Why I Changed Careers to Become Your Financial Planner

By Amber Miller, CFP®

Designing, coaching & contagious behaviors

For most of my life I struggled to find my own professional community and sense of purpose.  I found myself drawn to the arts and initially worked as a scenic designer for stage plays.  It was an attempt to create something that could be shared with others to enrich their lives and challenge their own life purpose.  My career evolved into working in marketing departments doing graphic design, which continued to be detailed, creative work, but lacked the higher purpose, enabling true change in the lives of my community.  One could argue we were changing people’s behavior, but encouraging people to buy things or attend events is a much different beast than empowering them to truly make choices that enable them to live the life of their dreams.

I worked part-time as a rowing coach for high school students for a few years when I first moved back to Minnesota in 2009.  It was perhaps the closest thing to this change and sense of purpose I had found.  I got to watch these kids grow up, grow into themselves, and see their own sense of self-empowerment blossom.  Through regular practice they were becoming the athletes they never thought they could be.  And their newfound self-worth and pride was contagious – they brought new friends to the team, and would tell me stories about how they were doing better in their studies.  Even some parents decided to join the adult teams because of how contagious the positive attitude and change was in their children, my athletes.

So I was caught between worlds.  I saw that with the right attitude, change was contagious.  It was building a better community and each individual was finding their own sense of purpose.  This was inspiring!  But it still wasn’t quite academic enough for me – my career still didn’t have it.  I was still searching.

Small steps and 1 giant leap

In the late summer of 2014, I met with my parent’s financial planner (who I knew from attending multiple meetings with her and my parents previously)  to discuss my new curiosity of the field.  She talked me through a day in the life of a financial planner and encouraged me, especially as a woman, to take the giant leap and change career paths into financial planning.

That fall I attended Symposium, a nationally-recognized local conference on (you guessed it) financial planning and I fell in love with each of the topics, even, and especially, the ones that were over my head at the time.  I made contacts at that conference who introduced me to the team at The Planning Center, where I have now worked since February 2015.

I had an idea that I would enjoy the work, be good at it, but I had no idea that I would fall in love with the profession and each and every person I’ve met in it.  Or at least, not to the degree that I have.  Every day I go to work I’m not only working with talented, motivated colleagues, but we’re working with clients to help them live their best lives.  We’re helping them by giving them the tools to make good choices, encouraging them to dream bigger and achieve it.  We’re their conscience and regular training coach, through whom they see the power and rewards of diligence and hard work.

Following dreams; what’s your life goal?

Outside of work, I have been studying for my CFP designation.  I have 1 class left to take and I plan on sitting for the board this year.  These classes have further stimulated my academic interests, and opened my eyes to a future of consistent learning about the details of the law, the nuances of human behavior and the future of this incredible profession.

I have finally found my own community and sense of purpose.  I am excited to be in this profession and cannot wait to proudly carry the credentials of a Certified Financial Planner.

As you come in for meetings, please ask me anything.  I can’t wait to hear your stories and help you achieve all of your biggest dreams!

Amber Miller, is a Sr. Planning Analyst in the Twin Cities office of The Planning Center, a fee-only financial planning and wealth management firm.

Email her at: amber@theplanningcenter.com.

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