Jason R. Miller learned about the importance of money the old-fashioned way: He watched a working single mother.
When Mr. Miller was a child, his mother went to school during the day and waited restaurant tables at night.
"It profoundly impacted me in the sense that I never wanted to see my family have to be concerned about financial matters in that way," he said. "It taught me the importance of education, which she hammered home, and preparing for the future."
Mr. Miller took his mother's example to heart. He worked 40 hours a week, including an unpaid internship at Piper Jaffray Private Client Services (now part of UBS AG), while paying his way through college and, later, business school.
"I needed a way into the industry, and I was willing to do whatever it took to find myself in the position I wanted to be in," he said. "I was passionate about not just investing but how somebody's overall financial situation impacts what they should be doing from an investment perspective."
Mr. Miller is president of the Financial Planning Association of Greater Phoenix and an advocate for a planning-first financial advice business.
"The future of the profession is advice based, not product based," he said.
He's also a champion of public service, including pro-bono work with underserved populations and education outreach to children.
"I don't want to see anybody else have to endure the same hardships that I felt I had to at certain parts of my life," Mr. Miller said. "I don't think children should have to go through that. If we can educate their parents, great. But we need to educate children so they don't end up in that situation."
— Trevor Hunnicutt
Founder/Co-founder, Serenity Financial Consulting Group/XY Planning Network