In this month’s post, we are featuring Brian Ullmann, Financial Advisor here at Ford Financial Group. Brian has been with Ford for 10 years. In addition to preparing and meeting with clients, Brian is also our go-to in house tech guy. Before he was an advisor and in the financial services industry, he was a practicing attorney at one of the largest local law firms.
What was the most challenging part of switching careers?
I think the most challenging part of changing careers was actually getting up the nerve to do it. I had wanted to be an attorney my whole life, and that goal had influenced my college major, my career after college, and drove me to dedicate more than 3 years of my life to law school and the pursuit of that profession. I began practicing law immediately after passing the bar, and I really enjoyed many parts of the profession. It was an incredible intellectual challenge, but there were several elements that were, well, less than thrilling.
After a few years as an attorney I began to look down the road to see what my career might look like, and I felt as though I could do more than the legal grind that was likely in store. Around that time I got a call from Carole asking if I was interested in joining her firm. After a great deal of soul searching, I decided to make the leap. After all, I figured, I could always go back and practice law if things didn’t work out.
Well, I am happy to report that things worked out better than I ever could have hoped. I love what I do, and where I work. I didn’t leave the practice of law to become a financial advisor, I left the practice of law to join Ford Financial Group. The distinction is an important one, and it's the best professional decision I have ever made.
What’s your favorite thing about your current role?
While I wear lots of hats around FFG, my favorite thing to do is work with clients, bar none. Helping clients understand their finances, manage their investments, and plan for retirement is what I feel I am best at. It’s incredibly satisfying to see a client come to us without much of an investment strategy or retirement game plan, and within a matter of months (or sometimes years) have a total handle on how their money is working for them and when they can confidently retire.
When you’re not working, what is your favorite thing to do?
In short, I love spending time with my family. I took a week-long vacation over the summer, and while I golfed a little bit and got some exercise in, I spent most of my time sitting on the floor in the living room playing Legos or at the park on the jungle gym with my little ones. When I’m not with my wife and kids, I love spending time in the mountains hiking, camping, and fishing, and I will sneak a round of golf in when my schedule permits. I would love to golf more, but it's hard to pull off with young kids.
Alright, last question – which was more difficult, the Bar exam or the Certified Financial Planner™ exam?
I know this is going to sound like a bit of a cop out, but I think both exams were equally difficult when I took them. The bar exam was incredibly hard (in fact, the Dean of Stanford’s law school failed the test the year I took it), but I had the luxury of dedicating all of my time to passing that one test. Three years of law school and several months after graduation were essentially dedicated to those three days of testing.
The CFP was incredibly hard as well, and what made it even harder was trying to study while working full time and having other personal obligations. When you look at the subjects tested on the CFP exam, no one tells you that time management is the most important one of them all.
Of course, both tests have changed since I sat for them, so I can’t really tell you how they stack up today… but I can promise you that each of them are still incredibly challenging.
To learn more about Brian or Ford Financial Group, check out our website www.fordfg.com