Published by Mark Schlipman
Like so many of us, the path to my career was not a straight line. In fact, it was a journey of exploration and curiosity driven by a need to connect and help people. Ultimately, I found the perfect role for me and those around me. But, if you had asked me when I was a kid what I wanted to be, I certainly would not have said, “A financial advisor, of course!”
I remember sitting in the chair at my dentist’s office thinking, “This guy is really funny and makes me feel comfortable.” Given the numerous instruments of torture at his disposal, this was no small feat. Along with his great sense of humor, my dentist always pointed out the positive things in life. Now, the idea of drilling on teeth all day did not excite me. But, I did realize I wanted to be in a profession in which I could help people and make them feel the way my dentist made me feel.
The idea of being a dentist vanished in 1986 when I saw the first episode of LA Law. LA Law intrigued me. I enjoyed watching the lawyers argue and win their cases and with such style! Seeing the lawyers dressed up and working in a fancy office was in stark contrast to putting on boots and helping in my father’s construction business. I was hooked and committed that day to becoming a lawyer.
After interning in a law firm, I came to the realization that being an attorney did not always have a Hollywood ending. The stress of being a trial lawyer and seeing an innocent client go to jail was something I knew I could not internalize or handle. Conversely, I certainly could not fathom the anguish in seeing a murderer go free. Alas, my dream of being a lawyer was dropped.
Prior to graduating from the University of Kansas, my Dad and I created a list of over a dozen professions for me to consider. One that came to mind was Financial Advisor. I was immediately drawn to the possibility. After making a local connection and conducting my first job interview, I was hired. The base pay of $350/week felt like I had just won the lottery!
Unfortunately, I quickly learned how the company could afford to pay a “newbie” in the business a base salary. I was asked to travel to different communities and push services that were not in the client’s best interest. Instead, they were designed to benefit the company. I was disheartened. My primary goal was to help the clients, not the company.
One night, disgruntled and worn out from a day of traveling, I decided to change course. I simply picked up the phone and started calling the people I had visited over my first few years. I focused on catching up with clients, not selling them ill-advised products. With every conversation, I felt an overwhelming joy in strengthening my relationships. The clients also seemed happy to have someone call that wasn’t trying to sell them something. Repeatedly, I would hear, “That’s all you called for?” Against my sales manager’s advice, I kept calling.
After seven years in a culture where ramping up commissions was expected and fees were not disclosed on client statements, I realized a change had to be made. I was committed to discovering what life would be like for my clients if I were independent and able to promote non-commissionable solutions. This “what if” scenario quickly turned into “I must.”
In 2004, while my wife and I we were expecting our second child and pouring the foundation for our new home, I quit. I stopped being a salesman and became an Independent Financial Advisor. I began looking for and seeking the very best service for my clients and decided to build a team of qualified professionals around me. In researching for the “best of the best” in our profession to better serve the needs of our clients in a proactive and transparent manner, I was led to Carson Group in Omaha, Nebraska.
Today, Schlipman Wealth Advisors has a strategic partnership with Carson Group Partners whose assets under advisement have grown to over $8.2 billion*. Ron Carson, the CEO of Carson Group Partners, was honored to be one of two advisors in the Barron’s Inaugural Hall of Fame and to be ranked 13 out of thousands of advisors on the Forbes list of America’s Top Wealth Advisors. While I’m still providing trusted financial advice to my clients in Quincy, Illinois and surrounding areas, I have a strong team with a national presence providing support to clients behind the scenes.
The business of being a financial advisor and fiduciary has changed a lot since I started in this profession. Technology has made it very simple for our clients to monitor their investments and measure how well we are serving them. As a personal financial advisor, I welcome this challenge and so does my team. We have invested heavily in a dashboard that makes it very easy for clients to see exactly how their portfolio is performing 24/7. The transparency our technology provides makes it possible to show, without a doubt, the value that we bring.
We always have prided ourselves on providing a Four Seasons experience with FedEx efficiency. Now, with the help of the like-minded individuals at Carson Group, we have taken our services to another level and continue to deliver trust, transparency and accountability to all of our clients.
The service and experience we offer has given me a multitude of opportunities to help people, which ultimately has given me a return on my psyche that far exceeds anything I could have imagined. I expect that reward to continue for many years.
*Please note that the amount of CWM, LLC’s Assets Under Advisement is considerably larger than the amount of the firms regulatory Assets Under Management. Assets Under Advisement include regulatory Assets Under Management reported in CWM, LLC’s Form ADV I, in addition to assets with respect to which CWM, LLC may provide consulting and/or financial planning services, but does not have any management, execution or trading authority. CWM, LLC’s regulatory Assets Under Management can be found in Item 5.F of CWM, LLC’s Form ADV I, available at https://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov.