Andy Hamilton is a Director in Wealth Management at Aspiriant with deep experience in investments and financial planning. Below, he explains how his passion for money turned into a financial career and some of the lessons he learned along the way. You can listen to him on Episode 2 of the Modern Career Podcast.
How did you get started in your career?
From an early age I had an interest in money, but it wasn’t until I took a personal finance class in college that I thought about making it a career. Financial planning jobs were few and far between when I graduated from college in 2001, so I accepted a role with a small brokerage firm that specialized in option trading. It wasn’t what I was really looking for, but it gave me my start in financial services and made me realize that I didn’t want to stay on the brokerage side of the business. Fortunately for me, the brokerage was acquired, which gave me the motivation to find a new path in financial planning. I found Kochis Fitz (now Aspiriant), and I haven’t looked back.
What’s something you are glad you did or took advantage of that served you well?
I took the time to learn from those who had more experience than me. When I started in wealth management, I was fortunate enough to work with several very experienced and skilled wealth managers who were more than willing to teach me the ropes. They provided a lot of feedback (some of it quite critical at times) and pushed me to the edge of my comfort level. In particular, my first manager encouraged me to take risks, but only in a controlled setting where there was someone to “save” me if I veered off course. This was key to my professional growth.
How do you balance work, life, and such a busy schedule?
This might not work for everyone, but I really try to create a clear separation between work and life. In our “always on” culture, it’s easy for work and life to blend together. I find that in order to do my best work, I need to be focused on work. When it comes to my home life, it’s not fair to my daughter for her to have anything but my undivided attention. Some people are able to combine the two, but it doesn’t work for me.
What piece of advice would you give someone regarding work or career?
Don’t assume the grass is greener on the other side. There’s been a lot written about the increase in job-hopping in recent years and how it’s become the new normal. While you need to recognize when you are in a dead-end situation, I think people oftentimes overlook the career path opportunities that are right in front of them. Work with your manager to get on the same page with respect to career path expectations and don’t be too quick to jump to the wrong conclusions. When I look at my friends who are happiest from a career standpoint, they tend to be those who have been with the same firm for a long time.