Finding the right cultural fit key for this young associate

Jun 29, 2014 @ 12:01 am

By Darla Mercado

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Sam Honey, 25, knew he found the right firm to begin his career when he realized he fit right into the culture at Plancorp.

Mr. Honey graduated from Kansas State University on May 17 and began working at the St. Louis-based firm just 11 days later as a planning associate on the firm's wealth management team.

He's in the presence of notable individuals, namely Mercer Bullard, the well-known investor advocate and vice president of Plancorp.

“They have a smaller feel to them,” Mr. Honey said of the 35-person team. “The culture is reflected in everything: We have lunch together, we help answer each other's questions. It's a good cultural fit.”

Back in school, Mr. Honey arrived at financial planning as a career by way of other majors and career paths. He was interested in psychology and family therapy, but a discussion with a KSU doctorate student made him consider financial planning.

“I was excited to leave class every day knowing that I learned something that could help me and my family,” said Mr. Honey, himself a family man with a wife and an eight-month-old son.

Initially, he was interested in pursuing a business degree, but he found that financial planning combined finances along with his focus on establishing relationships with others.

TIGHT-KNIT FEEL

Mr. Honey came across Plancorp through an introduction from Caleb Brown, a recruiter at New Planning Recruiting. The two had met at a Financial Planning Association conference. “I was really impressed by how quickly he was able to identify the culture,” said Mr. Honey.

Aside from finding a firm that had a tight-knit feel about it, he also was focused on working for a firm that operated on a fee-only basis. “I was instinctively drawn to the fee-only side of things,” the aspiring planner said. “Not to say that commissions are evil or anything. I just personally like fee-only better.”

Over the next two to four years, Mr. Honey's plan is to become a wealth manager after obtaining his certifications. In the meantime, there's plenty of day-to-day work in the form of preparing statements for clients and creating income tax projections.

“It's the nuts and bolts of the planning that comes through the associates,” he said.

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