Why Community Matters 

There are countless studies and statistics out there on the benefits of having a strong support network, but today, we’d like to talk about why community matters coming from our own personal experiences. 

Why Community Matters to Equita Co-Founder Katie Burke 

The story of why I left my previous job and started my own planning firm, Method Financial Planning, is a story I hear again and again from other women in our industry: you work incredibly hard for a decade working your way up the ladder, but you still find yourself underpaid and unacknowledged. The environment is so unwelcoming and toxic that you have to leave the industry altogether, go to another firm hoping it will get better, or launch your own firm.

It is crazy how similar so many of our experiences are because when it is happening to you, you cannot imagine there are others going through the same thing. But so many women financial planners are having the same experience. They just don’t have a place where they can talk about it, and they don’t know what they can do to change it.

It is crazy how similar so many of our experiences are because when it is happening to you, you cannot imagine there are others going through the same thing. But so many women financial planners are having the same experience. They just don’t have a place where they can talk about it, and they don’t know what they can do to change it.

I launched my own firm in 2015, moved out of San Diego, and moved back to the East Coast, where my family is from. I was so jaded by my prior experiences in the industry that at first, I welcomed the quiet and the pace of doing it all myself. Fast forward a couple of years in after meeting Bridget Grimes, who was also in financial planning, and I realized there was a better way of working.

Bridget, who I had met in San Diego through business, reached out to me after hearing I had launched my own firm. She was doing the same, and she said she’d love to hear about my experiences. I of course said, “Yes!” I couldn’t wait to hear other stories of women branching out on their own.

As we continued to work with each other, Bridget and I decided to co-found Equita Financial NetworkEquita is a way for like-minded women to not only share resources and run the business they want for less expense than they would pay on their own, but also to share ideas on everything from best practices to help with questions regarding client issues.

Running two businesses can be challenging, but having a support system makes it so much easier. We’re all doing our own thing all day long; we’re focused on our businesses, but we’re there to help and support each other and keep each other accountable.

Why Community Matters to Equita Co-Founder Bridget Grimes 

Like many women in financial planning, I found myself grossly underpaid relative to my male peers, unable to negotiate more for myself regardless of my attempts, told I was too aggressive and too ambitious, and eventually realized that moving to another firm would just be more of the same. I had no mentors, no advocates. 

I wanted to get paid what I was worth, and to have the flexibility to spend time with my family without sacrificing my client service. I wanted to build a thriving, successful practice, but working more wasn’t rewarded. In the end, I could not find a firm that would afford any of this. After extensive due diligence, I realized I had to launch my own firm. 

In 2016, I launched WealthChoice. It was one of the most nervewracking things I have ever done. To go from having a consistent paycheck to nothing, to walk out the door into the complete unknown financially, is incredibly stressful. I had two kids, one who was in college and the other in high school, a large mortgage, and plenty of financial obligations. While I had remarried several years before, my income was critical to the financial security of my family. I can see why women in my situation — a very common situation for women in our industry — decide to either leave the industry, or stay as marginalized employees. However, one year after making the decision to launch, I walked out the door to my own firm. I remember thinking, “I wish I had the guts to do this years ago.”

I reached out to Katie Burke, who had also recently launched her own firm. I knew of Katie from working with her in the financial planning industry in San Diego. Katie and I became sounding boards for one another — we shared wins, best practices, financial planning solutions, and challenges. We had what few womenled planning firms had: a network of others just like ourselves. 

Katie and I became sounding boards for one another — we shared wins, best practices, financial planning solutions, and challenges. We had what few womenled planning firms had: a network of others just like ourselves. 

After years of working with each other, we built Equita so other women could also have the resources and support network to run their own firms and be successful at it.

Want to Join Equita’s Network? Reach Out to Us Today 

We want women to not only stay in financial planning — but thrive. We want them to leave the firms they are in where they are marginalized — where they have to choose between family and career, where they are underpaid — and help them build the business they want. And if they are already out there as solo firm owners, we want them to have the bluechip resources they cannot afford on their own, and to have a network of others like them to share best practices, be supportive, collaborate, and perhaps even find a successor down the road. 

We want to empower women to stay in our industry and succeed. If you’re interested in joining Equita Financial Network, contact us today. 

Author: Equita