Each month, Sowell Management will be shining a light on one of our advisors. Sharing a bit of their success and insight with us all. What makes them standout? How do they differentiate so as not to become a commodity? And along the way, learn a little bit more about them, too.
To kick off the series, we’re sharing some insight and success from our Oklahoma advisor (#Boomer), Robert Clinton with Clinton Wealth Management. This financial veteran has been helping family-owned businesses unlock the secrets to find their personal wealth success. Here’s what Robert had to share.
You’re a CPA, an attorney and a financial wealth advisor. How do all three help your practice succeed?
I think everyone has a different pathway to becoming a financial wealth advisor and their respective paths inform their perspective (the lens through which they see their client’s life). I started out as a tax attorney working on wills, trusts, contracts etc . . . then I went back to graduate school studying capital markets and the way in which they respond to economic changes . . . then into corporate finance for two large family-owned businesses. As the CFO for those two businesses for almost 25 years, I was not only involved in mergers and acquisitions, but also was put in charge of their 401K programs and became very much aware of how scared the rank and file employee was to make investment choices within their 401K. This fear lead most of them to simply select the guaranteed income option because they did not understand how the markets worked. It motivated me to want to be part of their solution . . . or, part of the solution for others that also hesitated to invest in the markets. As I talk to new people, it seems as if the two main areas of their lives that they have left unresolved are (1) getting their estate documents in order and (2) creating a financial plan that enables their accumulated financial wealth to sustain them for their future years.
Why the “family business” emphasis? What is it about this segment that makes it a smart wealth advisor focus?
The two businesses that I worked with were family owned, and I had the privilege of working with these families through the transition of selling their businesses and developing a plan to use their sales proceeds in ways that may be unique to those that were used to running their business lives. I think that business owners think differently about their wealth than do the employees that they may have had in their businesses. Working in that area has helped me think about the issues that the business owners were facing . . . . and, having the opportunity to supervise their company’s 401K programs helped me think about the issues that the employees were facing. This combination perspective, along with the estate planning background, gives me a glimpse into peoples challenges that others may not have.
How do you think your mid-west/southern practice differs from one, let’s say, in the north or on the coasts?
I know that it is said that those raised in the Midwest or South are more in tune with the quality of life issues that everyone faces . . . but, I have lived in several parts of the country, and other than the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) and the big cities of the East Coast . . . I believe that the challenges are very similar. I try to avoid stereo-typing based on geography since the issues seem to be the same . . . with added issues on the west and east coasts, that advisors raised in those areas may be more equipped to address.
How do you find a way to standout? Any “must do” tips for success?
Not sure that I have a good answer on this one . . . as I do not try to standout! I would rather stand up for someone than stand out in front of them. For that reason, my success tips would be limited to simply focus on doing for your client whatever will provide them with the greatest benefit . . . and, that may be just the opposite of what would provide you, the advisor, with the greatest benefit. If you help one person . . . you earn the privilege of helping another.
Tell us a little about yourself outside of the office; what do you love to do in your free time?
My wife has a home-based business with Arbonne, and I enjoy spending time with her working on that part of her life. My boys are now grown, so the days of sporting events is largely in the past. My oldest son still participates in Special Olympics, so I enjoy watching his competitions. In years past, I spent a lot of time training myself and others in the art and science of K-9 Search and Rescue, and have many rewarding memories in that area as well as rewarding memories from my days spent in the U.S. Navy.