Hi! I’m Sophia and I’m a…Financial Planner

by Sophia Bera on November 6, 2013

Did that remind you of an AA meeting?  That’s probably the worst way to introduce myself, but it happens a lot.  I was chatting with Jaime and Jessica today.  Two fellow financial planner friends in Atlanta and we talked about how much it sucks to tell people we are financial planners because it gives all sorts of crazy connotations that really don’t describe who we are and what we’re about.  Jessica was at her college reunion recently and people didn’t know how to respond to her when she told them she was a “financial planner.”  The problem is this:

You Hear “Financial Planner” and You Think:

  • “You are going to be the most boring person I’ve ever talked to.”
  • “You are going to try to sell me an insurance product that I don’t need.”
  • “You only work with ‘rich people’ and ‘I’m not rich’ so I could never work with you.”

It’s Not Your Fault

The financial planning industry has done a really crappy job of articulating what a financial planner does and the problem is that we all do things differently, so no wonder we get a slew of crazy reactions when we self-identify as “financial planners.”

I’m Not Your Father’s Financial Planner

Sometimes the best way for me to get my point across is by telling people what I’m not.  Hopefully, now you’re thinking, “Oh good!  She’s not some old white man, twice my age, sitting across from me at his mahogany desk, who reprimands me for spending too much money on travel, while simultaneously handing me 50 pages of charts and graphs that I don’t understand, while going off on a political rant about how Obamacare is going to ruin this country.”  (Ok.  Maybe that’s my own negative stereotype of what a financial planner looks/acts/sounds like, but you get the point).

Here’s What I’m About:

  • Helping Millennials gain clarity around their money in a fun and accessible way.
  • Educating my clients about important financial topics like insurance, taxes, investments and estate planning.
  • Using a holistic approach when it comes to goals and values.  (What’s MORE important than money to you?  For me, it’s relationships.)
  • Celebrating your wins with you!  (Who else is going to tell you, “YOU ROCK!” for paying off your student loans?!?)
  • I’m also a 29-year-old actor, singer and entrepreneur, who loves to travel the world while continuing the quest for the right curling product for my hair.  I have big dreams and a lot of sass.

It’s About YOU – Not Me

The best financial planners have one thing in common: they keep their clients at the center of the conversation.  (If your financial planner has one of these attitudes, please start looking for a new one!)  I love helping people use their money to match their values and view myself as a personal trainer for your finances.  It’s up to you to do the heavy lifting, but I’m going to be there to encourage and motivate you along the way.  This is also why I charge my clients monthly for services, just like a gym membership.  You don’t need a big pot of money sitting around in order to hire me to work with you.

What Words Should I Use?

I’m a writer, speaker, motivator, and money coach, but I also deeply value the fact that I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and I spent three years taking courses, working in the field, and passing an uber-hard exam in order to use the coveted CFP® letters.  However, I feel that there are still so many negative connotations associated with the words, “financial planner” that this might actually be doing a disservice to potential clients by describing myself this way.  Language is powerful.  How can I better describe who I am and what I do?