Julie McCormick, CFP, is a new NAIFA member who practices with Continuum Planning Partners in Brentwood, TN. Although McCormick has her investment and insurance license, she states that her specialty is financial planning as a whole.
McCormick's introduction into the financial services industry came after her initial plan to become a lawyer fell short. “I actually had no intention of joining the business at all. I was pretty sure I was going to be an attorney,” says McCormick. During her senior year of college, she was interning with a law firm when she quickly realized it wasn’t the right fit. She states, “[I had] to shift gears hard so I didn't really have a good fallback.” It wasn’t until she received a call from a recruiter in Memphis who specialized in wealth management that she felt a sense of direction. “[The recruiter] was so nice and [I decided] I'll just give it a try and I went to the office to kind of get a feel for what they did and was like yes, I see myself here. I can do this!”
Educating and connecting with her clients over the tough topics and decisions they are required to make is something McCormickenjoys about her career. She explains, “I really liked the idea of just being an educator and being somebody who's in a position to make really meaningful connections with my clients. I also like helping them through really, really tough stuff. In this industry, we talk about people dying prematurely, we talk about, can I afford to send a kid to college, we talk about a lot of really heavy stuff. So, to be an advocate for someone who is stressing about these things while also being in a position where I can help educate my clients on their options is really the nugget of what I get the most [joy] out of in this position. I also think that's the most important piece of what we do because so many people could just push products.”
In addition to her ability to connect and educate, McCormickexplains how another perk of the job is that the individual need of every client requires a wide range of products. This, in turn, creates diversified revenue streams for her as well as an interesting day-to-day practice. She states, “I enjoy that I can do a lot of different things, within this role. As a comprehensive financial planner, I'm talking to people about a lot of different issues or concerns that they may have, and we need different products to fill those needs and address those concerns. So, in terms of my different revenue streams, I am really attracted by the fact that I’m not looking at the exact same thing, day in and day out. I'm working with individuals on their individual needs and taking an approach to try to fill that however I can. So [whether] it's from an insurance, investment, or just an overall planning perspective, I feel like I am able to hit targets, concerns, and goals from different angles. That's probably one of the most attractive parts of this position”
McCormick's introduction to NAIFA came when her General Agent, Tim Sinks, who actively raves about the association and its value to the industry, was unable to attend a NAIFA event. A fellow advisor and NAIFA member invited her to fill Sink’s place and told her “she would be a great fit” for NAIFA. She reluctantly obliged. While she agreed that NAIFA’s mission was important, she thought it would be better if she got some more “footing” in her career before taking on the task of advocacy. Later that evening at the event, McCormick was completely caught off guard by how much the association had to offer. “[The NAIFA event] was awesome! It was really great to chat with a bunch of people, especially people outside of my agency because we're kind of in our own little bubble it feels like, so to talk to other professionals doing the same thing we do, facing the same challenges that we face, and then understanding what NAIFA really is spoke to me. I signed up that night, I wasn't planning on it this morning but I’m a NAIFA member now let's do this!”
During her short time with NAIFA, McCormick has expressed how the association’s advocacy is “critical” to the success of her business and the protection of her clients. “If I'm in a position today, making recommendations for products that these clients are ideally going to have for at least a decade, if not longer, I need to make sure that I'm doing everything I can to make sure all of the guarantees and the promises that I put in place […] are still going to be there for them 10 years from now. I don't want to sell something to someone that's going to lose value over time. I don't want to sell somebody something that's going to not yield them a lot of value in the future because that's why I think they need to get it today” says McCormick.
Although McCormick is both a new member and advisor that has just started to get her feet wet in all things NAIFA, she encourages her fellow members like her to get involved. She explains, “Initially as a new person, I kind of took the stance that [advocacy] is not my fight right now. I need to stay focused on my practice, buckle down, and make sure that I have a path to carve out for myself in this industry. I've changed my stance on that. I've kind of done a little bit of a 180. If I do see myself being in this business for a long time, it's only going to be to my benefit to get involved as soon as I can. Even though [I may] not be the smartest person in the room, I have a bunch to contribute and my opinion still matters.”
Thank you, Julie, for your loyal service to our industry. We look forward to a bright future in the association for you and are #NAIFAproud to call you one of our own.