In the run-up to the inaugural RIA Intel Awards in September, RIA Intel will publish Q&As and other short features highlighting the accomplishments of this year’s nominees and Rising Stars.
As a former Fulbright Scholar that taught middle school in South Korea, it should come as no surprise that Ka’Neda Bullock, president and founder of Master Plan Investment Group, makes it her mission to educate current and future clients on building generational wealth. A finalist for Client Advocate of the Year in the inaugural RIA Intel Awards,Bullock spoke with us about her innovative approach to financial planning and being a role model for young women everywhere. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
You're nominated for your advocacy work on behalf of your clients. Can you tell us more about your advocacy efforts?
Knowing how much to save for retirement and college is important, but we don’t only focus solely on the investments; we make sure our clients are making the best decisions for generational wealth management. For instance, a client in New Jersey recently purchased a retirement home in Florida, and we are supporting them to help their children manage their wealth too, to ensure that the legacy they leave their children is just as strong and secure as what they’ve created for themselves. We are huge advocates of financial education, and are constantly talking through what resources we can provide to our clients’ children and grandchildren so they have the best information by which to make their decisions.
Most of our families are first generation wealth builders who through their own experience, understand the value of working hard and saving. But not having had that same experience as their parents did, do their children have that same inherent appreciation for the value of wealth? I’ve seen assets spent at an unbelievable pace, so while it is great to inherit assets, it is equally as important to inherit financial knowledge. When you ingrain in your children learning about savings, doing chores, managing an allowance, and spending wisely, that is truly important because that is preparing them for a life of zero debt and the ability to buy homes and investments.
Have there been any unexpected opportunities in the last year?
Companies typically provide healthcare and insurance benefits for their employees, but now some are realizing that if they want to best engage their staff, boost morale and retention, and increase efficiency, they need to attend to the financial health of their people, too. We recently began doing financial wellness training for the employees of an organization in Philadelphia who came to this same recognition, and many of those staff members have now become our clients.
Only 3.7% of CFPs are Black or Latino, and just 23.3% are women. Can you tell us more about how you are working to improve these stats?
When I was young, I wanted to be a lawyer because the strong, articulate, and successful Black women that I knew were attorneys. So I try to be that same example for today’s young people. My advocacy starts at home with my five and seven-year-old daughters. I talk to them about the possibility of being an investor; I talk to them about other industries that have historically excluded women, like engineering. Each year I participate in a program at a local, all-girls’ high school where I am a visiting speaker in their leadership program. I speak about my career in the industry, the differences of being an owner as opposed to an employee, and how I balance my career with being a spouse, and being a mom and spending time with my children. That is just one of the many schools (from the elementary to college level) and nonprofits that I volunteer at as a speaker. I want to show these young ladies what they can do, because women are some of the best portfolio managers and investment advisors in the industry.
What has been your most satisfying moment since founding Master Plan Investment Group?
I work intentionally to provide excellent value for my clients and to that end, I am always thinking from their perspective. So when you are working so diligently to provide the best benefits to your client, it feels good to be recognized, and I was named one of InvestmentNews “40 Under 40” up-and-comers in the financial advice industry. The awards process is rigorous, and I was selected from thousands that were nominated from their clients’ testimonials. To be able to do work for clients is a passion of ours, and to show that they appreciate and value it by providing that nomination was satisfying.
The inaugural RIA Intel Awards is a celebration of financial advisors, wealth management firms, and industry leaders. Winners will be on announced on RIAIntel.com on September 14, 2022 and will be honored in-person at upcoming RIA Institute Forums.
Benjamin Lev is a freelancer at RIA Intel and based in New York City.