Posted on January 31, 2018

Why I Remain a Financial Advisor


Published by Karl V. Kimball.

Over the years, I have been asked many times why I became a financial advisor. While there are many compelling reasons to become a financial advisor, I must admit that none of the typical reasons applied to me and my path to this professional role.

When I was a freshman at Ohio Wesleyan University, I remember calling my father and being very excited to tell him I had decided on a course of study and the subsequent career I thought it would lead to. I told him I wanted to major in History and become a teacher and a coach at an independent boarding school, like the one I attended during my high school years. My father insisted I was making a poor choice and went so far as to say he could not support my attendance at a private university if I was not going to pursue a path that was more financially rewarding. After arguing how meaningful my teachers and coaches were to me throughout high school and insisting on my desire to invest in young people, it became clear to me that my choices were to transfer to a community college to pursue a career in education or to remain at Ohio Wesleyan and pursue a career in business. I chose to stay at OWU and, several years later, I graduated with a major in Economics and a minor in Accounting.

Coming out of school, I had a solid eight-year run in sales and sales management with a Fortune 500 company. This job moved me around the country and into positions of increasing responsibility. When an opportunity and a move to a city that I did not want to relocate to was presented, I chose to leave. The first job offer I received was to become a financial advisor.

Being very anxious about the prospect of unemployment, I accepted the position before fully exploring the question of “Why?” Without understanding my “why,” I struggled for 6 years and eventually accepted a sales position in the trust department of a major bank. For over a decade I thrived financially, but I felt a mysterious emptiness that led to multiple job changes. One such change put me in a role where I worked with financial advisors seeking institutional support to grow their businesses. Periodically, I found myself teaching and coaching these financial advisors, and, in those moments, the emptiness was gone!

What I have discovered is that I am most “alive” professionally when I am teaching and coaching. Those are the things I am truly passionate about…and “wired” to do. The role of financial advisor is one in which I am able to exercise those passions on a daily basis, while helping people within the context of my education and experience. Each day, I find myself working alongside clients, teaching and coaching them about sound financial practices, estate and retirement planning principles, investment management strategies and the process of building a solid foundation of protection against financial disaster.

All those years ago I became a financial advisor out of necessity. I returned to and remain in this important role today because I am convinced that it is what I was meant to do all along!