By Evan Vladem
One of the most challenging things to do, especially at 30 years old, is to completely reinvent yourself. At that stage of your life and career, you’ve probably developed years of experience in your chosen career path. Although it may not be easy, the work may seem natural. You somewhat know what to expect on a daily basis, how to handle an array of issues and problems or you may even be climbing the corporate ladder, like I was.
I had been working in the sports industry for over a decade when I made a calculated decision to pivot and become a financial advisor, while still utilizing my connections in the sports world.
Just days after my 30th birthday, I joined my father and his partners at Associated Financial Consultants and Associated Investor Services, an independent financial advisory in South Florida that has been building a reputation for over 40 years in investments, retirement plans, group benefits and insurance.
While my new role was brimming with opportunities, I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy transition for me. Although my father is in the industry and I attended many of his investment events, giving me a certain familiarity, the shift still seemed unnatural. Unlike what some may have thought, I knew that I wasn’t going to strut right into Associated, sit down behind a desk and suddenly become the new, influential heir at the firm because of my father.
What I did have was a natural ability in developing relationships, with a wealth of career experiences, especially in sales, a massive network, marketing expertise and leadership abilities.
But now it’s dealing with other people’s finances, which comes with a number of intricacies—the influence of family, children, life events, tax consequences, marriages, death, inheritance, paperwork, regulations, investment vehicles, retirement, market fluctuations, succession and the list goes on—the pressure is great.
While I have unprecedented access to my mentors (my father and his two partners), Investacorp, our broker/dealer, who designed a family-oriented approach for young advisors in situations similar to mine, immediately paired me with a coach in the firm’s associate advisor program when I initially came on board.
I also had the opportunity to visit another financial advisory in Connecticut, which had two young advisors within the family who recently joined. Essentially a competitor, the firm opened their doors to us on how they plan for succession, growth, operations, technology and the changing landscape of the regulations within the industry.
At Associated, I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by a deeply experienced staff that doesn’t treat me as a threat, instead has patiently assisted in my progression. In addition, I have been granted access to some of the top money managers, funds, investment executives and technology partners. And rather than just sales pitches, wholesalers have made it a point to educate and provide significant insights.
As a matter of fact, the last sixth months of my life have been the most challenging, stressful and uncomfortable times that I have ever dealt with. I thought I had worked hard in the past. Compared to this, that notion is a complete understatement.
But now I feel I’m hitting my stride—bringing in business, leading client meetings and creating proposals as a licensed financial advisor, which in itself is a major personal accomplishment. What was once mind-numbing has become digestible and natural, even in the short time that I’ve been here. I’ve also learned a great deal about myself and my limits.
That wouldn’t have been the case if I hadn’t been given the resources and tools available to me at Associated and with Investacorp (a subsidiary of Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services). It’s almost like I jumped into a pool designed for accelerated learning and career progression.
While endless obstacles still lie ahead, my outlook on what was once seemingly impossible has dramatically changed. Instead of dreading the long days, I now embrace them as an opportunity to grow. What I’ve realized is that learning and growth should never cease, regardless of what profession you’re in or how old you are. Evolving and reinventing yourself is a must for success and personal growth.
If anyone else is planning or taking a similar ride, the resources and people available to you are essential. But mindset is probably the most important tool for success. If that’s positive and open, anything is attainable.
Evan Vladem is a financial advisor at Associated Financial Consultants and Associated Investor Services, an advisory firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.