Financial planner aims to help Parkites
Kasey Ring became a financial adviser seven years ago because she had a desire to help people. But there was one thing that didn’t sit right.
The focus in the jobs she held was always on securing clients with impressive portfolios and high net worths, she said. It was on luring customers who were already financially secure.
"That wasn’t really my interest level," Ring said. "I wanted to help those who really aren’t getting the traditional planning help, the people who are forced to be do-it-yourselfers or learn about it on their own."
Now, the dream Ring has held since entering the financial industry has become a reality. She recently opened Upward Personal Finance, where she is aiming to help people take control of their finances. She said her own story of persevering for years before starting the company is, in itself, an advertisement for the firm’s mission.
"Now that things are real and coming together, and I have clients under my belt, it’s just an amazing feeling to say, ‘OK, all these years of planning have paid off,’" she said. "And this is why I can sell myself so well. It’s like, ‘Look, if you can lay the foundation and the groundwork for your goals and dreams, they’re going to happen. But you’ve got to make the plan.’ So I’m the perfect example. It took me a while, but I’m here and doing it."
Upward Personal Finance offers a variety of fee-based services. Full financial plans require a one-year commitment and involve six 60- to 90-minute sessions that break down the entirety of a client’s finances. Other customers can receive assistance in specific areas, such as debt management, college savings, estate planning and risk management.
A newlywed financial plan is one of Ring’s more unique offerings, she said. She came up with the idea when a friend approached her with concerns about the financial future of a daughter who was getting married. The package includes three sessions aimed at teaching newlyweds about combining finances, budgeting and developing savings plans based on specific goals.
"So many marriages have strife over finances, and that’s such an easy thing, in my mind, to fix," she said. " I wanted to make this to be almost like something a parent or a grandparent might give as a gift. The young couple might not be savvy enough to know that they need it, but those of us who are more experienced can say, ‘This is a great thing. This will get you on the right foot.’"
As well as designing a range of services the companies she previously worked for weren’t offering, Ring wanted to set apart Upward Personal Finance in another aspect: convenience. She said many of her clients are busy, between work and family, and it’s difficult for them to carve out time to meet with financial advisers. So she works around their schedules. She is available in the evenings and over the weekends and meets clients at coffee shops, libraries or their offices — or online through Skype or Google Hangouts.
"I really wanted to make it flexible, where my clients didn’t have to take an hour and a half out of their busy day to go to some brick-and-mortar place and sit down and go through paperwork," she said. "I wanted it to feel a lot more user-friendly and relationship-driven.
"It’s not a business model that would work for most," she added. "It works for me because I’ve set it up that way. But in the typical financial world, it’s not really a common business model."
The company has received a warm response from customers eager to gain the tools they need to manage their finances, Ring said. She views her services as being in line with the oft-quoted adage that says it’s better to teach a man to fish than to give him one.
"Getting people educated on what works and how things work is important," she said. "I think the real skillset of someone in my profession is an ability to put it in layman’s terms. I really try to make it conversational and easy to understand."
Upward Personal Finance