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The Future is Now

Young advisors made their mark at the San Francisco convention.

By Helen Thompson

At the 2006 NAIFA Convention and Career Conference, many people were overheard talking about things you’d only see in San Francisco, but leave it to a group of young advisors to be one of them: A crew of North Carolina YATters were spotted on the BART train to the beach—carrying surfboards.

Young advisors were everywhere, actually. This year, the programming track for the Young Advisors Team was more developed, with daily events specifically designed with young advisors in mind. The under-40 crowd was out in droves, with more than 160 YATters participating in the convention—a new record.

So Much to Do
While some young advisors got their first taste of the convention at the first-timers’ orientation on Saturday afternoon, experienced YATters, including Leadership in Life Institute graduates and members of the national YAT committee, introduced them to ways they could become more involved—starting with the YAT Meet and Greet held at the hotel later that evening. The turnout for the reception was astonishing, as Greg Bailey, FSS, YAT chair, and Marc Bregman, past YAT chair, greeted the dozens of young advisors who crowded into the room to mingle and socialize.

This year, YAT’s focus on advocacy, emphasized during a legislative reception on Sunday, was underscored by their YAT PAC challenge, in which young advisors were encouraged to contribute to IFAPAC. While they weren’t intent on raising a specific dollar amount, they raised $5,840, exceeding their own expectations and setting the stage for the political focus of next year’s convention in Washington, D.C.

“We tend to see YAT as the future of our organization,” said Jim Van Ham, CLU, LUTCF, CFP, commenting on YAT’s convention success. “But really, they are our present, because the future is here.”

Sharing Strategies for Success
On Tuesday, YAT-oriented workshops provided an opportunity for young advisors to hear from some of their successful peers and work on streamlining their goals. First, the “Four Under Forty” advisors, featured in the June 2006 issue of Advisor Today, shared their tips and insights for creating successful practices in the digital age. Their secrets? Cultivate relationships, do what you’re best at and get involved with NAIFA. “I asked the successful people what they were doing, and they were all NAIFA members,” said Jennifer Alford. “I can be around these smart people for an hour a month and always pick something up.”

Education is another key. “Your clients are learning about finances through Yahoo!,” said Brent Spicuzza, CFP. “You have to be a student and constantly learning so that you can stay ahead of the curve. … Smart people surround themselves with smart people, too. Surround yourself with the right team.”

For more from this discussion, see "Strategies for Success."

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