My name is Daniel Johnson and I’m a Financial Advisor with Parsec Financial in Downtown Asheville. I graduated from UNCA in May of 2008. Shortly after graduating, I went against the very good advice of my academic adviser to sit for the CPA exam. Looking back, it would have been much easier and advantageous to have taken the exam just after graduation. Lesson #1, your adviser knows best. Regardless, shortly after graduation I started an entry level position with the State Employees’ Credit Union. I knew that I didn’t want to be in public accounting; however, I wanted to enter a field that I felt would be applicable to my degree. After four years, I found myself administering a tax preparation program with SECU. So much for not working in the accounting field! While working at the credit union, I also continued my education at East Carolina University in their distance education MBA program. I graduated from the program in 2012. That same year, I also completed the education requirements and exam for the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM designation. All of this experience and training has been extremely helpful in preparing me for the transition to my current field. My wife Sarah (’10) and I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to return to the great city of Asheville.
What was a typical day like in your position?
A typical day might consist of about three to four different assignments or tasks. The most common task that I have is in regards to communication with clients. Although we typically meet with clients a few times per year, we are in constant contact with them. The next task I find myself working on is preparing for upcoming client meetings. This involves communicating with the client to gather data, as well as prepare the presentation materials for the meeting. The next responsibility is actually participating in the client meetings. Typically this includes presenting their financial plan, as well as providing input on questions being asked and taking notes of the meeting. Lastly, I am fortunate to have some time apart from these tasks to keep current on the stock market and economy, as well as financial planning related advancements.
What did you wish you had known going into the experience?
The main thing that I regret from my time prior to working in wealth management is not taking advantage of networking opportunities. This was not only at UNCA, but also in the community. I have seen others that work in a wide range of industries benefit from networking with other community members.
What advice do you have for current students who are pursuing your major?
If you are pursuing an accounting degree, it will serve you well to go and take the CPA exam when you graduate. The knowledge is fresh and the opportunities are endless. I was narrow-minded to think I had to work in public accounting, but there are opportunities in education, private industry, and even financial planning!
What influenced you to apply for this position?
After years of working at the credit union and helping families with one side of their finances (mainly liabilities), I had a desire to help families with their whole financial life. Financial planning provides me the opportunity to utilize what I learned at UNCA, as well knowledge that has been built upon that foundation. Financial planning is a very rewarding career that provides a valuable service to individuals and families.