I even heard that word and I thought, yeah, I've been doing this since 2004. I've been around, do I really need this? But I decided, I will take a year off. And that was after listening to some advice because at the Dallas XYPN conference in 2017, I was getting like I said, I was about to get married and I spoke with an advisor and said, I'm going to get married. I'm about to tell the exam, I'm about to move. He was like, oh my gosh, that's cool. I'm glad you're taking the exam. I took it three times and I said, what? OK, well, yeah, that won't be me. Well, after July 2018, I did give him a call and I said, I remember you say that you took it three times. How about I'm on that path? And he gave me some great advice and I ended up taking a year off. And when it was time I researched some other programs and just, you know, just kind of looked at everything in terms of what I needed to change to make sure that I created the best success story for me. And I found the Dalton Guarantee to Pass program, you know, just just really engrossed myself into it. And I can now say July 2019, last year, I'll be celebrating about a year and a few days. I did take it and pass. -


Maddy Roche: [00:17:10] Yes!


Shehara Wooten: [00:17:10] - So I'm just so thankful and it's just been a blessing. I think it's just a great way to just help to build your abilities. It takes away from some of the excuses people might have to work with me, at least that's part of my motivation. But it also just gives me the ability to just have a knowledge base to go from. I already had the experience. I already had a lot of the different aspects. But just having that credential just really just helps me to be able to do more for my clients and just have that ability to put my client's best interests, even though I was doing that. But, it just puts that stamp of approval in there. So it's been a it's been a journey. But I can definitely share tips on what I did and what I would recommend it later on. (laughter)


Maddy Roche: [00:18:07] Absolutely. Well, it must feel so good to have achieved that. -


Shehara Wooten: [00:18:11] Yes.


Maddy Roche: [00:18:11] - The harder we work for certain things and once we get it, it's like, oh, there's nothing we can't do. So, -


Shehara Wooten: [00:18:16] Yes.


Maddy Roche: [00:18:16] - Really awesome. Awesome story. Miguel, I'm interested in your opinion of why was this important for you to pursue in your career?


Miguel Gomez: [00:18:26] Oh, because I didn't know much about financial planning at all, really. I mean, even though I've been in the industry for a number of years, I knew all the basics. I knew how to sell. That was my first experience in the industry, was about selling stuff, mutual funds, annuities and those kind of things, life insurance, but really not within the context of a financial planning. So getting the designation and all the study work that that it took, it really helped me to see clients in a different way and to really focus on the planning rather than just a transaction. So it has helped me better serve my clients and to answer their questions in a better way. Before it was just a transaction based thing, because without my advancement, my advancement of the firm was not possible. They said, well, that's not the type of person we want. We want someone that knows their stuff, not just pushing products, but knows really how to serve clients, so without the CFP®, you're not able to do that. So you need to go back and study and learn. So that's what I did. And he took me a while but I got it done. It took me three years to-to-to the coursework and then did the test and, and it went well, but it really make a big difference going through the study program and making sure that I know more than just pushing, stop, reading now about how to even create a plan. So it may have made a huge, huge difference in my career.


Maddy Roche: [00:20:10] Great, awesome. And we'll talk more about kind of how you use it day to day. Abel, what about you? What was your journey to the CFP®?


Abel Soares: [00:20:19] So my journey to the CFP®, as mentioned, kind of started with that boat that was planted about 10 years ago. When I was doing my master's program and just kind of followed me ever since I did self research along the way about financial planning topics and just kind of tried to get myself in the know for my own benefit. But then because I would also just get questions coming in from clients. Same thing kind of happened during my accounting career where I was asked why I got a Master's in tax if I was doing all it was because I didn't want to be that auditor in the field being asked the tax question and I didn't know where to at least point them in the right direction to. So then I kind of got into the CFP® and financial planning realm because of that. And I wanted to have that more well-rounded knowledge. Just this last year, I started to learn, I guess, how rare the tandem is because there's about six hundred fifty thousand CPAs in the nation and there's three hundred ten thousand financial advisors. And of those financial advisors, there's about eighty seven thousand that are CFPs®, but there's only a little over seventy five hundred that have both. So that's less than one percent of the total population that have both. So those kind of something that made it all worthwhile being able to see it on the back end and kind of how I'm in rare company there. But yeah, I wanted to be able to be more entrepreneurial. I don't think there's any way you can 100 percent future proof yourself, but I wanted to be able to know I could diversify and be nimble. I was never just the accountant that would sit in a broom closet, especially like when auditing, so I wanted to have a little bit more client interaction and then be more consultative and kind of push my way forward with that. My, I guess, final path and the stages where I was interested in it and kind of how to get started and saw XYPN after AICPA conference in 2017.


Maddy Roche: [00:22:27] Wow. I think I was there.


Abel Soares: [00:22:31] Yeah, it was, I listened to Adam and Michael Kitces, they were both presenting and then I or, sorry. And then in October I signed up for the capstone course through the CFP® passed and I guess in November and right when I passed it I also met my experience requirements. So scheduled the March exam on the first day of the window. -


Maddy Roche: [00:22:56] Oh great.


Abel Soares: [00:22:58] I also had a commercial construction business that I was a vice president of at the time and the week before the exam I went to the manufacturer for training and things like that, and I had a one year old who had just turned one, about a month before taking it. So I somehow came out the back side with only about 40 to 80 hours of study at most, including the capstone course, and was able to pass it on the first time and then started the process of moving out here to Hawaii and figuring out how to register the firm in the RIA and trying to just chug for it ever since. -


Maddy Roche: [00:23:40] Yeah, great.


Abel Soares: [00:23:41] - Also got the, I guess, diversity scholarship at that time, and that helped me out quite a bit. But I guess I can expand on that a little bit later.


Maddy Roche: [00:23:51] Cool. Awesome. One of the first things I noticed about XYPN members when I joined the team was how much you all take on as you decide to start businesses too, Shehara's story is a perfect example, too. There's just always as humans, we've got so much competing priorities. And I was always so humbled by how well you all handled it. It turns out you guys are planners for a reason. So, (laughter) Ryan, I know you are a career changer. What was your journey to the CFP®?


Ryan Frailich: [00:24:19] So as I mentioned earlier, I was a career changer. The seed was planted to do the CFP® actually by my financial planner at the time, Jude Boudreaux. So thanks, dude, for setting this in motion. And so to Maddy point of taking it a lot, I was doing CFP® coursework while starting my firm and then my son was born in March of 2017, so 2017 was a lot new baby, new business, and CFP®. And so I did Dalton throughout my CFP® coursework and for me it was just really important to make sure that I had a firm foundation in all the different aspects of finances because I felt like I had a really solid understanding of some stuff around investments and some basics around taxes. But there's so many nuanced things and that you want to be able to say, yes, I know about that, even if it's possible that, you know, you're going to need to go look it up, but knowing, oh, there's that thing that I need to go look up. So one that came up for me recently was like I was working with a new client who had a previous spouse and we were talking about Social Security. I was like, I need to go back and look up the rule about drawing on benefits of your former spouse in 10 years. Right. The first time I've had to use that rule since I was in CFP coursework -


Maddy Roche: [00:25:33] (laughter)


Ryan Frailich: [00:25:33] - the sort of thing that you pick up, that you go, oh, wait, there's a thing right there that I need to go and find more about.


Maddy Roche: [00:25:38] Yes.


Ryan Frailich: [00:25:39] So it's just really important to me to sort of like give me a really, really holistic education rather than just focusing on the specific topics that people have been asking me about and making sure I was prepared for the myriad of situations that people might bring. I took the exam in November of 2017 and I actually got an exam scholarship from the CFP® board, which is really helpful because I had a new baby and a new business. Needless to say, finances were tight. And so for me, like that little extra bit of-of boost helped to take a little bit of stress off and make me feel like there was one less thing to be stressed about when I was going through the whole process. And so it was really helpful and sort of removing a small barrier, but a barrier nonetheless, that that was making it harder to focus on the exam studying and kind of the priorities. So that was that was November of 2017. And then due to some previous work experience, I got the letters themselves late in 2018. And I mean, it's helped a lot, I think both externally in marketing and people asking, but also just internally knowing, like I did the work to get the credential that this industry looks at as being sort of the gold standard in this industry. And I think that helps with confidence when you're going into a meeting.


Maddy Roche: [00:26:53] Awesome. I love that. Thank you, Ryan. I love that bridge of kind of the-the barrier to entry is oftentimes passing this exam, getting enough to-to take those-those academic support programs to get you prepared and things like that. XYPN has done a number of things over the years to help make the CFP® something that advisors want to shoot for, but also that is accessible to them. And Shehara, I'd be interested in you as as a leader on a Diversity Committee to explain a little bit about kind of what XYPN Diversity Committee has done to help make the CFP® accessible to folks of color and folks that may not have had access to the CFP® otherwise.


Shehara Wooten: [00:27:33] Yes, yes, Maddy, yes, the CFP®, it can be a very expensive venture, right, so you that the exam costs, but then let's go back. You have the review, you have the education. There's so many different aspects of that. And I'm really excited to be a part of the Diversity Committee for the purposes of being able to remove those barriers to getting the CFP®. Before I joined, they had already done the initiative of getting a CFP® exam scholarship. So people who are planning to take the CFP® in the windows, the testing windows, March, November, July, can apply for that scholarship and there's five diversity scholarships. So that was awesome to join. And they, the Diversity Committee had already done that initiative. And then one of the initiatives that I started was actually adding the CFP® review to that. And it can be very pricey to take, and get, a year to take those courses. It's very important and imperative to passing the exam to do a review program. And it's just really exciting that XYPN has been supportive of our Diversity Committee to be able to help defray the cost of getting the CFP® by adding the CFP® review program as well. And hopefully we can do more. Hopefully we can add more. But I think these are some good starts to it.


Maddy Roche: [00:29:07] Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. And Shehara, thank you for your work on this and the whole committee. Thank you for-for caring about this and working hard this year. We really do hope to really build out a path to the CFP®. Sixty five percent of advisors at XYPN are CFP®, I would say about 10 percent of the thirty five that aren't, have decided not to pursue it. But the other twenty five percent are either in the process of and working towards it or looking for opportunities to begin the process. So the Diversity Committee and having a leadership position on this committee allows you to take initiative like Shehara and the rest of the team has, to be able to build out some of these programs to reduce those barriers. And it's interesting to hear each of your stories because it sounds like a number of you had received a scholarship of some-some sort in your journey. Abel, you mentioned that. Could you talk a little bit about why that was helpful for you and what kind of impact that had?


Abel Soares: [00:30:01] Sure thing. So, as mentioned, it was only a couple of months before I had to move out to Hawaii here following my wife that was in the military, I was having, we're on our way to having our second child. When I took the exam, it was probably about three months before having our second son and then just looking at kind of the vision of the firm. So Hui Malama Advisors as the parent company, but there's three subsidiaries. One is a tax and accounting, one is a financial advising that the CFP® designation is hung on and then life and financial coaching because it seemed like if you have a small business owner, you'd be able to assist them in all three walks of life there and wanting to be able to give them holistic care from the financial advisement standpoint. But yeah, the scholarship was I'd say it just came at the right time because trying to start everything up and all the expenses. I also started a trucking company and I talked about the commercial construction before. So at that time I had three businesses. Now I'm up to eight. And I started teaching part-part-timetime and going to be full time here this next semester. So it's the scholarship help kind of kick start things and get me involved and then it helped light the fire to join the Diversity Committee as well, because I did receive something and wanted to be able to somehow, someway give back. And I've been very busy in the past year and probably not able to do as much as I wanted to or could have been able to do. But it's been a great experience being a part of the Diversity Committee with everybody on the call here.


Maddy Roche: [00:31:53] Oh, it's so nice to be hear Abel. And I think winning a scholarship is it helps the ego a bit, you know, knowing that you've-you've got the support and the backing of folks, it's kind of like a snowball. You talk about like one little win can really help you get the next wins. Miguel, in your journey towards the CFP®, what did you find is the most challenging part of integrating the studying and the programing into your professional career as an adult? Because-because going back to school is not something everyone wants to do.


Miguel Gomez: [00:32:25] (laughter) Yeah. So fortunately, I started before having kids, finished right before that. So I had a little bit more time than others here in the call. But it was challenging in that I have zero knowledge of taxes. So absolutely zero. That was the most challenging program for me. So, but it helped that-that I knew some tax people that we could talk some of those things about, and it was also very challenging in that making the time to study that. I said earlier that it took me three years to go through the educational program and it took me three years because I failed one of the classes and I had to retake it. So, but I just it was just managing my time in an effective way to be able to work full time and then study and then making the test for each of the of the classes. And then at the end, it really helped a lot to-to be able to focus on a-on a review course to the College of Financial Planning, and that really helped because it finished, I believe, two weeks before the actual test occurred. So the knowledge was really, really fresh back on the top of my head that I was able to remember things that I studied three years before through that program. So it was super useful to be able to go through that.


Maddy Roche: [00:34:02] Awesome, Shehara, you mentioned that you really felt it added credibility and as someone who-who was a career change or can you talk a little bit about that and the imposter syndrome some career changers may feel as they enter into this industry.


Shehara Wooten: [00:34:17] Yeah, I think that having the CFP® for me, I pretty much have removed a lot of that imposter syndrome just because I had been in it prior to. So 2004 is when I changed careers, I was able to get into a company and learn about annuities and one of the most difficult type of products. And so I really was building up to this point and building up my confidence, but I can totally see why somebody would feel like they are coming from a place of not having that knowledge and imposter syndrome. It comes all the time. I think when you talk to engineers, we have a hard time having, you know, not having confidence. But when you are in the field itself, you still can feel like, I don't know this, I don't know that. But the one thing I'm going to speak to people who are engineers. One thing we always learned is that you have resources. You can always know that I know where to get the information. And that was one thing that I had learned even before getting into this industry, that if I know where to go to get the information, it's okay to say, I don't know, but I'll go find out. And I think that's what helps to really build that confidence. But like I said, for me, part of the CFP® was to remove any excuses to not work with me just because I had seen a few people say, oh, yeah, I would work with you if you were a CFP®. So it's a really interesting, unique experience because like I said, I hear a lot of people say that's not what they experience. But-but I just believe that we have to just be confident that we know more than any anyone else like we are experts. When you come out of taking those six classes, when you come out of looking at your experiences, looking even at your experiences and your previous work, you can come in saying that I can draw from all of those experiences and be able to relate to the client. And if I don't know something, I can always find out. And I think that's that's what can help curb the imposter syndrome.


Maddy Roche: [00:36:40] Great, great advice, Shehara, thanks so much. Miguel, you mentioned that you took a prep course. What course did you take and how long did you invest into that?


Miguel Gomez: [00:36:50] I went to the College for Financial Planning and it took me three years going to the full program. At that time, it was 2000. I finished-it finished in 2014. So I believe at the time it was five classes. And I know that requires-that requires-now they require six classes, but it was super useful. And then the final prep course. Two weeks before the test was what made a huge difference on it, to be able just to pass the test. But it's really focusing, taking the time, it making the practice and then something that I believe also really helped us to be able to implement, even at a lower rookie level, those you know, that new knowledge that I was applying to the classes when meeting with clients. So asking questions, I was able to ask them more effective questions than before and to be able to serve them better, because now I know a little bit more about planning than before. Obviously, that has changed over the years. And I got the designation 2014. But at that time, it was very useful to ask for a client's tax return and see the return and related to the what I was learning at the time. So he was going to practice and training at the same time and that really helped. And then the program itself, it was I-I remembered as a very immersive experience where we would go and spend a lot of time just in one of the classes and then the next day. A full day, kind of like a refresher course on the second class and so on, but it was a lot of information overload, but it made a huge difference in setting for the test.


Maddy Roche: [00:38:44] Great, wonderful. Ryan, I'm interested as a young adviser. Have you found the CFP® to be a differentiator for you?


Ryan Frailich: [00:38:53] Yes.


Maddy Roche: [00:38:55] Tell me more.


Ryan Frailich: [00:38:55] I can give more than that.


Maddy Roche: [00:38:58] (laughter)


Ryan Frailich: [00:38:58] I think, you know, and I, as a career changer, don't necessarily have the same background as other folks do in terms of, you know, there's kind of the more sales focused side of the industry. And then there's the fiduciary, so you know, the advice only side of the industry. And I think so I wasn't versed in some of those conflicts and internal debates. But for me, it's been remarkable how many people have read those articles every year. It seems like there's a Wall Street Journal, New York Times somewhere that says, you know, if you're searching for a financial adviser, here's your 10, 12, 15 questions. Whatever it is and are you a CFP®? is always on the list and we can debate whether that's right or wrong. But it's out there and people ask. And I noticed I started my firm without it and then I got it. And immediately there was an uptick just because of visibility being on the CFP® board's website, XYPN's Find-an-Advisor, that directly led to some clients and also just being able to say yes, not previously to that. I was like, well, I'm on the road too. And that distinction mattered to people. Right. And so I think it really is crucial to have-have so that you can just say it and move on rather than having any sort of hemming and hawing, which is what I was doing in -


Maddy Roche: [00:40:14] (laughter)


Ryan Frailich: [00:40:14] - the first year and a half or so. I was in business of like, well, I'm going to coursework while I pass the test, but I don't think experience because there's all these kind of stages along the way. And I just feel like without it I would just not be where I am at business and also just not have the confidence that I have to be able to say, yep, I'm the adviser for you if you bring something to me that maybe I haven't worked with intimately before. So it's just helpful to have kind of a well-rounded background.


Maddy Roche: [00:40:44] Awesome, wonderful. Abel, I'm interested. I love the number breakdown that you did for yourself about who you represent in the industry, given your designations. Tell me a bit. Have you been able to use that as-as a value add to your clients and have they been receptive to it.


Abel Soares: [00:41:00] So, recently after I learned about those numbers? Yes, definitely. I think it puts that in perspective, especially for me. I came from just a hardworking family that didn't have any higher education, really. And when getting into first accountancy and into financial planning, I didn't know what all the designations were. And I just was told, oh, well, if you're going to get your accounting degree, then you should get your CPA because it's going to help you and that's going to be able to open doors. And I was like, okay, I did that. And then I think I heard about the PFS before the CFP® because of the accounting program I went through. But then I learned about the CFP® and I was there basically the same. And it looks like CFP® has higher visibility. -


Maddy Roche: [00:41:52] (laughter)


Abel Soares: [00:41:52] - So I was like, okay, I found that they had similar requirements and I was like, okay, I can go ahead and get both of these at the same time, let's be efficient. So I went that route and I didn't really know how beneficial it was going to be until I started seeing those numbers and then starting to get more into that financial plan and into that community. And seeing that I actually did something that was a little bit more worthwhile and kind of built that confidence. And that confidence has bled over into customer relations and my clients. So I think it worked well all the way around.


Maddy Roche: [00:42:33] Yeah, I remember when looking to get into this industry, I was so relieved to see that the designation I needed to get was one that didn't require me to go back to school for two years and take out massive amounts of loans. I had to take out a small personal loan to start my CFP®. But it was a it was a huge relief to realize that there wasn't a massive requirement outside of the work that goes into the CFP®, which I quickly found out about. So Shehara, I'm interested in your tips for-for our listeners about how to approach this, the journey to the CFP®, not just the test, but the whole-the whole gamut. How do you get yourself kind of in the right mental space to be able to-to go after something as hard and as challenging as the CFP® curriculum is?


Shehara Wooten: [00:43:17] Yes. Yes, Maddy. I agree. It's very challenging. And when I started this journey, I really thought that if I just thought that if I can have all these life changes and everything is going to be fine. I had never been married before. I'd never moved across country and tried to study for such a challenging exam. And so I would recommend that people try to be in the calmest stage of your life. -


Maddy Roche: [00:43:45] (laughter)


Shehara Wooten: [00:43:46] You know, the most predictable stage, if you can-if you can try to do that, like, you know, try. (laughter) After I got married, when I waited that year, I just kind of enjoyed Orlando, I enjoyed the city I was living in, I really enjoyed being with my husband, all these different things that I was kind of letting go by the wayside because I needed to get this designation. And so that was a big lesson. But after passing the exam, I did make a list. And so I have like about 16 points. I'm not going to give them all on this, but I'm willing to share it because after I passed last year, people did reach out to me and say, how did you pass? And I just would send it to them. But one of the things that I did outside of it was just I started to just eat the right foods. I believe brain foods is so important and it's one of those things we might go by the wayside and Maddy you did want us to share our age and I'll just share it. But I'm forty five, right? So I'm probably one of the older ones on the call so I don't look it but-but I felt like, you know, I need to get some brain food. I haven't had to memorize stuff in a long time. Be ready to memorize stuff. It's just I'm so used to being an adult and getting resources but with this you do have to memorize, dedicate anywhere to three to four hours to study and every day. I did that on the first few times, but then actually I had to amp it up on the third time and so I increased it to about six to eight hours. So there were some days where it was really, really a lot of studying. Prayer is very key. So whatever you do there, accountability partner, a good support system. My husband was super supportive and actually on the third time I really decided not to tell anyone but my mom and my husband. Not that they weren't supportive, the other folks, but I didn't want the distraction. I didn't want to have to explain anything. If people wanted to come visit, I didn't want to say I'm studying. And so I just kind of worked around it and let people come see me. And I kept it a secret. (laughter) So those are some of the things practice the questions, practice, practice, practice. I studied in three hour increments and I would say that's one of the biggest things studying in three hour increments since the exam is in three hour increments. And that really helped build my stamina. So if anybody wants that list, I'd be happy to share more as well.


Maddy Roche: [00:46:22] Wonderful. I love that. Even-even the-the food and making sure you're telling only your core group. I think those are all really good, good tips. Miguel, do you have any tips for our listeners about how to study for the CFP®?


Miguel Gomez: [00:46:37] Yeah, I would say turn off your cell phone because or turn off your distractions, really, there's something to be is responsible for your own. So turn off all your distractions. Anything that can disrupt your study will disrupt your study if you let it, so be isolated. I told my wife, I'm sorry, I cannot talk. I cannot do anything for the next number of hours. So that's what I did for a number of days. Sometimes I prefer to stay at the office late just to study. I was going to a conference room and lock myself and leave my cell phone at the office and just bring my computer and study. I also do the physical books for the program and the physical books made them much easier than starting going with the tablet. So starting with the tablet, the Wikipedia books, PDF books wasn't just as easy because, well, the tablet also has Internet and also has a lot of distractions. So if you're able to get physical books for your courses, get the physical books, study with the physical books, and you can always go back to them. So good old-style books are great to study because they allow you to focus much more than just the digital tools.


Maddy Roche: [00:47:54] But great advice. Ryan, how about you?


Ryan Frailich: [00:47:58] I was just going to actually second what Miguel said about the physical books. That was a huge shift for me and it made a big difference. And I was looking something up in one of the books the other day. I mean, I see some stuff will go out of date. But if you've got a question, rather than going to Google you like, you can go to someplace that is vetted and not be like sifting through a million online websites and whatever when you can just use a book that's got it. And, you know, that has been vetted and it's been edited and it's accurate.


Maddy Roche: [00:48:22] Yes. Abel, I'm interested in your-your advice to advisors who are listening about applying for scholarships and why you should just do it or not do it. What's-what's your tip?


Abel Soares: [00:48:34] In the applying for scholarships, I mean, I would say go for it, because all that can be said is you're told, no, we'll help you out. It'll be the jump start to fuel the fire potentially or just fuel the growth of your firm because there's a lot of costs that are unforeseen. And when you end up joining or if you do join the network like XYPN, you see all the bells and whistles of what membership has to offer. And you might want to spend some money in different areas. And I mean, even if you're on your own, then you-you don't have access to the things that you're going to be going for. This comes more from the CPA side, but I see businesses starting up all the time and the businesses spend money in areas where maybe they shouldn't have or they spent too much too early and it like, you might not have to spend five hundred dollars a month on it be able to get your name out there, because that means you have to get one, two, three clients to be able to pay for that right out the gate. And it may not be the most beneficial use of funds as an example, but I think scholarship I mean, it's available. Some people think, oh, I'll never get it. But I was kind of one of those people and I did. So I was very happy and it helped jumpstart.


Maddy Roche: [00:49:58] Awesome. Great. Well, thank you all so much for joining me today for this conversation. I learned so much about you and your journeys. And I know our listeners will really have found this conversation to be valuable in terms of what's out there to to prepare for the CFP® and why it pays off and why it's important to put yourself out there both for support financially but emotionally from our friends and our core groups and things like that. Thank you all so much for your work that you've done this year on the Diversity Committee. Individually and collectively, you've made a big impact on our community and move the needle forward in our industry. Listeners, if you ever do join XYPN, please let us know if you're interested in getting involved in this committee and having a role on it. There's a number of different ways to get involved and you'll find out more once you're in the network. But for now, trust that that the Diversity Committee is being led by some incredible advisors who all have been on their own unique journeys to the CFP®. Thank you each. I appreciate it.


Ryan Frailich: [00:50:55] Thanks, Maddy.


Shehara Wooten: [00:50:55] Thank you, Maddy.


Abel Soares: [00:50:56] Thank you very much.


Maddy Roche: [00:50:59] Avocado toast, selfies, a mountain of student loan debt. Gen Y is anything but traditional. And with over 75 million people, it's a population you don't want to ignore. Learn more about how to serve this unique population. In our guide called Attract and Profitably Serve, Millennial clients in your RIA, discover three key ways to tap into the millennial market and six things that they want from their financial advisor. Visit XYPlanningNetwork.com/Millennials for your free copy. Be sure to join our VIP community and XYPlanningNetwork.com/VIP and hang out with other #XYPNRadio listeners, ask questions for future mailbag episodes and finally to find a community of likeminded financial advisors. Thank you so much for joining me today. We'll see you next time.


Narrator: [00:51:47] You are not alone and you are not crazy. It's scary starting building and growing your own financial planning firm. And that's why we put together a free private community just for you, the cutting edge financial planner. Go to XYPlanningNetwork.com/VIP or text #XYPNRadio to 33344 and join a network of thousands ready to change the lives of Gen X and Gen Y clients.







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