By Haley Tolitsky
In an industry that is always changing and evolving, such as financial planning, it is imperative to find your community for education, support and collaboration. It is not uncommon to feel alone, especially if you work for a small firm.
This is why it is so important to join organizations that provide these opportunities and allow you to connect with other like-minded individuals. For me, this organization is the Financial Planning Association (FPA).
Through the FPA, I have several mastermind group opportunities from my local chapter, including NexGen and our women’s initiative. I also formed a study group with five other remarkable financial planners in similar stages of their careers who have been my go-to group over the last year and a half. We are women planners that are within their first 6 years of the financial planning profession that originally found each other on a discussion thread during the virtual FPA NexGen Gathering in 2020.
We meet virtually each month for one hour, which is our time to share wins, frustrations and ask for suggestions when it comes to client situations, career growth, work-life balance and more. We’ve had guest speakers join us to share their expertise and have covered a wide variety of topics, including technology, investments, client experience, goal setting, job transitions and many other areas. If you are looking to build a trusted team with similar interests, I highly recommend forming or joining a mastermind group.
What Is A Mastermind Group?
A mastermind group is a group of planners who meet regularly to collaborate and share challenges they are dealing with both in and out of the industry. It may have a specific theme that members are interested in, such as being newer to the profession, owning a practice or focusing on a specific niche of clients, but it doesn’t have to.
How To Find Or Start A Mastermind Group
A great place to seek these types of groups are through the professional organizations you are involved with, such as the FPA, NAPFA or through your firm. Check out their discussion boards, local events and conferences to find opportunities to connect with others. You can also reach out on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn or Twitter.
If you are not able to find a mastermind group that fits your needs, you may consider starting your own, which does not have to be difficult or very time consuming. Start by determining what you want to get out of the group, if there should be any specific requirements to join, such as years in the industry, job role, gender, location, etc., and how often and where you will meet.
Once you define those metrics, you can start your outreach by using similar methods that you used in your original search for a mastermind group. When you have a list of interested participants, hold an introduction call to get to know each other, discuss goals and expectations for the group and set a meeting schedule.
Tips For Success
Be Patient and Flexible. You probably will not find the perfect group on the first try. Don’t be afraid of trial and error. Some individuals that were originally interested may drop off and you may find new people to join, and that is okay! Give your group a few meetings to work out the kinks and get established.
Provide Some Structure to the Meetings. My group starts off every meeting by going around and answering the question, “On a scale of 1-10, how are you feeling today?” This allows everyone to provide any life and career updates and an opportunity at the beginning of the meeting to share how they are doing. This often sparks additional conversations throughout the meeting.
Consider Assigning Roles. You may want to assign roles to keep the group engaged, such as meeting organizer, agenda creator, facilitator and note taker. These responsibilities can rotate each meeting. Some groups like this additional structure while others don’t need it.
Create a Communication Method for In-Between Meetings. There definitely will be questions or contributions that come up outside of meetings, so establish a line of communication as soon as the group forms, such as email, Slack or a private LinkedIn group. This allows everyone to stay connected outside of meetings and share relevant information as needed.
When I look back over the last two years, my mastermind group has been essential to my career growth, increase in confidence and support system. I have formed meaningful friendships and am grateful to have such a strong group of women that I look forward to seeing each month. It took some time to get our group up and running, but it has been so worth it!
If you have any questions about forming a mastermind group or getting involved in the financial planning industry, please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Haley Tolitsky, CFP® is a Financial Planner with Cooke Capital in Wilmington, NC. She is the NexGen PR Coordinator for the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and serves as the communications director and women’s initiative director for the Financial Planning Association of the Triangle. Securities offered through The Strategic Financial Alliance, Inc. (SFA), Member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory services offered through Allegiance Financial Group Advisory Services, LLC (AFGAS). SFA, AFGAS, and Cooke Capital, Inc. are not affiliated.
FPA NexGen, a community of the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), aims to provide support and collaboration for those professionals new to the financial planning profession. With more than 2,500 like-minded young professionals, members of FPA NexGen are ready to share their experiences and further the future of the financial planning profession. Learn more about our engaged community and join the conversation on Twitter.
Here are past NexGen columns: