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  • Emlen Miles-Mattingly

The Journey Begins: A Financial Advisor Drops The Mask

If you missed this podcast episode (originally featured on the Human Advisor podcast), check it out here:

What does the path to becoming a financial advisor look like?


I’d like to take off the mask and tell you about my journey.


It all started in 2012.


I was a pastor going through a divorce, then I get a DUI. Then I decide to become a financial advisor. Along the way, I’ve learned some life lessons.


Before this time in my life, I was very judgmental. It was easy for me to call someone out when they did wrong. However, after these events happened to me, I didn't have a leg to stand on.


It was a humbling experience.


That’s when I started my finance career as the manager of a bank.


It’s been 12 years since then.


I feel like I’ve come full circle!


Creating a Name


I market using social media.


I want people to know who I am.


I’m telling my story and taking off the financial advisor mask.


One of my clients had to choose between me and another financial advisor. She narrowed down her prospects by looking me up on social media.


The client was able to see pictures of my family. She got to know me.


She said, “Before I came in, I felt like I already knew you. I decided to go with you over him because all he does is talk about money, and I didn't even hear you talk about it.”


That’s because there’s more to me than making money.


I’m all for educating people.


Speaking and Education


I believe education and speaking engagements are part of being a financial advisor.


Eventually, we’ll get more minority advisors in the business. And there are people in the business who aren't minorities, but who are dealing with minorities. This is an area where I can step in and reach out because we have some common ground or can build some.


It’s a place where I can encourage others, and I would love to do that! I enjoy talking about personal development, growth--just different things that I think people need to hear.


Building Connections


Another thing that interests me is building connections.


I think that may come from my past as a pastor. I believe in building relationships with my clients and the community.


It’s important for people in the community to see that I look like them, as well. And that's the one thing continues to bug me. An example is I was talking to someone who mentioned the fact that I go into the high schools wearing a suit.


Why?


Because I'm probably the only black man they're going to see in a suit. It’s important that they see me like that. I had a pastor tell me one time, “Do you see the way my young black men look at you?” He said that they would never look at him like that. He said that’s why they need more people like me. Because I can reach them--encourage them.


I was approximately 25 years old--I didn’t quite understand what he was talking about. Now that I’m a father, I understand. There’s a generation of people who want their kids to have good examples.


There are young boys and men today who’ve never heard of a financial advisor. I agree with my friend Tyrone, that it’s important that we continue to create that imagery. He said as a black man, you are challenged to do that. It’s what I strive to do. He and I can’t go on to Bloomberg, wearing a t-shirt and jeans. We are setting an example.


My grandfather said, If you look like someone, you act like someone, people will treat you like someone!


Finding Your Niche


How do you find your niche?


I wouldn’t know because my niche found me!


I started out in banking. I started as a teller for four years, while I went to school. Then I got into new accounts, and then I eventually became the branch manager.


We always had financial advisors in the office. I liked what I saw--they arrived to work later than the rest of us, and they left later. They drove a nice car and wore a suit.


I wanted what I perceived that they had. I just didn't know what it was. I started off with Edward Jones. And I worked there for a little while then to an insurance company. I worked at those two places a little over five years.


How did GenNext Wealth start?


It seemed as if the only way to make money as a financial advisor is to deal with people that have money, but one of the reasons that I became a financial advisor was to help people that look like me and other minorities.


I started noticing that a lot of clients were coming to me from white advisors. They're leaving their white advisors and coming to invest with me or buy insurance from me. I had over 100 clients and noticed that either looked like me or my wife, who’s Mexican.


That’s when I thought I could work with people like me.


They had financial questions that weren't being answered from the services that I was offering. I was being paid was to sell the product.


Fast forward a couple of years, and I started my own firm. The reason was so that I could help minority families. Do you need a financial planner? Let me help you! Visit Gen Next Wealth to find out what I can do for you, and let's get to know each other.

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