Vanguard career work life balance

Redefining success at Vanguard

As a newly minted college graduate, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I wanted to be successful, and that meant I needed to build experience at a reputable and well-known company.

I had grown up reading The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing, so when I received an offer to join Vanguard in Scottsdale, I enthusiastically accepted the opportunity. I had enough of the frigid Michigan winters.

I started my Vanguard career as a Client Relationship Associate in 2014, answering inbound phone calls and assisting clients with placing trades, resetting passwords, and educating them on Vanguard products. To be honest, I saw my first role at Vanguard as a stepping stone to somewhere else. I never thought I would stay.

Vanguard career work life balance

Like many ambitious and naive college graduates, I defined success as making a six figure income in a stereotypically cool job like investment banking or tech. If I achieved that, I would know that I “made it”.

And yet, here I am, four years later. Why did I stay? What changed?

In my first year, I discovered that I loved educating clients on Vanguard mutual funds. There is a special fuzzy feeling that comes from using my skills to educate and help others, and I wanted to chase that feeling. I thought to myself, “Where can I do more of that?”

As I gained experience at Vanguard, I began to plot my next career move. I knew that financial advisors typically make a good living doing meaningful work, so I decided to pursue the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) designation.

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services was still in its infancy at the time, so I explored opportunities outside of Vanguard, but was disappointed to learn that a vast majority of advisory positions were sales driven. I was attracted to Vanguard Personal Advisor Services compared to other advisory firms because, as a salaried advisor, I didn’t have to worry about prospecting or earning commission-based compensation. The only thing I would need to focus on is making the best investment decisions for my clients. For many outside advisors looking in, this is the dream (trust me). And after about two years working hard in inbound phone roles and passing the CFP® exam, I joined Personal Advisor Services.

Vanguard has a noble mission: “To take a stand for all investors, to treat them fairly, and to give them the best chance for investment success.” As an advisor, I get to live that mission, and this is truly rewarding in the sense that I find purpose doing something meaningful and worthwhile. You know that special fuzzy feeling I was chasing? I found it in Vanguard Advice! I know it’s a cliché, but I love what I do here. You can’t put a price on that.

Vanguard career work life balance

Furthermore, freedom to travel, especially in my 20s, has been an invaluable benefit of working for Vanguard. In the last two years alone, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to Thailand, Vietnam, France, Spain, Canada, and Japan. Vanguard provides a generous amount of flexible, guilt-free paid-time-off (PTO). With our collaborative culture, my supportive team allows me to treat PTO as a time to completely forget about work. If I worked for a different company that based my income on sales performance, I wouldn’t have been able to take the amazing trips that I have.

As I approach my four year anniversary in August, I can’t yet say that “I made it”, but I couldn’t be happier with where I am. I have redefined success as maximizing my fulfillment. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past four years, it’s that success is not all about the paycheck. Rather, it is mostly about finding rewarding work towards a worthwhile cause. Needless to say, I’ve found that at Vanguard.

-Daniel M.

Vanguard career work life balance

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