From teaching Kindergarteners to leading a team of financial advisors
If you ever want a challenge, volunteer to teach a class of five-year-olds. The time I spent teaching Kindergarten was simultaneously the most difficult and rewarding experience of my career. I learned that while I love children, teaching is not my calling. Aside from developing a deep sense of respect for the unrelenting hard work of teachers, I came to realize that many held significant student loans and did not understand investments or personal finance. The irony is that personal finance is not taught in school, but that is another issue for another day.
I come from a hardworking family of social workers. My mom is a nurse, my father is a mental health therapist, my sister is a teacher, and my wife is a social worker. My parents always told me not to go into their profession because, while they are passionate about helping others, they are often overworked and underpaid. As such, I made it my mission to learn everything I possibly could about personal finance and impart that knowledge to those who need it.
Anthony in the classroom with his Kindergarten students.
The world of financial advice I spent my formative years in financial planning, working as a paraplanner for one of the largest independent registered investment advisors in the industry. The company primarily served the mass affluent market, which is made up of hardworking, middle income folks just like my parents. I learned a lot in this role and even obtained my CFP ® designation. I soon realized there was a clear disconnect between the value they were providing and the fee they were charging. I eventually left and went to work for a company that focused on financial advice for high net worth clients, but it ultimately was not the right culture fit nor did it offer much upward mobility. None of this felt right to me and I was thrilled when the opportunity arose to join Vanguard as a financial advisor.
Life at Vanguard I had the experience, expertise, and drive to excel as a financial advisor, and Vanguard provided me with the opportunity I was searching for. Through our Personal Advisor Services business model, clients are paired with experienced financial advisors who work in tandem with clients to help them achieve their financial goals. Advisors are located in our three main U.S. sites (Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona), and advice is provided to clients over the phone and via video conference. As in everything we do, Vanguard offers an incredible value combining our low-cost approach and high-quality products and the focus is always on the client. Our founder, John Bogle, said, “We believe that people matter and caring about human beings must be the soul of any organization worth its salt.” I can now say that I work for a firm where the value we provide far exceeds the cost of the service.
Good work does not go unnoticed Taking care of clients is of the utmost importance to Vanguard, and of equal importance is taking care of their employees. Vanguard goes beyond simply offering competitive pay and benefits. They have established a meritocracy where hard work and high performance is recognized and rewarded.
I began my career at Vanguard as a financial advisor and performed well in that role. In less than two years, I interviewed for and was offered a management position leading a team of financial advisors. It is an understatement for me to say that I’ve never worked for a company with more driven, kind, and caring colleagues. My first day in leadership started with my team welcoming me with open arms, and since all meetings are currently held virtually via video conference, each of my peers uploaded a unique congratulatory background. If that wasn’t enough, in a true show of support and empathy, when our German Shepherd Dog, Maddox, had to undergo emergency surgery a few months ago, my colleagues sent a “get well” basket of treats for him along with a beautiful card.
Anthony’s dogs. Pictured centered is Maddox.
A mission realized I am constantly impressed with Vanguard’s mission to “take a stand for all investors,” and how all of my colleagues live out that mission in their day-to-day as we serve our clients. I started my personal mission determined to provide high quality advice to those who need it most. I never thought there would be a company out there whose mission coalesced with mine. I often refer to Vanguard as a financial firm with a conscience, and I could not be more thankful to be part of our organization where the goal is to bring financial advice to millions.
Occasionally, I think back on my parent’s sentiment that I shouldn’t pursue a career in social work and I sometimes wonder whether I made the right choice. Then I speak with a client who I’ve helped retire comfortably, put their children through college, or achieve financial freedom and I know I am living my mission. Recently, I spoke with a client who is a social worker and she said, “You know, Anthony, you are a social worker…you’re a financial social worker who looks out for me and my financial well-being.” I guess the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree after all. I realize that there is a common thread between social workers and the people who work at Vanguard, we are all helping clients achieve their goals in life.