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Megan Duarte’s passion is helping clients with their financial needs while assisting them with their financial goals. While studying for her MS in Financial Planning, Duarte had the opportunity to work with her father at Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. She spent time advising clients on reaching their financial goals within their specific time horizons. Her father’s influence and support inspired her to pursue today’s career.  

Financial Planning was introduced to Duarte at a very young age by her father, who was running a successful financial management firm. He would tell her that she was his “retirement plan,” meaning that she would someday take over his business once he retires. Duarte will be a 2nd generation planner who will take over the company and continue the legacy from where her father left off. Duarte mentions that being a 2nd generation planner can bring a sense of “pressure to live up to the 1st generation’s knowledge and experience.” Furthermore, she mentioned that “I would like to implement some ideas once I take over the business. Some of those ideas include focusing more on the multigenerational relationship in addition to my current tasks at hand.” Finally, she differentiates herself in the financial service industry by providing “quick response times, accuracy in information, and consistent contact.”

After interning for her father, she decided to pursue her MS in Financial Planning. Her father influenced her career in becoming a financial planner. She grew up around the financial services industry because she spent time with him and the industry. While studying for her MS in Financial Planning, Duarte shared that the tax planning course was necessary for her career because “I was able to plan for myself and look at my tax return while applying the knowledge to my current situation. Also, use this information for future conversations with clients.” Duarte recommends that students who will be taking the tax planning course now or in the future “understand the concepts and the numbers that change and don’t in each client’s tax returns.” Furthermore, “paying attention in class” is crucial to succeeding in this course because there are many regulations and tax rules that future financial practitioners can educate clients with, potentially minimizing tax liabilities.

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While she was deciding which career to pursue, her father would exemplify her career choices and explain the career aspects. Her father was very supportive about which career she wanted to pursue. For example, her father will explain what a day in life would be like as a pediatrician and provide examples of the daily demands in the job. Once she decided that financial planning would be the career of her choice, she began to learn the industry from her father. Since then, her father would bring her to the office to learn and observe her father’s responsibilities. Also, her father would share with her the benefits of being a financial practitioner because “the career is about helping people and making sure that clients trust our advice.” Duarte exemplifies that “people need financial help whether they recognize it or not” because clients who need financial help will achieve financial success. 

As a financial advisor, it can be challenging to assist clients who do not implement the advice you offer to them and guide them in the best way possible. Therefore, finding ways to work with them and change interactions can be positive. Duarte has had several experiences with demanding clients and situations during her client meetings, such as “being overconfident in their knowledge or not understanding ramifications of their decisions. Also, clients that do not want to take your advice and do not act upon the advice can be frustrating.” As a result, clients that do not take your advice seriously can be unmotivating to continue offering advice to these clients. Duarte provides solutions for demanding clients to be likable and answer all clients’ questions before giving financial advice. 

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Duarte mentions that her next career steps are obtaining her CFP and strengthening her team to create capacity and market themselves better. The final piece of advice Duarte offers to students is, “To pay attention in class. Patience and work on your communication skills because there are different types of people. Learn how to be likable and deliver financial information to clients that can understand what you are saying and make sure that the deliverables you present do not sound rude.” 

About Megan Duarte: 

Megan Duarte  - Interview

Megan Duarte is a financial planning professional working with her father in the financial planning business. Duarte and her father serve and advise clients at Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. She is currently studying to obtain her MS in Financial Planning from California Lutheran University. 

About the Author: 

Rafael Nieves Rios is a graduate student at California Lutheran University, graduating in 2024. He is studying for an MBA in Financial Planning.