For the first time ever, we’ve ranked the 200 best financial adviser mothers in the country. “Every mom on this list has three families: her clients, her team and the one that greets her when she returns home,” says Liz Shook, COO of SHOOK Research. “Who better to trust with your future than a mother?” See the winners, and also learn why financial advising might make a great next career for you.
Soo (Susan) Kim; Vienna, VA
Private Wealth Adviser, Ameriprise Financial
How I landed in this industry: One day I saw an ad in the paper and thought, Why not?
Why it makes me a better mom: I’ve learned how to become an expert at managing my time wisely. Between meetings, calls, carpools and activities, it has taught me to make the most of every minute. I truly value the time I spend with my kids and family. Plus, I have a greater appreciation for the time I have for myself!
The secret to financial success: It’s difficult to care for your money if you don’t care for yourself. Don’t be shy to ask for help from friends and family. Even Superwoman needs a good eight-hour night of sleep, a bowl of soup or a glass of wine every once in a while.
Sarah Damsgaard; Chicago
Vice President, Financial Adviser, JP Morgan Securities
How I got this job: After graduating from college, my older brother introduced me to the industry. I began my career on the institutional side of the business and, years later, my brother and I became business partners.
Why this job helps me as a parent: So much of what I do at work is applicable to my life at home. From solving problems to planning for our future, my expertise in the office helps me be a better and more-prepared mom.
My No. 1 financial tip: Start saving today! Put away every dollar that isn’t allocated to your family budget, and you’ll be glad you did. But don’t forget to treat yourself. Make it a point to do something just for you every so often—you’ve earned it.
Liz Weikes; New York City
Vice President, JP Morgan Securities
My career path: I worked for Her Majesty’s Government of the United Kingdom in the Department of International Trade. I joined Bear Stearns in 2006 and JP Morgan in 2008 through the firm merger.
Why I love my job: Flexibility. I can meet with clients, travel to meetings, and network around my toddler’s schedule. Being able to hold Matthew when he wakes up and rock him to sleep most days has allowed us to have a special bond, despite my demanding work.
How to rock your finances: Start a college savings plan for your kid from birth—or ASAP. No matter the amount, it’s a good start. By cutting back on just a few toys each year, you’ll be surprised by how quickly the money adds up and how decluttered your home looks.
Christina Boyd; Wayzata, MN
Senior Financial Adviser, Managing Director—Investments, Merrill Lynch
What led me to this career: My father was a financial adviser, so the field always interested me.
Why this job is good for working moms: Financial advisers are like entrepreneurs—we have a great deal of control over our practices. So even though we work a lot of hours, there is some flexibility.
Top money recommendation: It’s important for women to have their own financial independence, because you never know when your situation might change. Certain life changes—such as divorce, widowhood or health issues—can come on quickly and unexpectedly, so being able to earn money, budget and save is critical. And if your spouse tends to handle all the bill paying, make sure you meet regularly to discuss your family’s financial situation so you’re in the loop.
Betsy Pakenas; Frederick, MD
Executive Director, Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley
My career journey: It’s the family business. My father invited me to work along-side him as a financial adviser. It’s also a “people” business, and I’ve rarely met someone I didn’t want to know better.
Why this job rocks for working moms: You can own your own destiny and have autonomy. It’s also a job that plays to the innate strengths of women—we’re empathetic, great listeners and natural caretakers.
My best financial advice: Working mothers typically focus on the here and now, and the important but not urgent matters infrequently get addressed. Make financial planning a high priority. The eve of retirement is too late to thoughtfully plan for it and manage any blind spots.
Mindy Fishel; San Francisco
Director: Client Adviser, Alex. Brown, a division of Raymond James
The way I got this job: I started in a research/quantitative role at the company and was later invited to join a team of client advisers to manage portfolio allocations.
How it helps me be a great mom: I work East Coast hours on the West Coast. I’m in my office by 5:30 a.m. and home with my family by 3:30 p.m. I make my own travel schedule, so I’m not out of town for important family functions. Plus, as long as I have my computer and the Internet, I can always be in touch with the markets and client accounts.
My favorite money tip: Think about where you want to be in five, 10 and 20 years. Have faith in the market’s ability to generate long-term gains and in your own ability to grow your income. Hire a financial adviser to educate you.
Kate Waters; New York City
Senior Vice President-Financial Adviser, Morgan Stanley
My path to this career: I started in telecom investment banking and noticed there was a lack of personal planning for the unfamiliar complexities that accompany significant wealth.
Why it’s a fabulous gig: I love empowering others to be the best they can be, and helping others create and “feel” financial freedom is incredibly rewarding. My kids see that you can have a career that you love and also be fully present for them.
What to do with your money: Take inventory of what you have, be diligent about saving, find a wealth adviser to guide you, and write down your financial, personal and professional goals. This creates mental space for opportunities and challenges that come your way.
Marta Shen; Atlanta
Senior Vice President, Wealth Management, Raymond James
My motivation: I was born in Argentina to Taiwanese parents, who lost their entire life savings. They came to America with $200 in their pockets and three young children. That drives me to help others manage their finances.
What’s great about my job: I can set my own hours, which allows me to handle parenting tasks when I need to.
My top financial trick: Kids are taught about the difference between needs and wants early, and this is good advice for parents to follow. Saving for college and retirement is a need. Getting a fancy toy (whether as a kid or an adult) is a want. Cover your needs before your wants.
Emily Rubin; Rye Brook, NY
Senior Vice President—Wealth Management, UBS Financial Services
My way into the industry: I was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and then joined my father at UBS, bringing a fresh set of eyes to the business. Together, my father and I have grown it more than threefold.
How this job makes me a better mom: Our UBS technology platform allows me to remain in complete contact with my clients and accounts while working remotely. Despite the long hours, I can still be there for my kids’ special moments.
The secret to financial success: I taught my kids to divide their money into four buckets—save, invest, give and spend—and they store it in a special piggy bank with compartments. They’d see how quickly the “spend” money would disappear and get excited by seeing the other categories grow. This taught them not only the joy of giving, but also how to be financially responsible.
Lauren Pearson; Birmingham, AL
Managing Director & Partner, HighTower Twickenham
How I became a financial adviser: I needed a job that 1) was geographically transferable because my husband’s job was prone to relocation; 2) was flexible because we planned to grow our family; 3) involved helping others; and 4) engaged my gifts, stimulated my mind and helped me grow as a person.
Why this job is perfect for working moms: My clients appreciate that I’m a mom. They expect me to go to my children’s soccer practice yet trust that their wealth is being managed with excellence, though it often means answering emails in the middle of the night.
Essential money advice: Prioritize meeting with an expert and putting a financial plan in place. I had a working mother in my office just two months ago who has gotten more done in that time than some of my clients get done in years.