Planners' Perspective: Four words that forever changed my life

 Part 7 of a series that will shed some light on who we are and why we love financial planning. For Laurie Renchik, it was one defining conversation, one extended invitation that led her into the field of financial planning.

We all have defining moments along the course of our lives.  For me, one of the biggest, from a career perspective came in 1992.  I distinctly remember “the talk” I had with my CPA.  I had been her tax client for a number of years and we often mixed the business of completing my tax return with conversations about family and our respective careers.  This year started out the same, but ended up very differently.   She handed me my tax return and said, “I am selling my tax practice and buying an investment advisory firm from an advisor who is retiring.  Then she added, “Think about joining me.”  Those four words were the beginning of my journey into the financial planning profession. 

I accepted the offer.   It was a huge step for me to strike out in this new venture, but I had the support of a trusted mentor and the desire to learn as much as I could about the financial planning process and how it related to investments and financial goals.  My research led me to the conclusion that the industry standard for financial planners was the Certified Financial Planner™ certification.  I was inspired to get enrolled in the Certified Financial Planning program immediately, and earned the CFP® in 1995.  Simultaneously, I made the decision to make a move to Raymond James Financial Services to better align myself with a firm whose culture was more deeply rooted in the financial planning process.  

In hindsight, my decision to make the move to Raymond James was the right course adjustment for me as I refined my professional career path and set new goals.  An added bonus that I did not anticipate was a chance meeting with Marilyn Gunther, CFP® a founding partner of The Center.  We met at a Women’s Financial Symposium and the reality is that this chance meeting was literally life changing.  Marilyn has the unique ability to hear what is not spoken and to see what is not obvious.  She shared her insights and experiences freely.  Ultimately, she opened the door for me to join the Center team in 2006; an organization that has given me the opportunity to be part of something really special.

As a mentor, Marilyn encouraged me to let my passion for financial planning shine, to listen first and keep my mind open to an array of possibilities that could unfold.  I encourage you to do the same.  Keep listening for your invitation to chart your own course.  It may come in four words.  It may come in forty.  But they can be your catalyst, just as they were mine.