With a large portion of our population nearing retirement age, it is more necessary than ever for people to understand their financial futures. Investing smartly and knowing your options can be greatly helped by a financial adviser. James M. Siegel talks about his financial career.

(Photo Courtesy of James M. Siegel)

(Photo Courtesy of James M. Siegel)

What does your current job entail?

“As a financial adviser for Northwestern Mutual, my primary purpose is to lead families through a financial planning process to help them get on a path to achieving financial security. Financial security means many different things for different people so it is important to intimately know each of my clients, thereby allowing me to be in a position to best serve them. No one plan is exactly alike. It is important that I stay on top of the market and what is going on in the economy. Our clients are counting on us to be aware of our environment, and how it may impact their plan.”

What is your favorite part of your daily duties?

“There is nothing better than interacting with my clients. There is a palpable sense of pride and satisfaction when you lead someone down a path that allows them to go to bed at night and feel confident about a plan they have to retire, to protect their families and reach their own goals. Plus, my clients are fun, driven people who are highly successful. Being around them motivates me to be better myself.”

Do you feel your education prepared you for your current role?

“Graduating from Texas A&M in four years taught me how to work, how to prioritize, how to treat people and build relationships. I learned how to struggle and how to recover from a struggle. Walking across that stage came with a sense of pride and accomplishment that I carry with me into my professional life. My education came with a set of values and core principles that are irreplaceable.”

Do you have any advice for people wanting to pursue a similar career?

“The demand for this career has never been higher. Baby boomers are retiring in droves and millennials are in an exceptional position to plan now for tomorrow. There are so many people who need us and our financial planning guidance. That being said, before you decide to be in financial planning, I would advise that you take an honest audit of who you are and what your interests are. You have to believe in the higher calling to help others to plan financially – at a time when many people are hesitant to plan – to be successful in it. It is not something where you can just show up and be fine. You have to work extremely hard, and you have to have an entrepreneurial spirit. If that is you, then there is no better place to be right now.”

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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