Social media can provide some magical networking & collaboration opportunities.
I’m very pleased to give an introduction to my first interview at Generation YRA featuring Douglas A. Boneparth, CFP®. I was able to get introduced to Douglas through a Twitter chat (specifically Chelsea Krost’s #MillennialTalk!), where I discovered that he was a CFP® located in New York City specifically focused on working with Millennial clients.
There’s this inclination that Millennials are skeptical when it comes to any form of financial advisement and education. I’m trying to change that here in my corner of the internet, but if you’ve read my first post you’ve learned that I am in no way certified in financial planning or advisement. I’m just a strong encourager of Millennials (and all that come to visit here) to find ways to strengthen their financial game plans to secure their present & future. When someone in such a prestigious role is dedicated to working with our generation (Douglas is a Millennial himself!), there’s less of a barrier when it comes to having open conversations about financial matters.
I reached out and sent an email to Douglas, and was elated to have the chance to set up a phone call with him. In our one phone conversation, I was inspired by his passion and dedication as a CFP®. I encourage you to head on over to his site and check out his bio right here. I’m excited to show you a run down of interview questions & answers with Douglas to give you insight as to what a CFP® does, and his advice on certain aspects of finance facing the Millennial generation today.
Check it out!
Let’s dive right on in, tell us about being a CFP® (Certified Financial Planner). Explain your role, and how you decided this is the career you wanted to pursue?
Today more than ever, CFP® professionals are an essential resource. From budgeting, to planning for retirement, to saving for education, to managing your taxes and your insurance coverage; “finances” doesn’t mean just one thing for most Americans — and “financial planning” means much more than just investing. Bringing all the pieces of your financial life together is a challenging task. Although many professionals may call themselves “financial planners,” CFP® professionals have completed extensive training and experience requirements and are held to rigorous ethical standards. They understand all the complexities of the changing financial climate and will make recommendations in your best interest.
Ultimately, my role is to help my clients reach their financial goals. However, this is often easier said than done. But, by engaging in financial planning, we can build a roadmap to success together. The first thing we do is gain an understanding what your goals are and, then, through the data gathering process, we analyze your individual financial situation. From this analysis we, provide actionable recommendations. After recommendations are implemented, we track our progress over time. Once planning is in place, we handle out client’s investment needs.
I became interested in financial planning having grown up the son of a CFP®. Seeing my father help people, run his own business and possess the flexibility to always be there for us made going into this industry very attractive. While working with my father gave me a leg up, getting to where I am at today wasn’t easy. I left his practice after four years to start my own practice in NYC. It took more than seven years of training and personal growth to arrive here. Keep in mind two of those years involved the great recession. I think a lot of college grads might shy away from this kind of commitment but, if you can get in and stick with it, it’s a very attractive industry.
You work with a variety of clients, but the thing that captured me the most is your emphasis on working with Millennials. What brought you to this emphasis of working with generation Y?
Well, I am a millennial myself so all the things going on with our generation are part of my world too. I saw what happened during the recession. Many of my friends, and even my wife, felt the full brunt of this event. A lot of us decided to continue educating themselves after college and walked into a pretty disastrous economic environment when they finished the graduate programs. Let’s not forget those who were simply laid off due to the circumstances. It was pretty brutal. I saw firsthand how we all lacked financial literacy and just how emotional things were becoming. I also saw that older financial planners typically did not want to deal with us or with our set of financial circumstances. Why would they? They had their own problems to deal with and “bigger fish” to fry with their Baby Boomer counterparts. So, seeing the help we needed and the potential we have, I took it upon myself to invest in us and dedicate a large portion of my time and energy towards helping millennials. You can read about this on my blog. I’ve written a four part series called, “The Millennial Problem.”
Student loan debt…I know these are three words that really put a ball and chain on our generation. How do you feel about student loan debt, and what are some ways that Millennials can work on paying it off?
Student loan debt, like all debt, can be very bad when you are not educated about it or how to use it properly. When you make an uninformed financial decision, and the consequence of that decision is taking on debt you cannot afford, you’re going to be pretty upset. This is a reality for a lot of young people and I know there are too many of us who have found ourselves in a tough situation by virtue of the amount student debt that we carry. However, when used properly, student debt can be a good thing because it allows you to receive an education that should increase earning potential in your working years. Yet, this equation is breaking down because of the rising cost of education and the perception that earning a degree is a right, not a privilege. So, for those who have yet to go to college, or are in school, sit down with a professional and understand how the debt you’re accumulating translates into a monthly expense and how that expense factors into what it is you think you want to do after school (rent, lifestyle, etc.).
The first thing debt laden millennials can do is take ownership over your debt. You have to get over how you got here and the emotions surrounding it. It’s time to educate yourself on what you’re carrying and to plug this item in the context of your larger financial goals. Nothing will ever replace the hard work you need to put into your career and job to earn more income, but by becoming educated around your debt and financial situation, you can better focus on what you need to do to reach your goals, including paying off your student debt. This is why I offer complimentary consultations. Sometimes it’s just a conversation to get someone heading in the right direction.
Entering the real world can bring on a wide variety of financial responsibilities. What is your advice on how to sort through all these financial responsibilities?
Identify and prioritize your goals. I can’t stress this enough. Saying “I want to make lots of money is” is a terrible goal. Goals you set should be quantifiable. Without that part, you cannot create a plan of action to achieve the goal. Remember, you get to set these goals. They are subjective. There’s really no wrong answer, but you should be realistic. Once you know what it is you are striving for, get organized. Having your financial house in order will provide you with focus and clarity. Nothing is more distracting then being unorganized in this area. Understanding your income and expenses thoroughly is a great start. From there, move on to building a cash reserve and/or saving for your financial goals.
Sticking to your financial goals can become pretty challenging. What’s one thing that helps you continue to move forward to achieve such goals?
Think with the end in mind. Don’t get so caught up that you forget why it is you are working. Also and again, being organized is going to go a long way here. If you are ready, financial planning will keep you super focused on what you need to do to achieve your goals because everything is in one place.
Financial literacy is something that all generations could potentially work on. How can a CFP® help with increasing financial literacy?
CFP® professionals are trained to educate you on areas of personal finance you don’t understand or simply want to learn more about. We have a fiduciary obligation to you. While you don’t need to understand personal finance like a CFP® does, we want to make sure you know enough about the various subject in personal finance to make the best financial decisions for yourself. You can visit www.letsmakeaplan.org to learn how financial planning can help you reach your goals. If you understand financial planning and it’s key areas by having working with a CFP®, you should be able to demonstrate a high level of financial education.
What’s one bit of advice/a quote that helps guide you in life?
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”-Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy is telling us that there’s no magic bullet to success. You have to work hard and work smart. Those are the secret ingredients.
I want to give another huge thank you to Douglas for stopping by for this interview! If you live in New York City and you’re looking to speak with a CFP®, get in touch with Douglas by heading over to his site here. He’s incredibly inspiring!
P.S. Think you’ve got advice and guidance that fits in with Generation YRA: A Millennial’s Guide to Securing a Strong Financial Present and Future? I’d love to interview you! Feel free to reach out to me at Alyssa.Windell@live.com // looking forward to it.