Balancing the demands of growing a financial advisory practice, educating the public and developing a personal brand are no easy feat. But neither is the exacting diet and exercise regime demanded of competitive bodybuilders. Still Julia M. Carlson has managed to do all of these — and more — thanks to a good measure of discipline.
"I'm a huge goal setter," Ms. Carlson said. "I like to set my goals and achieve them."
The Newport, Ore., broker and adviser has done that in spades. She started her career in financial advice young, at age 19, with no CFP certification, no bachelor's degree and professional experience that consisted of flipping buns at McDonalds. Now people flock to her seminars and turn to her local column for financial advice — and she's been endorsed by the popular financial author and personality Dave Ramsey.
She also placed in the 2013 Arnold Amateur, a bodybuilding competition whose namesake is perhaps the world's most famous bodybuilder: Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Ms. Carlson is the chief executive and founder of Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group, an LPL Financial-affiliated firm. And while Ms. Carlson's public — and indeed highly sculpted — profile has brought her wealthy clients, it's more often brought people whose finances are not in great shape. She still helps many of those people get on track — gratis — and she's been reluctant to ditch clients outside of her target market, because they helped her build her business.
"I'm maxed out," she said. "My favorite quote from my seven-year-old is: I just want to be your client so I can see you." It is a reminder to the student of consumer economics that no investment — even in one's grateful clients — is without opportunity costs.
— Trevor Hunnicutt
Vice president, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management