By Scott Snider
If you asked the 22-year-old version of myself if I would start my own financial planning firm at the age of 32, I would have laughed. But life is full of twists and turns and each step on the path has brought me to where I am today. It all started with witnessing the effect the dot-com market crash of the late 90s had on my parents. I saw the financial regrets they carried and wanted to break into the financial services industry to help other families avoid similar problems.
The Starting Point
I wish I could tell you that I knew exactly what I wanted, plowed through obstacles, and have found success ever since, but that’s not my story. I tripped up, I learned from my mistakes, I gathered invaluable experience, and I’ve never looked back! I graduated from Miami University in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Finance with the goal of being a big-shot stockbroker. I quickly learned that in order to get to that point, I would have to commit to putting my heart and soul into something that I was already losing confidence in.
My first full-time job out of college was with a well-respected brokerage firm, A.G. Edwards & Sons, which is now Wells Fargo Advisors. I spent two years with the company, first as an apprentice, then in the Advisor Trainee Program. For many reasons, I was ready to move on and at the age of 20, I got my foot in the door as an intern at Smith Barney brokerage company. I was originally hired to cold call 10 hours a week for one advisor, but after two summers, I finished my internship assisting five advisors and working 40 hours a week. Unfortunately, I started to get beat down by the constant selling. I wanted a stable income with a company that focused on its customers. This led me to a six and half year stint at Huntington Bank, first as a Senior Personal Banker and eventually taking on the roles of Assistant Branch Manager and Financial Advisor.
The Road Less Traveled
I started noticing a trend of customers moving their assets to independent financial advisors. Even though I looked out for my clients’ best interests, working for a big company meant that too many things were outside of my control. I took a leap of faith, leaving a company and team I loved to work for Frank Wealth Management Group, an independent, family-owned wealth management company. After a year of building my skills and furthering my knowledge, I knew I needed to branch out and start my own firm. I wanted to provide conflict-free advice while emphasizing the financial impact of life transitions on household finances. I also saw that there was an area that was underserved in the industry - student loans and college planning. I wanted to meet those needs, so I obtained the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) credential and took courses that would allow me to specialize in student loan planning.
Then on October 17, 2016, after a long and convoluted journey, my company, Mellen Money Management, was born so that I could do the work that I love for the people I genuinely enjoy helping.
The Hurdles And The Triumphs
As much as I enjoy being an advisor, there are plenty of challenges I must overcome. It can be all-encompassing and time-consuming to wear the many hats needed to both build a business and prioritize one-on-one time with my clients. It’s important that I maintain a sustainable work-life balance, which sometimes means learning when to say no and making sure my wife and daughter don’t get my leftovers.
While it can be quite a juggling act balancing my role as the founder of Mellen Money Management and advisor to many clients, I can’t imagine having any other career. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing a client celebrate reaching a goal or finding confidence in their finances. But even better than that are the relationships I build with my clients that turn into long-lasting friendships. My motivation to work hard every day comes from helping clients live a more fulfilling life by giving them the knowledge and power to make empowered financial decisions and creating a better life for my family.
At Mellen Money Management, we pride ourselves on our ability to help manage all facets of your financial plan while also offering financial services in an honest and straightforward way. If you are looking for a financial planner who goes above and beyond, we’d love to meet with you. Book a no-obligation, complimentary meeting online today!
Scott Snider is the founder of Mellen Money Management, an independent, fee-only financial planning firm specializing in college-specific consulting and student loan repayment advice. Scott has more than ten years of industry experience and is an FPA Northeast Florida board member, member of XY Planning Network and NAPFA, and is part of the Finance Advisory Council at University of North Florida. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Miami University and holds both the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) designations. He lives in Nocatee with his wife, Emily, their daughter, and their two dogs. He loves animals, spending time outside, and anything sports related! Learn more about Scott by connecting with him on LinkedIn.