Broker Check

How I became a Financial Planner

June 16, 2020

From a young age I knew I had a passion for helping people. Although, one thing was certain, I was not going to be a doctor. I was never a fan of hospitals or doctors’ offices. I’m not truly sure where I found my passion for finance. It may have been my love of the game Monopoly. I thought it was so cool building a massive real estate empire and then just sitting back, waiting for the unlucky roller to land right on my Pennsylvania Ave hotel. I was always coming up with ways of trading my lower income properties for someone else’s more prime location properties even if it meant giving up extra cash up front. I could always see the potential longer-term value of holding those prime locations. I was a BIG monopoly fan. My problem was, no one ever wanted to play because it was such a long game. But that’s what I loved! Monopoly is just like building wealth, its not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

My love of finance could have also been from learning about the stock market from a family friend when I was in high school. Prior to that, I didn’t really know anything about the stock market. But once I learned about it, I was hooked! You’re telling me I could share in the profits of a company I know and also use their products every day?? That’s like paying myself back for buying a Disney movie or drinking a Gatorade (Pepsico), I thought. How cool is that?! I was taught to research companies by brands I knew and trusted. I had access to Barron’s magazine and would search through all of the tickers one by one to see which companies I knew and which were hitting new highs/new lows and looked into why that might be. I soon had my own brokerage account and started trading some of these companies I knew and loved.

During high school, I found myself looking up careers that involved finance, specifically investing. First off, I knew I didn’t want to just be a stock broker. I didn’t want to just sell someone the next “Amazon of the world”. I couldn’t see how cold-calling people every day was going to make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I wanted real relationships with people. I wanted to connect and help them invest and make better financial decisions. One day I stumbled across Financial Planning. After looking into the field, it felt natural and seemed like a perfect fit. I discovered that I could have a career helping individuals with, not only their investing needs, but also much much more. Even today, I am still discovering ways to help our clients out when it comes to the very broad spectrum of finance.

Next thing I did was look up how to become a Financial Planner. Were there actual financial planning degrees?, I thought. I had no idea. Come to find out, the school I wanted to go to, Salisbury University, actually had a Finance Major with a Financial Planning track. They offered a major that was built around the Certified Financial Planner® curriculum. The track included the following class topics: Investments, Estate Planning, Risk Management and Insurance, International Finance, Federal Income Tax Accounting, and Retirement Planning. It was a rigorous program that prepared you to sit for the CFP® test after graduation. Attending SU for their Financial Planning major was one of the best decisions I ever made. I feel I was well prepared for a career in financial planning!

Fast forward to July 2017, my career in financial planning was starting. Since then I’ve obtained several licenses including Series 7, Series 66, and Life and Health Insurance. I also successfully passed the CFP test and am now a Certified Financial Planner® professional. I have also advanced from a Client Services Associate to a Financial Planner/Director of Financial Planning at my firm. I must admit I feel fortunate to be in a position to help people realize their financial aspirations. By no means was it easy. Similar to a financial plan, you need to stay focused and on track. With a little persistence and hard work, you can accomplish anything when you set your mind to it. 


Steven Dengler, CFP®

Financial Advisor / Director of Planning

 Your local Towson Financial Advisors


Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. Mosaic Asset Partners, LLC is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. Comments concerning the past performance are not intended to be forward looking and should not be viewed as an indication of future results.