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How to Build the Financial Planning Practice You Want to Work For

Let’s paint a picture of two, typical women in the financial services industry.

The first is Katie, a financial planner who works for a firm in California. One day, Katie receives the call that those of us with young children dread: It’s from her nanny, saying that her child is sick.

Of course, this means Katie must take the day off of work to care for him. But, as the employee of a financial planning firm run by men, the news doesn’t go over well. When Katie returns to work the following day, she is called into a meeting by the male leaders of the firm, who tell her that she needs to find a contingency plan for her nanny — and that plan can’t involve Katie.

The second woman in our picture is Bridget, a financial planner who is receiving an annual performance review by the owner of the wealth management firm she works for. Leadership has tasked Bridget with helping build the firm’s financial planning practice, and she is passionate about her work and the contributions she has made. In addition to serving her growing client list, Bridget frequently speaks to community organizations, hosts countless events, and even launched a monthly women’s group.

During her review, Bridget requests an increase in compensation for her efforts and the goals she has accomplished. Not only are Bridget’s requests flatly denied, but the firm owner tells her that she is “too ambitious” and “too aggressive,” and even remarks that her efforts are “a waste of time.” Bridget leaves the meeting in shock, feeling powerless.

If you haven’t guessed by now, we are these women — and today, we are the founders of Equita Financial Network. But our stories are far from unique. They mirror the experiences of women across our industry, from firms large and small.

Of course, it’s no secret that the financial services world is devoid of female voices — in fact, we make up less than 20% of the advisors working in the field. Outside of our industry, the problem persists — surveys have shown that women make successful leaders, but often don’t have the mentorship, resources or capital needed to grow their businesses.

If you have faced discrimination or hardship at your firm, you’ve probably stepped back and asked yourself: “Why? Is there a better way forward?”

It helps to look at the big picture. You likely pursued a career in financial services because you’re driven by passion — by the need to help others achieve their financial goals and feel confident and secure about their future.

We should never let systemic biases railroad our drive and purpose. We owe it to future generations, to our clients, and to ourselves to find a better way. But how can we continue to do meaningful work in an environment that doesn’t provide us with the support we need to actually do it?

Take the Road Less Traveled

For us, the solution was quite clear: “Launch your own firm.” After we started our own firms, we felt completely fulfilled — we had more flexibility and fair compensation, and saw the results of our hard work translate into growing, thriving businesses.

But that doesn’t mean the decision wasn’t stressful. It was tough to walk out the door and start anew without knowing what resources we truly needed, where to find them, and how to pay for them. By far, our biggest challenge was the distinct lack of a supportive network for collaboration, which made the road to independence far more difficult.

Solutions for Today and Tomorrow

Now, more than ever before, we need female representation in our industry. We need women in positions of power — leaders who can effectively support, relate to, nurture, and develop female advisors to foster a more inclusive next generation.

We all know the statistics — and now is the time to take action and address them.

And perhaps, most importantly, we need resources made by women, for women. It’s the reason why we founded Equita Financial Network. Our platform encourages women to start their own, fee-only financial planning firms, covering everything from registration and compliance, to insurance coverage and portfolio management, to bookkeeping for clients. The goal is to empower women to run their business the way they want to — fairly, and in the way that allows them to best serve their needs and their clients’ needs.

The right resources open the door to professional fulfillment and a healthier wellbeing — and they also allow you to build a culture that positions others to thrive, encourages pay equality, favors work-life balance, and creates a community for women to collaborate, share best practices, and client solutions. When we come together and support one another, we create a more promising future, on our own terms.

Are you ready to take the leap and launch the practice you’ve always envisioned? Contact us to start the conversation.

The Year of the Woman: Embracing Empowerment in 2020

Melinda Gates. Tory Burch. Sara Blakely. These are just a few of the successful, inspiring businesswomen who are lifting others up and making an impactful difference for women in business in 2019. They are effecting change in a way that absolutely resonates with our mission at Equita.

These women show how much we can accomplish when we have a clear vision, ignore the critics, support one another, and, most importantly—believe in ourselves.

So many of us suffer from imposter syndrome, don’t think we’re good enough, or don’t think we’re ready, when really we’re the most qualified person for the job or are the readiest we’ll ever be.

That’s why here at Equita, we’re calling 2020 the year for embracing empowerment.

Do you want to expand your network in 2020? Go for it. Make a career change? You’ve got this. Start your own company? You’re ready. Here are some of our favorite quotes from trailblazers on embracing your strengths and claiming your power that you can apply to your own life.

“So I think my story says that, when women are given the chance and the opportunity, that we can achieve a lot. We deliver.”

—Sara Blakely

“Think of negativity as noise. Believe in yourself and what you’re doing.”

—Tory Burch

 “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”

—Sheryl Sandberg

“Every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another. We’re strongest when we cheer each other on.”

—Serena Williams

“All women, everywhere, have the same hopes: we want to be self-sufficient and create better lives for ourselves and our loved ones.”

—Melinda Gates

“The research indicates that when we women invest, we women do tend to be more patient, take a longer-term perspective and as a result of it, tend to be better investors than men. But the messages we get are that investing is sort of ‘the guys world.’”

—Sallie Krawcheck

Ways Women Can Embrace Empowerment in 2020

In a blog post from earlier this year, we outlined ways in which you can overcome fear and harness your own voice to achieve what you really want in life. And as we look ahead to a new year full of possibility, there’s no better time to reflect back on those words of wisdom.

Here are some tips on how you can embrace your power to start your own business, start a new career, expand your network, or accomplish any other business goal on your list for 2020:

  1. Accept that it’s okay to have a reasonable amount of fear. The right kind and amount of fear can inspire you to find new opportunities, seek out new strategies, and keep striving for more.
  2. Know what to expect. Having a clear and realistic idea of what your first five years will look like will help you be more efficient and productive, and be more satisfied with the amount of work you accomplish. Having a realistic vision will also help you avoid burnout, which can be the biggest barrier to growth.
  3. Set goals for today and tomorrow. Establish daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals for your business and give yourself tangible, achievable steps. Try the SMART Goals framework, which ensures your goals conform to a rigorous set of criteria (Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely).
  4. Find your tribe. You can avoid or manage stress overload by making sure you have a network of colleagues, centers of influence (COIs), friends, and family you can connect with and turn to when the going gets tough (and when things are going well!).

Reach out to Equita Financial Network Today

So much progress has been accomplished in 2019 for women and the world, and we at Equita think 2020 will be even more powerful. If you’re hoping to make some empowering strides in 2020 — like making a career change, starting your own company, or expanding your network — Equita is here to help. Reach out to us today.

Equita in the Media: U.S. News & World Report

It’s been a busy past two months at Equita Financial Network! We couldn’t be more excited to have Equita’s story, mission, and vision featured in U.S. News & World Report.

In October, we talked with U.S. News & World Report for their piece on how to become an independent financial advisor. We shared tips on how to manage the transition from working for another person’s firm to becoming your own boss. One tip we had? Build a support network (which Equita offers). In Katie’s words:

“Having other like-minded planners to reach out to is important for your sanity; you can tap into their expertise for advice on everything from client cases, to running your business, to managing family and business.”

In November, as a follow-up to our last feature, we spoke with U.S. News & World Report again, this time talking about the underlying, systemic reasons why female advisors are leaving bigger firms: low glass ceilings and barriers to advancement across the finance industry.

Because of the industry’s gender problem, many women are launching their own firms (which offers flexibility, support, independence, and unlimited earning potential) — and prospering. We talked about our own experiences leaving larger firms and going independent. Bridget talked about how nerve-racking it was to walk away from her former employer without knowing if she’d have a single client the next day. Despite that fear, she’s never regretted it, not for one day.

You can read the full pieces here:

  1. Becoming an Independent Financial Advisor, U.S. News & World Report, Written by Coryanne Hicks, Published October 15, 2019
  2. Female Advisors Start Their Own Firms to Prosper, U.S. News & World Report, Written by Coryanne Hicks, Published November 18, 2019

If you are interested in learning more about Equita and how our platform can support your long-term success, contact us today.

4 Signs It Might Be Time to Leave Your Financial Advisory Firm

Over the past five years, more than 800 advisors have left wirehouses or broker-dealers to join registered investment advisors (RIAs), according to Financial Planning — despite the demanding work, stress, and uncertainty of not knowing whether their clients will follow. So, why do they do this?

“It’s generally rare that someone just wants to do it for the money,” says Kilpatrick Townsend attorney Paul Foley in the Financial Planning article. “There’s a broader scope of issues.”

Some of these issues? Corporate bureaucracy, a bad manager, larger firms shunting an advisor’s smaller clients to call centers, lack of opportunities for growth…

We both faced some of these issues when we worked for larger firms, and it’s why we started our own solo firms — and then later launched Equita Financial Network to help other female financial planners do the same.

If you’re on the fence of whether or not you should leave your firm environment, we include four warning signs below:

1. You’re not being paid what you’re worth.

Female financial advisors have the widest wage gap of all occupations tracked by the U.S. Department of Labor, reports Financial Planning in a 2018 article. Female advisors earned just 59 cents for every dollar their male peers earned in 2017. Why is this? Unfair treatment, accounts being passed down to male advisors, and barriers during networking are just a few of the reasons.

By branching out on your own, you can have more control over how much you make. Seven in 10 advisors report making more money after they moved to the independent channel, the 2018 Charles Schwab Independent Advisor Sophomore Study found.

2. You’re not able to do right by your clients, and you feel constrained. 

Going independent gives you the freedom and opportunity to truly put your clients’ interests first. In the Charles Schwab study, 94 percent of the polltakers said they went independent because they wanted to do what was right for their clients; 73 percent said they wanted to build better, longer-term relationships with clients.

And going independent has been paying off: advisors from the study said they have kept an average of 87 percent of their clients after making the transition.

3. You have no flexibility between work and life.

Work-life balance can feel nearly impossible in the financial services world. It also doesn’t help that, “the disproportionate responsibility of raising young children that falls to women often causes them to drop out of the workforce if they don’t get the right support,” as Barrons puts it.

Both Bridget and I can speak from personal experience about not finding work-life balance at larger firms during our careers.

Here’s one example: When my nanny called in sick after my first son was born, my husband and I tried our best to cover our work responsibilities and childcare until she could return. When I went back to work, my supervisor told me that I needed to find a contingency plan for childcare if my nanny couldn’t make it, and that “plan” couldn’t be me.

At that particular moment in my life, I needed flexibility — I needed to work for a firm that was able to understand my needs as a new mom. Owning my business allows me to be both present as a mom and present with my business and clients. Yes, I work long days, and early mornings, and late nights, and usually on the weekends when the kids are napping — but I love that I can have my career and still be present in their lives.

4. It’s a toxic work culture.

If you dread going to work every day, if you feel constant anxiety during meetings, if you’ve given up trying to voice your opinion because you know it will be quickly dismissed — know that there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s your toxic workplace culture. According to SHRM, 58 percent of employees who quit a job due to workplace culture say that their managers are the main reason they ultimately left — and the cost of this turnover has been $223 billion in the past five years.

The same Charles Schwab survey I mentioned above found that of the financial advisors who made the leap to independence, 90 percent said they have no regrets and would make the same decision all over again. Those same survey respondents said they are happier now that they are independent, and they have made more money since going independent.

 

Do you face these four issues? Then it may be time to carve out your own path. Starting your own firm comes with emotional and financial challenges, but it’s worth it, as studies have shown.

Equita Financial Network provides the support, network, and resources needed to run your own firm — and research has proven that women who support each other are more successful. I’ll leave you with a quote from Shelley Zalis, who wrote an incredible article on the power of collaboration between women earlier this year:

“Women trying to rise up into leadership face cultural and systemic hurdles that make it harder for them to advance, such as unconscious bias. [According to Harvard Business Review,] a way to overcome some of these hurdles is to form close connections with other women, who can share experiences from women who have been there, done that — from how to ask for what you’re worth to bringing your unique talents to leadership.”

We couldn’t agree more. If you’d like to join our tribe of supportive, smart female financial planners, contact us today.

Financial Services Has a Diversity and Inclusion Problem — and It Goes Beyond Ken Fisher

Financial services is one of the least diverse sectors in the U.S. But you didn’t need us to tell you that. Just look at recent headlines to see the state of our industry.

In early October, billionaire CEO Ken Fisher made horrifying, sexist comments at the Tiburon CEO Summit in San Francisco: comparing building client trust to “trying to get into a girl’s pants,” among other disgusting comments.

Fisher has now issued an apology, but it feels less than genuine. Before the apology was issued, he told Bloomberg that he didn’t understand why people were offended: “I have given a lot of talks, a lot of times, in a lot of places and said stuff like this and never gotten that type of response,” he said. “Mostly the audience understands what I am saying.”

Fisher’s complete inability to accept responsibility — or even understand why he was wrong in the first place — shows how insulated white men in finance have become from the rest of the world. As Sallie Krawcheck, cofounder and CEO of Ellevest Financial Inc., notes in her recent Forbes piece, “the financial services industry has been almost completely silent during the #MeToo crisis.”

Women don’t feel comfortable or welcomed at industry conferences.

Women don’t feel comfortable or welcomed in company meetings.

Women don’t feel comfortable or welcomed in finance, period.

This brings us to an important topic that our industry needs to address: inclusion.

Yes, it’s wonderful that the industry is now tackling the issue of diversity and trying to hire more women, minorities, and underrepresented groups — but none of this will make a difference if they don’t feel welcomed.

As Edward Jones financial advisor Jackie King notes in her recent piece for InvestmentNews, “Diversity is visible, but inclusion is felt.”

What Does Inclusion Look Like?

Gallup defines inclusion as a “cultural and environmental feeling of belonging. It can be assessed as the extent to which employees are valued, respected, accepted, and encouraged to fully participate in the organization.”

What are some examples of inclusion in the workplace in the financial sector?

Why Inclusiveness Is Important

So why is this important? Because, as Allan Boomer writes in Financial Planning, when your firm is not inclusive, employees will constantly have their guard up. They will never feel confident or secure about being themselves at work. They won’t be fully engaged in their jobs, and you can bet they will walk out the door.

Some companies balk at the idea of diversity and inclusion initiatives because it requires introspection about their internal practices — and their personal biases.

But creating an inclusive environment isn’t just common sense; it’s also essential if you want your company to succeed. It affects recruitment, retention, and the bottom line. Here are some stats to back this up:

  • 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities, and more than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity.
  • Companies with higher-than-average diversity had 19% higher innovation revenues.
  • Companies with more women in leadership positions consistently outperform companies with less than half of their leadership positions filled by women. Higher representation of women in C-suite level positions results in 34% greater returns to shareholders.
  • Only 40% of women feel satisfied with the decision-making process at their organization (versus 70% of men), which leads to job dissatisfaction and poor employee retention.

How to Create an Inclusive Culture

Gallup lists these three requirements for a diverse and inclusive culture:

  1. Everyone treats everyone else with respect.
  2. Managers appreciate the unique characteristics of everyone on their teams.
  3. Leaders do what’s right.

Following these three pillars is a great way to ensure your environment is inclusive. Whether you lead a team at your firm, or you’re thinking about building your own financial planning firm, here are some more actionable steps you can take to enrich your company’s culture:

  • Build communities of support for diverse financial advisors through events and conferences.
  • Offer mentorship programs.
  • Shift the hiring goal from “culture fit” to “culture add.”
  • Hire diverse leadership.
  • Train leadership and managers.
  • Set policies.
  • Create a safe way for employees to communicate issues.
  • Involve employees in discussions about inclusion.
  • As Nathan Yates recommends in his Institutional Investor piece “The Finance Jobs I Didn’t Get,” create a safe environment for employees who are differently abled: 1) Integrate efforts to hire more disabled people into existing diversity programs, 2) increase telecommuting opportunities, and 3) network with assistive technology consultants and with people who can feed qualified disabled candidates into your firm.

How Equita Financial Network Helps

Inclusiveness for women in finance means…

  • Not being chastised for having to request time off to bring your child to a doctor’s appointment.
  • Not having to worry about facing sexual harassment at industry conferences and events.
  • Having coworkers who truly understand the unique challenges that come with being underrepresented, undercompensated, and underappreciated in a male-dominated field.

We have been there. We’ve faced our fair share of dismissive comments from those who could not relate to or understand what women in finance face every day.

This is not to say that men have not been allies or supporters of women in the financial services field, but many have not made the conscious effort to be part of real change. Yes, these are tough issues, ones that are rooted in decades of systemic bias and inequality. But putting them off, or putting band-aids over them, gets us nowhere.

We got tired of waiting for a level playing field, so we built one ourselves — one that actually does prioritize diversity and inclusion.

Equita provides a network of other like-minded, driven women financial planners who want to share best practices, collaborate, and support one another — and that is an important piece that’s missing in our industry.

We created this platform to empower women to build the business they want — and to give them every tool they need to succeed. If you’re interested in joining our network, reach out to us today.

How Collaboration in Business Makes a Difference to Women

This blog post is updated from a February 2019 article written by Equita co-founder, Katie Burke.

Let me take you back to a tough day I faced a few months ago. It was one of those days where, by noon, I felt defeated.

There were a few reasons that contributed to this: I started my workday with two sick kids who followed my every move as I tried to navigate a schedule full of conference calls (very thankful for the quick response of the mute button on my headset!) and client deadlines. The stress of trying to juggle work, dealing with constant sickness, and holding everything together at home were finally taking a toll on me.

But then came my last call of the day, which left me with a lasting, positive impression.

The call ended, and suddenly I felt energized and optimistic, instead of feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. That call solidified that I am exactly where I am supposed to be — running my own business, and doing what I love, on my own terms.

What made this call so special?

Every other week, our Equita member firms have a call to discuss a wide range of topics. On any given day, our members may share a new tool they discovered that has made their client service process more efficient — or they may swap ideas for marketing to centers of influence (COIs) or strategizing about the fee structure for a prospective client.

In this particular call, we discussed our business goals for the coming year. I started my firm, Method Financial Planning, almost four years ago — and this conversation that I had with our Equita members made me realize that the way I typically think about my annual business plan and goals is different than the way everyone else on the call approached their business plan. Some plans were in a spreadsheet format that outlined expected revenue in careful detail; others were nicely written documents listing out marketing plans and new ways to find prospective clients.

My planning approach is usually more of a mix: I might outline a few details in a spreadsheet or draft some written goals, but most of the time, I put my plan into a list of bullet points on a glass whiteboard in my office. When I complete one of the bulleted items, I physically cross it off the list — and it is the BEST feeling in the world. I look at the list every single day.

So, what is the best approach?

It’s actually not the approach that matters. The conversation was not focused on the best way to write an annual business plan; but rather, it provided our member firms with an opportunity to look at the process from different perspectives. The call gave us a chance to be vulnerable and learn — and not only did it get me excited about where my firm was headed for the year, but it also got me excited about where every woman on the call was headed, too.

Bridget and I have conversations every single day with women who want to take the leap and build the financial planning business of their dreams. Each conversation is unique because each woman faces her own challenges in making it happen — and her own hesitations.

How can you leave behind the security of a steady paycheck, while still supporting your personal and business expenses? Will your clients want to continue working with you once you’ve left your old firm and started your own business? What solutions do you need to run your business? Where do you even start?

It can be extremely overwhelming and leave you feeling paralyzed. Trust me when I say that Bridget and I have been there. But Equita is not just about us; it is about creating a community of women to support one another and build successful businesses.

It’s about creating a community that inspires you to say, ‘This is exactly where I am supposed to be.’

Having a network of women to rely on helped me build my planning firm — it gave me the confidence to clearly outline how I wanted to work, and which clients I wanted to serve. When I collaborate with other women advisors, I am able to offer my clients the planning and service solutions that they would expect from a much larger firm — and I feel happier and more fulfilled, knowing I am supported by a community that has so much to offer.

If you are thinking about the next step in your career, and want to build a thriving financial planning business, we would love to start the conversation.

Overcoming the Fear of Starting an Independent Advisory Firm

With October being Women’s Small Business Month (WSBM), we couldn’t help but feel inspired by these stats:

  • An average of 1,821 new women-owned businesses opened every day in 2018.
  • Women-owned businesses grew in number by 58% over the last 10 years — a full five times faster than the average growth rate in the U.S.
  • Globally, 2018 continued a decade-long trend of narrowing the gap between male and female entrepreneurs — an improvement of a whopping 36% over the last 10 years.
  • Women of color opened 78% of new women-owned businesses.
  • After a banner 2018, women of color now make up 47% of all female founders.
  • In total, there are more than 5.8 million businesses owned by women of color. They employ 2.23 million people and yield $386.6 billion in revenue.

As USA Today columnist Rhonda Abrams writes in this article, “Women business owners will save America.”

Yet, despite these encouraging statistics, many women are still hesitant to start their own companies.

Over the years, we have heard so many female financial planners say how they’d like to start their own firm, only to qualify that statement with, “But I could never do it.” And when we ask them what’s holding them back, it always boils down to one thing: fear. The fear of the unknown, the fear of failure, the fear of being judged, the fear of not being taken seriously…

These fears are warranted, but as two entrepreneurs who are still standing after founding our own companies, we’d like to say that it’s worth it, and you can do it. Forbes listed four great ways on how to handle this well-justified fear:

1. Accept that it’s okay to have a reasonable amount of fear.

Bear with us for a second. It may seem nonsensical, but fear — fear of failure, the fear of irrelevance, or the fear of simply not fulfilling your dreams — is an important motivator. In the words of Liz Elting, a prominent entrepreneur, business leader, and philanthropist: “These are healthy fears that encourage both responsibility and risk-taking, keeping you perpetually on your toes instead of getting complacent or resting on your laurels.” The right kind and amount of fear can inspire you to find new opportunities, seek out new strategies, and keep striving for more.

2. Know what to expect.

Yes, you’ve heard those Cinderella stories of young businesses that transform into overnight successes. But the reality is that most successful firms take time to grow. Having a clear and realistic idea of what your first five years will look like will help you be more efficient and productive, and be more satisfied with the amount of work you accomplish. Having a realistic vision will also help you avoid burnout, which can be the biggest barrier to growth for new entrepreneurs.

3. Set goals for today and tomorrow.

Establish daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals for your business and give yourself tangible, achievable steps. There are a wide variety of goal-setting frameworks that can help you with this exercise; Elting recommends the SMART Goals framework, which ensures your goals conform to a rigorous set of criteria (Smart, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely). Don’t fall into the trap of letting your future dreams and ambitions drive your decisions without any sense of balance or a path to making your vision a reality.

4. Find your tribe.

You can avoid or manage stress overload by making sure you have a network of colleagues, centers of influence (COIs), friends, and family you can connect with and turn to when the going gets tough (and when things are going well!).

Equita provides a supportive network for female financial planners.

The conversations that we have had with smart, ambitious, yet (rightfully so) cautious businesswomen are part of the reason why we founded Equita Financial Network.

We went through the same challenges and faced the same doubts. But we knew the positives — being our own boss, having a flexible schedule, pursuing our passion, having more control over our future career, and charging what we’re worth (the top five reasons women start their own business) — outweighed the fears.

We founded Equita Financial Network in 2018 because we wanted to create a supportive network for female financial advisors so they could get the outsourced resources, framework, and connections needed to branch out on their own.

If you’re interested in joining our network, contact us today.

“The Western Woman Will Change the World”: Harnessing Our Collective Power to Ignite Change

The Dalai Lama, in all of his great wisdom, once proclaimed that, “The western woman is going to change the world.”

As women, there is such tremendous strength in our ability to collaborate, and in our empathy, compassion, drive, and intelligence. But moving the needle on this change requires more than just talking about it — it requires action. I’d like to share my story behind launching Equita Financial Network with my fellow co-founder, Katie Burke, and how we hope it can truly make a difference to women-led planning firms across the country (and to the many clients these planners serve).

Bridget’s Story

Several years ago, I launched WealthChoice, a financial life planning firm for women executives and their families. I should start by saying that I never intended on starting my own firm when I entered the financial planning industry.

But I was tired of the many years I spent working countless hours for a traditional RIA every week. I was tired of getting paid a fraction of what male planners were being paid at the firm and hearing from other firms that I was “too old” to consider a lateral move. I was tired of being told I was too ambitious by my boss, or that my efforts to bring women together were a waste of time. All of these feelings converged and, with unbelievable anxiety and stress, I launched my own financial planning firm in 2016, guided by a vision and passion and my clients’ trust.

This is where Equita comes in.

In order to provide the highest level of guidance to my clients, my firm, WealthChoice, needs the best business resources. As a small, woman-led business, I found it easier to outsource these resources rather than curate them myself, mostly for fear of missing key pieces or making mistakes. I also wanted to have more time to focus on client service, which was possible by outsourcing many business resources.

As financial planners, our role is to help women, who are working so very hard, live life on their terms. Financial planning is an absolute passion of mine, but so is having my own firm. We are intentional in who we serve, and how we serve our clients. My firm is an extension of myself, and it is a personal passion. It brings me tremendous fulfillment. But as my firm grew, it also caused me to step back to see how we could structure our business better so that we could do more of what we do best: serve our clients.

The Power of Collaboration

In the course of business, I met and collaborated with another financial planner on some client cases to great success: Katie Burke, President of Method Financial Planning. Together, we realized the great power that came with collaborating in our respective businesses. Clients benefit, we benefit. Katie and I started to share best practices in business and planning on a more frequent basis. We saw terrific results and knew that other women could benefit from the same type of relationship.

So, we started to brainstorm: What would allow us to become even better planners? How could we make that available for other independent, women-led planning firms?

We wanted solutions that would allow us to spend more time on what is most important to our firms — and that is great financial planning solutions for our clients. We both realized that by having outstanding business resources behind us, we would be capable of doing better work and running our businesses more efficiently. We could have more time and resources to grow our businesses intentionally. We could streamline the operational tasks that come with running our businesses, but often bog us down on the road to growth. And most importantly, we envisioned a platform for collaboration, for sharing curated resources, for succession planning, and for helping other women led firms be successful. To do this, we needed to create a suite of the best industry resources, which we spent the next seven months assembling.

Equita’s first two member firms were WealthChoice and Method Financial Planning — and since then, we have welcomed other women-led firms into our community, and look forward to bringing even more into the fold over the coming months.

We’re on a mission to make a difference to clients and women business owners on a scale we have not yet seen in our industry.

There is power in connecting smart, driven, like-minded women in business. Together, we will change the future for our clients, and for the female financial planners who make real, positive change in their lives every day.