A Career in Financial Planning: Insights from a San Francisco Firm

GGU’s Office of Career Planning hosted an Employer Spotlight session that featured Chuck Bowes and Jesse Pence from Waypoint Wealth Partners. The event was attended by GGU alumni and students and covered the evolution of the financial planning industry and its current best practices.

What skills do financial planners need?

A self-professed “finance geek,” Bowes says that he serves three roles for clients: a “financial advisor, a psychologist, and a marriage counselor.” Waypoint’s big picture approach requires a team of people, which typically includes a senior staff member and an associate supporting each client. The Waypoint team includes CFPs®, MBAs, as well as a CPA. (Jesse Pence has passed the exams and will become an official CFP® professional this year.) With many different backgrounds, the team can provide a method that ties in rigorous technical education, coaching skills, and behavioral finance in research and practice.

Do you want to say your life accomplishment is staying ahead of S&P for 30 years? Or is it something else? No one says the former.

Why do people go to financial planners?

The main trigger for clients, says Bowes, can be a simple lack of time and an increasing level of complexity in their lives. If saving time is a benefit, what other problems can wealth managers solve?

The first is a lack of clarity about financial decision points, desires, or anxieties. “Clients may not even be aware of the emotions that lead to a conscious choice, so we call the first step ‘Discovery’.” Bowes provided an example of those who are “under-insured versus self-insured,” those who make a decision about what level of risk they are comfortable with and those who don’t even consider the difference.

Waypoint often asks clients: “What would they want to do if they were not too busy growing a career?” A successful discovery process can start clients on a journey toward a more satisfying life experience on the client’s terms, not the advisors.  As part of their “establishing clarity process,” Bowes asks: “Do you want to say your life accomplishment is staying ahead of S&P for 30 years? Or is it something else? No one says the former.”

Photo caption: From Waypoint Wealth Partners: Jesse Pence, Associate Wealth Manager (third from left) and Chuck Bowes, Founding Partner & Senior Wealth Manager (third from right). From GGU: MBA/JD Alumni (unknown) (far left), David Kaczorowski, Academic Program Manager and Professor of Finance at GGU (second from left),  Quyen Le (MBA, Finance ‘19) (second from right); and Kandis Rodgers, Assistant Director, Office of Student Affairs at (far right). 

We invite you to explore GGU’s certificates and degrees in Financial Planning and Financial Life Planning. If you want to learn more about the Financial Planning profession, see the article by Dave Yeske, DBA, CFP®, A Concise History of the Financial Planning Profession. Yeske is Director of the GGU’s Financial Planning programs and Distinguished Adjunct Professor.

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