What are your core values?
Work from Anywhere – We have an all virtual team and value location independence. We work with clients across the country and allow them to meet with us in the comfort of their own homes at a time that is convenient for them.
Simple First, Sexy Later – We try to simplify things for our clients first rather than overwhelm them with charts and graphs. Always ask: what would make this easy? We will only layer on complexity as needed.
Clients Are the Experts – We co-create financial plans with our clients but the planner only acts as a guide. We work together to make recommendations that are attainable and attainable for the client.
Stay Curious – We are committed to asking more questions to better understand our clients’ lives and make more informed recommendations. We are always looking for ways to be better for our clients and ourselves.
How is Gen Y Planning different?
- We help people use their money to match their values to live incredible lives.
- We meet virtually with all our clients so we can be on their team when they need us most.
- We have working meetings so our clients feel a sense of accomplishment and encouragement after they talk to us.
- We provide a one-page meeting recap after our check-in meetings so you can see how much your net worth has grown and have a clear understanding of the action items that came out of our meeting.
What would you say are your strengths in terms of financial advising? What type of clients do you specialize in?
Our strength is getting to know the Gen Y Planning clients really quickly so that we can help them use their money to match their values and live incredible lives. We have a knack for taking complex financial topics and explaining them in a way that makes sense to our clients. The majority of our clients are world travelers, who are entrepreneurial-minded with incomes that have increased rapidly in the past few years. Their financial lives have suddenly become more complicated and now they’re seeking someone to help them navigate through the complexities so they can reach their goals faster.
How many clients do you serve?
About 80 – 100 ongoing clients at the moment. Gen Y Planning is accepting new clients, but our ultimate goal is to still be able to have a personal relationship with all of our clients.
What are some of the different topics discussed in Gen Y Planning’s financial plans?
- Cash flow
- Debt repayment
- Student loans
- Tax planning
- Estate planning
- Retirement planning
- Connecting you to others in my network (CPAs, insurance agents, lawyers, etc.)
Some areas of expertise:
- Navigating through your student loans (including repayment options and refinancing)
- Choosing the right credit card to maximize your travel rewards
- A detailed company benefits package review and summary
What is your investment approach?
Passive. We use index funds in our 401(k) recommendations whenever possible, which is included as part of our ongoing financial planning services. As an add-on to our financial planning services, we can also manage client investments outside of their 401(k). We use Betterment for Advisors to outsource our investment management. We charge 0.70% (70 basis points) to manage assets and Betterment charges 0.16% (16 basis points) to use their platform. You can add this service at any time as it is separate from the financial planning fees.
Do you offer clients access to a network of other financial professionals? If so, is it purely on a recommendation basis without a commission from those professionals?
We connect you with others in our network and they charge you separately for their services. We don’t receive any commission or compensation for this. If we did, we wouldn’t be a fee-only financial planner. This means that we are fiduciaries and have to act in the best interests of our clients. We don’t sell any products or receive any commissions for our financial planning services.
How often do you typically interact with clients?
There’s a ton of interaction in the first few months. Then we meet every 6 months unless there’s a major life change. We offer unlimited email support as well and we encourage our clients to reach out as their situations change. We usually do a year-end check in and touch base around tax time and open enrollment time, so clients hear from us throughout the year.
Who works for Gen Y Planning?
Financial planning clients work directly with Sophia or a Gen Y Planning team member. We also have a part-time Client Service Associate, Content Manager and Virtual Marketing Associate. A few contractors also work with GYP part-time: a compliance consultant, small business attorney, CPA and bookkeeper.
What makes your client experience unique?
Our clients meet Sophia or a Gen Y Planning in the comfort of their own homes via a Zoom video call and often feel like they are talking to a close friend. We don’t rip apart our client’s budgets or beat them up over their financial habits. Instead, we take stock of their current financial situation and we start by focusing on the “big wins.” What changes can we make that would have the biggest impact? How can we help you figure out what’s causing the most financial stress and address that? What does your ideal life look like? Then we build the action checklist to help you maximize your current financial situation and so you can get closer to living your ideal life.
How many years of experience does Sophia have as a financial advisor? What other relevant experience does she have in personal finance?
Sophia has been in this profession for over 10 years. She started taking her CFP® classes in 2006. The next year she was hired at a father/son financial planning firm. Sophia worked there for 2 ½ years before going to work with her mentor at Cahill Financial Advisors, which is a fee-only firm in Edina, MN. A few years later, she left to work at LearnVest, which was a NYC startup but she worked remotely. After a year, Sophia left to launch Gen Y Planning in May 2013 and has been doing this ever since.
She has been really involved in the financial blogging community long before she launched her own firm and attended FinCon (the financial blogger’s conference) for years. She always identified more with financial bloggers (many of whom are part of the FIRE Movement) than financial planners because they seemed to be more focused on spending their money on experiences and creating the lives they want rather than buying sports cars and country club memberships.
Sophia has been recognized as one of the 10 of the Best Personal Financial Experts on Twitter, 40 Under 40, 10 Young Advisors to Watch, and the Top CFP Holders Under 36. She also received the Distinguished Young Alumni award at Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN.
Does Gen Y Planning have availability for additional clients?
Yep. But only the fun ones! At Gen Y Planning, we have a “no assholes” policy. 🙂 Learn more about working with us by clicking here.