Q&A with Startup Co-Founders – Financial Planning & Investment Management

Millennial Financial Planning

Name: Rob Gessner and Chuck Miller

Job Title: Financial advisors and co-founders of

Millennial Financial Planning

Career Field: Financial planning and

investment management

Industry: Finance

Company: Millennial Financial Planning LLC

Military Branch: Rob – Pennsylvania Army National Guard; Chuck – US Air Force

Military Occupation: Rob – Combat Engineer; Chuck – Security Forces

How did your military background help your career so far?

Leadership is the biggest one by far, and it will of even more importance as we grow our firm. As the co-founders, and entrepreneurs, everything begins and ends with us. We are responsible for every decision we make for the company, and we need to take the initiative to make those decisions and follow through.

As MFP grows and add employees, our leadership ability will make or break what the future looks like. Also, it will dictate the culture of our firm, which is something we think a lot of leaders overlook as an important aspect of their role.

What advice or steps would you recommend for veterans preparing to enter your career field?  

Do your research! We empower our clients with info and education, and the same goes for veterans looking into any career field. Find people who are doing the job already and get the inside track on what life is really like when doing the job. Just hearing “you can make a lot of money” probably isn’t good enough, it doesn’t mean you will be happy or find your work fulfilling.

What do you enjoy the most about your career field?

The most enjoyable part of this job is getting to help people with some of the most important parts of their lives. We connect their goals and wants directly to their happiness. Everyone wants to retire, some need to plan weddings, others want to help kids with the cost of college; these are what our clients are working so hard to accomplish. We also love knowing that our clients leave our meetings more in the know about their finances and money in general. We really think they appreciate the time we take to ensure they really understand their situation and financial plan.

What do you like least about your career field?

Right now, it is the administrative tasks. While they are necessary, in fact crucial, to the success of our company and our clients, they can be entirely too time consuming. Until the time comes that we can work with some trusted people to handle these tasks, we bear the responsibility. Some of it keeps MFP legal, so we make sure it gets done.

What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential to success in this career field?

Perseverance is a big one. You can’t, and won’t, make everyone a client; you can’t help everyone. Being able to get around hearing “no” or “not interested” and keep trying is a big hurdle for some folks to get over.

Self-motivation and time management are big attributes as well. It is easy to get side tracked with tasks that really are not productive, or meetings get cancelled or rescheduled, and you have to be flexible while at the same time remaining focused.

How do most people get into this career field?  What are common entry-level jobs?  

A lot of the people we have known just jumped into it. They had a business owner mindset and the finance industry fits into that in many ways. Also, some may have started out as interns or junior reps while in college, and then could transition to full time after gaining experience and insight into the career.

How did you find and apply for this job role (career fair, networking contact, online application, etc.)?  

We created Millennial Financial Planning, so thankfully we knew we would get hired! But we can say that most companies list their open positions all over the web. Career fairs are another big one. They can be good because you get to speak face to face with another rep or your potential boss.

What made you stand out as a candidate for this job role?

This will sound strange, but frustration. We were not happy in how the industry obtained clients, and wanted to do things differently. Our outlook was to change the industry of financial planning and wanted to make it accessible to everyone. We want to change the mindset of most Americans who think they do not make enough money to get help with that money. It is 100% not true, and we wanted to be the guys who fixed that problem. We stand out because of our mindset on money….”wealth is a state a mind, not a number in a bank account”

What kind of education, training or experiences does your job role require?

The proper financial licensing is the biggest requirement. They are not easy to obtain, and require a great deal of time and study to pass the exams. The services or products you want to provide determine which specific licenses you need. There are also continuing education courses that need to be completed every few years. Some of the material can be math heavy, or just generally technical, so people need to be prepared for that.

What are the major components of your job role on a daily basis?

As a startup, our roles change day to day, sometimes even minute to minute. Overall, we serve as the planner and investment advisors for our clients and their plans. When we first started, Rob basically became a lawyer to complete all the necessary paperwork to file our firm. Chuck is the constant visionary for concepts and ideas that will enhances our clients experience and continue to add value for them.

What do you like about your industry?

We love that there is no one way in finance. Each client has their own priorities, and that was one trend we saw and helped in the start of MFP. A lot of Millennials want to focus on getting rid of their student loan debt, others who are past that hurdle now want to get their first home. We actually have clients of every age demographic right now, not just Millennials, so we enjoy being able to have unique conversations specific to that person.

How do you see your industry changing in the next 10 years?

10 years in our digital age will see more changes than what occurred over the past 100 years. We think the financial world will continue to see more automation, and certainly more digital tools to help both clients and advisors. We are likely to see regulation changes as well, just like the recent DOL rule, that will gear practices more towards the protection and well-being of clients.

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