From Wall Street to independent advisor
Christy described herself as an “old soul” since she was young, always planning for her future. It became a good-natured joke with her girlfriends and she grew older and navigated college. But it also helped her envision the career path that she wanted.
At 22 years old, Christy began her career in accounting for Goldman Sachs. “Working for a big corporate company on Wall Street with all these Type A go-getters...it was the dream,” said Christy.
However, the job made her realize that there’s a different — and sometimes better — way to do things in the profession. You can be independent, have a family, run your own successful business, and make a huge, positive impact on other people’s lives. The road to those achievements would be long and rocky, but that vision of independence on your own terms is what kept Christy going.
“I have yet to find that in any other kind of professional field,” said Christy. “So it was this long view that really kept me going through all the many setbacks that I had along the way.”
Building a practice as a military spouse
As the spouse of an Air Force official, Christy faced hard decisions for her career. She was working for Goldman Sachs at the time, and wasn’t sure if she could continue her career and still move around as a military spouse. With the military, you relocate every one to three years...with no control over where you go.
Christy was determined to make her vision come true, though. In the end, she and her husband decided to live on one income, taking the pressure off of her business and giving it more flexibility to grow. That’s how Azimuth Wealth Management came to be and thrive.
Running a firm ten years ago wasn’t as easy as it may be today, where you can get referrals and stay connected with your clients online. Rebuilding your network of attorneys, insurance agents, and CPAs was difficult when moving around every few years, too. And doing business virtually just isn’t the same as face-to-face.
“As much as everything is virtual now, I think there is a huge amount of value of sitting eye-to-eye the first time you meet a client or in the onboarding process,” said Christy.
Finding a support system
Christy has accomplished great things in her career. She received the 40 Under 40 Award by InvestmentNews in 2015, around the same time she hit the $20 million management mark. Not to mention she had to juggle moving and being a mother at the same time.
“The first seven years I had the company, every single year, we either moved or I had a baby,” said Christy.
Christy credits having a strong support network to help her out, including her husband, Chris. Her good friend Laura, a CFA, also helped her have a maternity leave for each of her three children. Christy and Laura came up with a system for running the other’s business during her maternity leave.
“She didn't have staff, I didn't have staff. And we each wanted to like have a true maternity leave, have like three to four months to just bond with our babies,” said Christy. “She's a CFA and a CFP...You put two planners together and talk about having a clear vision for what you want. And we made it happen: she's run my business for all three of my maternity leaves.”
Considering the average maternity leave in the United States is shorter, from five to ten weeks long, it’s great to see women in the profession making what they want happen. That’s just another part of how Christy planned a vision for herself and made it come true.
What You’ll Learn:
- Christy’s start in the profession
- The challenges of being a military spouse
- Growing a practice virtually
- Optimism and stubbornness
- Making the InvestmentNews 40 under 40 list
- Having kids while running a firm
- Creating her own maternity leave
- Relating to clients
- The EOS system
- A typical day in Christy’s life now
- Her advice to new financial planners
In this episode of YAFPNW, Hannah and Christy discuss: