What? You’re Embarking on Another Career Change?!?

Yes friends, that is correct. In just 9 short years since graduating with my degree in Accountancy, I’ve added a 5th employer to my resume – ME!!! While the salary isn’t exactly what it’s always been and benefits are expensive and relatively non-existent at this point, I’m pretty certain that I’m going to love my new boss and that the “priceless” factor about all of it will far outweigh any measurable compensation.

But since it has been less than a year since my last career switch, and being that I really am not a flake who doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life, I thought it worthwhile to detail the past year’s events that have led me to this recent change.

My decision to leave PNC Bank in the summer of 2008 and join Morgan Stanley was not one I made lightly. In fact, almost a year passed between the first time I was introduced to my would-be business partner and when I actually started my training. The opportunity seemed to fit my desire to be more entrepreneurial while also being in a position to more completely serve my clients’ needs. I thrived on the human connections I made through my role as a trust officer at the bank, but was constantly frustrated by factors out of my control that are inherent to the position: tons of repetitive (and seemingly useless) paperwork, rigid corporate structures, face-time expectations and ultimately an inability to work with my clients the way that I thought would be most beneficial. And while the turn to Morgan Stanley ended up being more of a detour than a main route, it has once again proven my favorite adage, “Everything happens for a reason.”

As I struggled to identify prospective clients for Morgan Stanley, I was naturally drawn to the types of people I knew and enjoyed meeting – people that inspired me and challenged me that I had worked well with in the past: small business owners and busy professionals who put all their energy into running their businesses/careers while still taking time for family, leaving little time to think of, learn about, or pay attention to saving, investing or planning. I positively adore working with these types of clients, as we understand each other, they are trusting and trustworthy, and appreciate the value of caring and outstanding service. These are the people that I want to help by establishing peace of mind, ease of saving, and confidence that their families are secure should an unexpected disaster befall the family.

The trouble ended up being that the role I need and want to play has very little to do with actual investment management. And I was being paid by Morgan Stanley to identify and sign up clients who needed investment management. Sure, planning is a big piece of this, but the people I was meeting do not have a large cache’ of cash sitting around to invest – their savings are going to start small and the advice they need is more applicable to cash flow analyses, cost/benefit analyses when considering expanding their business, expense tracking and reduction, etc. In order to provide the type of advice I wanted to share while still fulfilling the requirements of Morgan Stanley, I would have had to manage a book of over 500 clients! This is not realistic nor would it give me the opportunity to serve ANY of my clients the way they deserve.

What finally occurred to me is that my knowledge, experience, talent and passion lie not in picking appropriate mutual funds, stocks, bonds or other investment vehicles, but in all the other aspects of a solid financial foundation. All the steps leading up to having the need to pick investment vehicles are what I do best: evaluating a client’s goals and values, then counseling them to a proper course of action to get there. Collecting the necessary information regarding their current situation and helping them get it organized for optimal results going forward. I wanted to be a consultant, paid for my knowledge and time, not paid for portfolio management advice and performance. From there the idea of being a Financial Coach was born, and here I am doing it!

So if I hadn’t taken the risk of leaving my bank job and joining Morgan Stanley, I never would have had the courage, creativity or connections necessary to take this next step of creating my own business. Three cheers to kismet, serendipity, divine intervention, whatever you call it! So all’s well that ends well, and I am grateful for the resources I picked up in my year with the firm. I am excited, nervous, inspired and motivated to make the best of my talents and skills in order to help others make the best of their talents and skills.

And now, my boss is calling – gotta get back to work!

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2 Responses to “What? You’re Embarking on Another Career Change?!?”

  1. Matthew Fenton Says:

    Kelley –

    First and foremost, congratulations on taking this step. It’s a wonderful thing to chart one’s own course.

    I fully agree that detours can often lead to a better place. In between my 5 years working on Airheads and my 12 years (and 6 days!) of self-employment with Three Deuce Branding, there was an ill-advised 10-week stint at a major consumer packaged goods marketer (not P&G). From the outside, it looked like a nice step on the ol’ career ladder. But after two weeks on the job, I found myself unable to get out of bed and go into that horrible place. The culture was purely financially-driven in the worst way – to the detriment of the consumer. But I give them full credit for accelerating the decision to chase my dream.

    It sounds like your decision was driven by the desire to serve clients – to provide a foundation and a plan to help them reach their goals. I can’t promise you a smooth ride, but I can say I like your chances.

    We’ll talk more soon. Best of luck and congratulations!

    Matthew Fenton
    blog: http://www.ThatBrandingThing.com

  2. Your Mom and Dad Says:

    You go girl…you know how proud of you we are!!! Congratulations!! XXOO

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