Clark Harris originally planned to study international business, having become interested in foreign cultures after spending time in Ukraine learning Russian and volunteering with his church. During that time, he also realized that he felt fulfilled helping other people.
What he didn't like about international business was the lack of a defined career path. So when an assistant professor came to speak to the investment club of which Mr. Harris was a member at Utah Valley University, he was excited to hear that his school was starting a personal-financial-planning program.
Mr. Harris became one of the first students to enroll in the program and eventually received his degree.
In December, he began working as a planning specialist at The Insight Group Inc., a 20-year-old independent advisory firm in Salt Lake City.
“My ultimate goal is to be a partner of a firm, whether this one or one that I create,” said Mr. Harris, 25. “I want to work in a situation where I can help clients who have complex planning issues.”
Mr. Harris, who also played lacrosse in college, brought some practical experience with him to Insight, having worked with different types of advisory firms during his college years.
He worked as a paraplanner at Net Worth Advisory Group LLC, a fee-only advisory firm, and at Cambridge Financial Center, an agency of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co. Through these experiences, he learned that he wanted a permanent position that would allow him to provide advice objectively.
“I want to focus on the client, not focus on potential commissions,” he said.
Practicing the fiscal resolve he'll help clients with one day, Mr. Harris, who is married, bought his first home in Salt Lake City during his last semester of school. He wanted to be ready to start immediately at Insight Group as soon as he had secured his degree.
In his current position at Insight, Mr. Harris works with the director of planning to produce analyses for all the firm's clients. He plans to sit for the certified financial planner test in July or November.
He hopes his position at Insight increasingly will allow him face-to-face contact with clients.
“I have been able to slowly start presenting the analysis to clients along with the partners,” Mr. Harris said. “That's allowed me the opportunity to meet with the clients and develop that relationship.”