I am a student at the University of Arizona, studying Business Economics, but I originally grew up in the Bay Area. In the fall of my junior year of college, I was given the opportunity to attend one of the largest conferences for the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) industry, Schwab IMPACT, as part of their Student Program. It was there, in Washington DC, that I was first introduced to Team Hewins. I met with the Director of Business Operations, Mikhael Balachov and President, Roger Hewins. Following our discussion, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to intern for ten weeks the following summer.
I liked Team Hewins because of the values they expressed; their client-first attitude accompanied by what I believe to be a sound investment philosophy. Having had previous experience at a financial planning firm, I immediately started the summer working on several projects in advising, investment operations, marketing, and compliance. I was able to put into practice topics I had learned about in class and began to delve into what makes Team Hewins different from other RIAs. I took notes in client meetings, updated financial projections, and did research for unique client circumstances. While these tasks were not completely new to me, they took on new meaning in the context of Team Hewins’ processes and approach. The summer offered not only a great chance to learn, but it allowed me to begin to transition what I had been taught and apply it to real-world examples and scenarios.
This summer has been ten weeks of learning – technical learning and learning what it means to be an advisor. In my conversations and interactions with advisors at Team Hewins, I have learned that financial planning is about more than simply investing a client’s money and talking finance. To be a financial planner is to help clients feel confident and secure in their ability to live the life they hope to live. It is about being involved in a client’s decisions to send their kids to a better school, to remodel their home, to give to the charities they want to support or to reassure them that they are secure enough to financially take a risk and start their own business. It is about developing a relationship with another person and helping them through a uniquely personal topic — a topic that they may not talk about with their closest friends. It is about giving people the freedom to live how they want to live and support them in doing so.
Even in the short time I was here this summer, I saw the importance of these conversations and topics, the ones that extend beyond “how has my portfolio performed?” I have been involved in discussions with parents and their children as they attempt to teach their kids about the importance of investing and saving before leaving home for college. This internship has allowed me to improve the technical skills needed to be successful in this career, but I also started to understand the impact and importance of the relationships you form in this profession.
Ultimately, in my time here this summer, I’ve begun to think differently about what it means to be a financial advisor. I have seen advisors who sincerely want to help people and make an impact in the lives of others, while also providing the best possible client experience for everyone they assist. Team Hewins has a culture of excellence and teamwork that radiates from the connections employees build with one another inside and outside the office.
In preparing for a career in financial planning, it is important to understand that personal finances are complex. Not only are taxes and investments difficult for many people to comprehend, but they become more difficult to look at objectively when a person’s life savings are involved. At its most basic level, personal financial success requires a disciplined approach to complicated tax, investment and estate issues, just to name a few. But added complexity can stem from the emotional decisions that people make when they lack the proper education and discipline. To help mitigate these tendencies, it is important for people to have a team behind them to help guide them through the complexities of their financial lives. I think anyone would be lucky to have Team Hewins as that support system for them.
Team Hewins has shown me how you can truly make a difference in people’s lives in this profession. My internship has not only taught me practical skills and technical knowledge, but it has also reinforced my desire to pursue a career in financial planning. I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to what the future holds.
Interested in an internship with Team Hewins? Click here for a list of our current opportunities.