FPA member and adviser at Wealth Management Partners, Stevie Jade Turner represents the new blood in the financial planning industry.
Having received her letter of authority in January this year, 23-year-old Turner will be able to call herself a Certified Financial Planner in less than a year. It may sound like she was on a straightforward path, but it was pure chance that introduced this country girl to the advice profession.
“When I first went to university I was dead set I wanted to be an actuary and I started doing that degree for about six months, then realised it wasn’t for me.”
Turner ran around every careers event she could until she came across one particular seminar. “I didn’t even know what it was. I just heard this man talking about what he did on a daily basis and I thought ‘yeah, I want to do that. What is it? How do I change to that degree?’”
That is a big problem for the profession – many people don’t see it as a viable career choice, because they don’t know it exists. Turner often has to explain to people what she does and she says the explanation is different every time.
“It really is just helping people to achieve their goals, but you do it using financial strategies that everyday people aren’t aware of and loopholes in legislation that people wouldn’t think to even investigate. It’s using our expertise to help people get what they want out of life. That’s really what it is.”
Being a woman in a male-dominated profession is all part of the learning curve for Turner. She says that a lot of people out there don’t think women have the sales skills required, but a shift in the industry towards a service role means this could be an advantage.
“It’s a bit like, a lot of people prefer a women doctor because they’re a bit more empathetic or they’re a bit easier to discuss intimate, personal details with, so I think people might think of financial planning in the same way. It is quite intimate to divulge all your financial information, so to pour your heart out like that to someone who you know will be empathic and will listen and care, I think that makes a difference and I think that’s definitely an advantage.”
Being empathetic can take quite a toll, and Turner says it is something that she struggled with at first. “The technical side, coming up with solutions – that’s the easy part. It’s the hand-holding, and the nurturing of clients that can take its toll on you the most.”
Ever the optimist, she is excited about the budget announcement, saying that where others see a threat, she sees an opportunity and a challenge. That drive is something that she says the next generation of planners are full of. “Looking back through the people that have been in this industry for a while, I think that some of that passion is wavering. So I do like to see that the newcomers are very passionate.”
She says a sure way to boost access to advice is to “open arms” to a wide demographic of future advisers that might be able to reach those who don’t already seek advice. Getting positive stories out in the media is also a must, says Turner.
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