“What financial advisor do you work for?”
Certified financial planner (CFP®), Amy Born (’94, financial services), used to hear that phrase a lot whenever she attended industry conferences. “Early in my career, I was often mistaken for being an administrative assistant and not taken seriously,” Born recalled.
As a woman CFP, Born is a rare breed. According to the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, approximately 23 percent of CFPs are women. While the percentage of women has increased significantly in many male-dominated professions in recent years, the number of women CFPs has remained the same for the past decade.
Born, a native of Los Angeles, California, fell into the role of financial planner thanks to a job she held at a CPA firm that helped her pay for her college tuition. “The financial services major required classes in personal and corporate taxes which I took because I thought it would help me at my work,” she said. “I ended up really enjoying the classes. The coursework in the major also satisfied all the classes required to earn the Certified Financial Planner™ designation. At the time, SDSU was one of only two universities in the state to offer this unique program.”
Though her course work was important, she said that two of the most essential lessons she learned at SDSU were confidence and time management skills. “My time at SDSU was not just about going to classes - it was a journey. I was able to develop self-confidence and leadership skills through my experience with Kappa Delta Sorority where I served as assistant treasurer and, later, treasurer. Also, working while going to college forced me to use my time wisely.”
In fact, the skills she learned at SDSU are still being used in her career today. In her current role as a senior wealth advisor at the Beverly Hills, California location of Boston Private, she helps families grow and preserve their wealth. She also assists clients in building their investment portfolios and provides financial planning services for people preparing for retirement or building college funds for their children or grandchildren.
While many people assume that the services of a financial planner are for the wealthy, Born says that those with the least amount of resources are the people who need these services the most. This is why she volunteers her time at the annual Financial Planning Day event, sponsored by the Financial Planning Association and hosted at the Los Angeles Central Public Library. “This event provides an opportunity for low income Los Angeles area residents to sit down with a qualified CFP professional one-on-one to ask questions ‘with no strings attached’,” said Born. “Many people don’t need full-time advice, they just need a little help or encouragement to make sure they are on the right track. We regularly get positive, heart-felt feedback from participants every year.”
Her ability to offer user-friendly financial advice is an important part of her job and it’s also why she feels that financial planning is a viable career path for women. “Women tend to be good listeners who take the time to educate their clients in down-to-earth language that clients understand,” she noted. “There have always been more men advisors than women, but hopefully, this will change soon.”