Julia Carlsonage 37

CEO and founder, Financial Freedom Wealth Management Group

I am a Trailblazer

40 Under 40
40 Under 40

I am a Leader

40 Under 40
Leaders

I am a Trailblazer

Trail Blazers

I am an Entrepreneur

40 Under 40
Entrepreneurs

I am a Visionary

40 Under 40
Visionaries

I am an Idealist

40 Under 40
Idealists

Meet the Leaders

Whether in their own firms or in their communities, these young people are leading the charge toward innovation in financial planning, bringing new opportunities to advisers and clients alike. Here, they share the best leadership advice they’ve received in their careers.

Meet the Trailblazers

This group doesn’t subscribe to groupthink. They are spearheading new ways of practicing and delivering financial advice — in some cases reaching populations previously considered unprofitable to serve. We ask them about the most unique and unusual ideas they’ve had.

Meet the Entrepreneurs

In addition to helping clients reach their financial goals, some in the advice industry face the challenge of running a business or a team. Others have started companies to support this pursuit. These young people are flourishing amid the balancing act — and some got an early start.

Meet the Visionaries

It’s not about what is, but what will be — and what can be — the future of the financial planning industry for this group of forward-looking advisers, educators and executives. Their insights pull the rest of the profession into the next stratum.

Meet the Idealists

Life experiences shape our ideals, especially for these young professionals who see challenges in the advice industry and the world — and set out to meet them. They also have words of wisdom for the next generation.

About Julia

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

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Fast Facts

  • Placed in the Arnold Amateur, a bodybuilding competition, in 2013
  • Parents nurtured her interest in Dave Ramsey's personal-finance philosophy
  • Guilty pleasure: Business trips away from her beloved three kids and husband