Financial planning doesn’t often cross the minds of many Millennials, but Randy Ward has made it his career. The 23-year-old Washington native has worked as a financial advisor at Strategic Financial Partners since graduating from college last summer. The self-described “financial physician” talked about his budding career, family and what he enjoys about the Springs.
Can you tell me about your personal and professional background?
First off, I have been married since August 2012 to my beautiful bride, Krista, whom I dated for six years. I went to Colorado Christian University in Lakewood and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in business administration and minors in biology and chemistry. I began my career at Strategic Financial Partners — or at least the numerous seven-hour tests required to become an advisor — last summer, upon hearing many positive reviews of the company and their work from various personal mentors.
How did you get into finance?
I initially started investing early on in high school, which quickly turned investment research into an unexpected passion of mine. It was something I thoroughly enjoyed but had not intended to seek out as a career, until I began to realize that there was little more I could want in a job than something that brought me joy on a daily basis. I was also fortunate enough to have fantastic finance courses with outstanding professors, which only furthered my enthusiasm for a position in the financial industry.
Can you talk about your work with Strategic Financial Partners, and also about the company itself?
The company has been around for 10 years, and the main office is here in Colorado Springs, with two offices in Utah and one in Kansas City. It’s an independent financial services firm, which means that we are not tied to any one company’s products when making suggestions for our clients and can truly provide them with the best high-quality advice based on our due diligence. Within the company, our preference as advisors is to work in teams, as more brainpower and creativity provides for superior client satisfaction and a greater likelihood of meeting financial goals. Oftentimes, there will be five advisors that will work with any given client, whether it be a large corporation’s retirement plan — 401(k) or 403(b) — or an individual’s investment portfolio research.
How I like to describe the team approach is with an analogy of a family practice physician in that I, the “financial physician,” have the contact with the client and assess their financial health, yet if there are more complex issues that need to be addressed, I can call an in-house specialist for a greater depth of knowledge in the client’s area of need.
How would you characterize the development of your career as a young professional?
The development of my career has and continues to require a significant investment of time and energy, both toward preparing for and communicating with my current clients, as well as networking with various other community members. My team members and mentors at Strategic Financial Partners have made this process much smoother and swifter than would have been possible without their continued support and encouragement.
Do you think that Colorado Springs is conducive to such development?
Absolutely. There are many individuals in Colorado Springs who already recognize the countless benefits of working with a financial advisor, both personally and professionally, and I have found that many of my clients are more than willing to share their positive experience with friends, family, and co-workers, which is the best way for me to grow my client base as a young professional. This is especially beneficial for young families and individuals in this city who too often do not recognize the benefit of saving and investing early on prior to meeting with a financial advisor who has their best interest at heart. As a young man myself, it can be all too easy to put off financial health, but it is rewarding for clients to see the major impact that small sacrifices have on their long-term success. Strategic Financial Partners focuses much of our attention on the retirement plan consultation of corporations, physician/dental groups and nonprofit organizations, and there are few better places to find such saturation of wonderful nonprofits and businesses to work with as there are here in Colorado Springs.
Are you involved in any of the YP groups in the Springs? If so, can you tell me what that experience has been like?
I have been involved with the Colorado Springs Rising Professionals since 2013 and have enjoyed getting to know other like-minded and aspiring young professionals. It is encouraging to be able to grow together and assist one another in the advancements of our careers and personal growth. Several months back, I started working with a handful of other young leaders in philanthropy, in association with the Pikes Peak United Way, to kick off a Young Leaders Society in Colorado Springs. It is an exciting prospect and a group that will be a great value to the community.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities, whether that is wakeboarding, golf, tennis, basketball, camping, hiking, or snowboarding. I also enjoy spending time with our family and friends, going to church and our couples’ life group, reading, and exercising at the crack of dawn. nCSBJ