My fingers would fly across the keyboard of my softly humming IBM Selectric typewriter. I always prided myself on speed but was looking for a different way to excel. Through my 20s, I worked at the elbow of executives running industry-leading corporations. On the secretary track, my understanding of business accounting and skill at putting together financial data wasn’t enough to give me an escape from making $2.10 an hour or the bosses who expected me to work through the weekend. At 30, I decided to take my knowledge, go back to school, and leverage it all into a new career. In 1979, I became one of the first women in the western United States to be a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.
Growing up, the kids in my family were conditioned to earn our own money. Whether it was picking berries or beans, we learned about hard work, loyalty, and what it meant to earn and save. Those experiences gave me a strong sense of responsibility for my own welfare and taught me to take care of others. Today those skills dovetail beautifully into my career advising clients. An attorney friend once told me that I was a social service dressed up as a financial advisor and he was right! Financial planning is a caregiving profession.
I remember taking a business course in my early 30s with a roomful of men. The instructor singled me out, trying to make the point that women were emotional and that you couldn’t “wear your emotions on your sleeve” with clients. On the contrary, I believe female advisors’ emotions and ability to feel things is a resource, not a problem. I believe the more we can connect with people and understand them, which is certainly a female trait, the better off we are as advisors and the more successful we are. Today, I lead McGee Wealth Management, a firm run by three senior advisors – all women. I’ve made the Top 1,000 Wealth Advisors in the U.S. list every year since 2016*. Turns out, having emotions can pay off.
By giving keynote speeches and writing extensively on the topic, I’m working to attract more women into the field of financial planning. It can be daunting for some because you’re making decisions and you are responsible. You’re right on the firing line and that can scare women. But, I believe, “What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” We need to help the world see successful women in this business so females considering financial planning can believe it’s possible. At the WLA, we are painting that picture.
*Barron’s is a registered trademark of Dow Jones & Company, L.P. All rights reserved. The rankings are based on data provided by over 4,000 individual advisors and their firms and include qualitative and quantitative criteria. Data points that relate to quality of practice include professionals with a minimum of 7 years financial services experience, acceptable compliance records (no criminal U4 issues), client retention reports, charitable and philanthropic work, quality of practice, designations held, offering services beyond investments offered including estates and trusts, and more. Financial Advisors are quantitatively rated based on varying types of revenues produced and assets under management by the financial professional, with weightings associated for each. Investment performance is not an explicit component because not all advisors have audited results and because performance figures often are influenced more by clients’ risk tolerance than by an advisor’s investment picking abilities. The ranking may not be representative of any one client’s experience, is not an endorsement, and is not indicative of advisor’s future performance. Neither Raymond James nor any of its Financial Advisors pay a fee in exchange for this award/ rating. Barron’s is not affiliated with Raymond James.