Momentum Series Interview – NextGen Wealth: Financial Planning To Freedom
This marks feature #37 in the Momentum Series – an interview series to share the stories of bloggers from across the personal finance community.
The goal is to showcase their story, the wins, the losses and the actionable advice that others can take value from and insights about their blogging journey. Whether that be conquering debt, maximizing career earnings, the road to financial independence or other strategies for financial and blogging success.
This week I’m excited to welcome Clint from NextGen Wealth to the Momentum Series. Clint is a Certified Financial Planner with experience on Wall Street that eventually lead him to make the move to start his own practice, NextGen Wealth, in 2014.
Today Clint stops by to share his financial journey, discuss financial planning, share his experiences as a small business owner and much more.
If you want to connect with Clint at NextGen Wealth:
Ladies and gentlemen please enjoy the Momentum Series Interview – NextGen Wealth: Financial Planning To Freedom.
Hello! I’m Clint.
My website is NextGen Wealth.
I graduated with a finance degree from Missouri State in 2001. I became a Certified Financial PlannerⓇ in 2016.
After graduating from college, I started my career at a large Wall Street firm as a financial advisor. I had a few stints with other firms over the years before starting my own practice, NextGen Wealth, in 2014. Being a small business owner can be tough, but I can’t imagine having to work for someone else again.
Has taking control of your money and mastering your personal finances always been your mindset? Did you have a financial mentor to help steer you in the right direction?
I’ve always had a passion for it since it’s been my career after graduating from college, but I definitely haven’t always done the right thing. I’ve certainly made my mistakes. However, once I was married in 2008, that’s when I would say we really got serious about taking control of our money and mastering our personal finances.
I don’t think I’ve ever really had a mentor when it comes to personal finances. Although, my wife and I make a great team for always making sure we’re going in the right direction.
What strategies and tactics have you implemented in your to life to best set you up for financial success?
Automation and paying ourselves first. Treating savings and investing as a fixed monthly expense before taking into account any variable expenses has helped a ton. Along with that, just setting up automatic monthly contributions to savings accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, etc. is a huge help. Once you pay yourself first and it’s automated out of your checking account, that makes it pretty tough to spend it.
Have you made any major financial mistakes in your past? If so, what was the outcome and what did you learn from these mistakes?
Oh yeah, I’m by no means perfect. I had some credit card debt coming out of college that took some time to pay off and I probably even lived a little beyond my means in those first few years as well. It took some time to reign things in and get serious about building wealth. As for bad investment mistakes, I actually wrote a blog about my worst investment ever. I won’t go into the details here. Mistakes are normal when it comes to personal finances, but, what’s most important, is that you learn from those mistakes so you don’t make them again.
Is there an area or area(s) of your own personal finances that you’re still looking to better master and improve?
I’m always looking to get better and learn. I don’t think there’s one thing that really stands out (although I would like to find an investment that doubles every year :-), but I’m always open to new ideas on how to have a more efficient and fruitful personal financial life.
If you could send a memo to every 18-22 year old in North America about better managing their finances and understanding money but it could only be 3 sentences long, what would that memo be?
Pay yourself first. Before you ever get your first paycheck, make sure you have a plan to save at least 20% of your take-home pay. If you don’t start from the get-go, it’s hard to form that habit down the road.
What are some of the most influential resources that have shaped your money mindset?
Probably too many to list, but let me narrow it down to my top 5:
- The Power of Habit
- Talent is Overrated
- Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits
- The 4-Hour Workweek
- Financial Advisor Success Podcast (geared more towards financial advisors)
- Masters of Scale
- The Money & Media Podcast
- The Tim Ferriss Show
- The James Altucher Show
- This Week in Startups
Apps or Services
Can you share how your career path progressed from starting in financial advising to where you are now with NextGen Wealth?
When I started back in 2001, I had no idea what the heck I was doing. Once I passed my licensing exams, I was basically just thrown into the fire. It was awful and probably the worst way to go about training someone (and I’m not sure it’s gotten much better at a lot of the bigger firms)
It took me a long time to figure out what actual financial planning looked like. For many years, it’s was simply about managing investments (and that’s how it still is with a lot of firms). However, I wanted to have much more of an impact than just helping people with their investments. Let’s face it, investing money really isn’t that difficult. Find some diversified index funds or ETF’s and pay the lowest amount in fees possible. Anybody can buy the same investments (for the most part) as most financial advisors. There’s no secret sauce.
With that being the case, I wanted to bring more value than just managing investments. I wanted to truly help people with their entire financial picture and thus the reason I started NextGen Wealth. From helping people with their cash flow to helping them saving money on their insurance (auto, home, life, disability, etc.) to helping them choose the best credit cards, I try to cover everything and more when it comes to helping my clients. My goal is to offest what they pay me on annual basis by helping them save (or earn more) in other areas of their financial life. That’s what I feel true financial planning is all about.
What are the biggest misconceptions that media and personal finance bloggers have about financial planners and advisors?
To be honest, probably a lot of them are true but it is getting better. There are still plenty of commission salespeople and conflicts of interest out there. However, financial planners who truly look comprehensively (not just investment management) a client’s situation are becoming more apparent.
Plus, there are so many other ways to pay these financial planners and not just form a commission or AUM. A number of planners are now charging by a retainer, hourly or monthly subscription. Transparency is definitely getting better but we still have a ways to go especially when it comes to the bigger broker-deals and wirehouses.
What are the most common mistakes you see individuals and families making when it comes to building wealth and managing their money?
Most people know enough to be dangerous but eventually, they get to a point where they simply don’t know what they don’t know. And, once you get to that point you have the option of educating yourself more (which means time) or hiring someone to help you out (which means money). For a lot of people who get this point, they just end up doing nothing because life gets in the way. Long story short, the biggest mistake I see people make is doing nothing simply because they don’t know what direction to go.
When did you first start blogging on NextGen Wealth? Was there a specific launching off point or what influenced you to go down that path with your business?
I started about 4 years but really started taking it serious about a year or two ago. For me, I really just wanted to try and differentiate myself from other financial advisors. I want to provide honest advice so if people wanted to do it themselves, they’d be able to. I wanted to pull back the curtain so people knew exactly how a financial planner works and the different ways they’re compensated. I really want to provide complete transparency.
Do you have any specific goals with the blog element of your business over the next 12 months? What tactics are you planning to leverage to accomplish these?
Right now, my two priorities are increasing my readership and social media exposure. I’ve hired someone to help with a clear plan.
If you could recommend 3 of your blog posts for Making Momentum readers to check out, what would those be?
Any final pieces of advice or recommendations?
Ask for help. If you’re ever stuck in your personal finance life, seek advice from others. Whether it’s a mentor, parent, forum, blog, professional, etc., ask for help if you’re feeling lost.