Oct 13

My Journey to Rockbridge

by Claire Kobylanski

As the newest member of the Rockbridge team, I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself. Whether you are a client, or another financial services professional, I believe it’s worth taking the time to explain my background, how I got here, and why I decided to pursue a career in the financial services industry.

My name is Claire Ariglio. I graduated from Elmira College in 2014 where I studied Business Administration and Economics. Right out of school, I was hired as an Operations Administrator at a local broker-dealer. Fast forward about a year and a half, and here I am:  a financial planner at Rockbridge Investment Management.

Throughout middle and high school I had an idea, though broad and vague, of what I wanted to do with my life:  help people and work with money or numbers. I was good at math, I was Treasurer of my class for as long as I could remember, and I grew up in a household of accountants; something along the lines of money and numbers had to be good fit. However, I struggled with the specifics of how I was going to make that happen, especially the “helping people” part.

When I entered my freshman year at Elmira College, I was unsure what I wanted to study. I took classes in mathematics education and accounting before I finally declared myself as a business administration major. In my sophomore year, my economics professor approached me and asked if I had ever considered studying economics. She told me I had a natural inclination towards the science and convinced me to give it a shot. Although I never saw myself studying economics, I grew to love it. For my remaining years at Elmira, I learned about strategic management, corporate finance, the stock market, international trade models, development economics, and even a little bit of game theory.

After graduating from Elmira College, I was hired as an Operations Administrator at a local broker-dealer. I thought it would be an excellent introduction to the financial industry, and would serve as the perfect combination of my business and economics degrees. While I was there, I was able to gain a lot of first-hand experience working with clients and was exposed to the industry in a way that can’t be taught in a classroom. After working there for a little over a year, I had the self-realization that I wanted to be more than a member of the operations staff. Although I enjoyed working as part of a team to support our advisors, I wanted to have more of a forward-facing, upfront position that I would be able to grow into. I wanted to have more control over what I was doing on a day-to-day basis. Enter Rockbridge.

At that point, financial planning hadn’t really been on my radar. However, when I heard that Rockbridge was looking to hire more financial planners, I figured why not look into it? It could be the perfect career opportunity hiding right under my nose. I contacted them right away, we set up a few interviews, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Once I learned how Rockbridge conducted their business, I knew it was a good fit both personally and professionally. It was the perfect blend of my love of finance and numbers, and being able to help people. A person’s wealth is one of the most integral parts of their lives, and most people struggle to manage it effectively. There are so many decisions to make when it comes to retirement – “Where and how much should I be saving?” “Is my portfolio diversified?” These are primary concerns for the average person and they are difficult to consider while attempting to maintain a financially stable life; it can be overwhelming without the guidance of a professional. That’s what makes financial planning such a rewarding experience. It’s a job that allows you to ease financial worries simply by laying out a person’s finances all in one place, and getting them on track for a comfortable retirement. The fee-only investment philosophy that Rockbridge implements is also something I love; it truly allows an advisor to act in the best interest of the client without some monetary figure getting in the way. Needless to say, I can’t wait to see where this new journey at Rockbridge takes me.

(And for those of you who were looking for something of some financial substance, here’s one of the most important things I’ve learned from working in this industry:  the stock market is a long-term vehicle. It’s going to have its ups and downs. Don’t be alarmed when the market takes a dive and the value of your brokerage account or IRA decreases. It’s not a loss until you sell everything and realize the loss. Just wait it out, and over the long run, your account should grow.)

 

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