Today we’d like to introduce you to Kari LaRocco.
Hi Kari, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I started in the financial planning industry when I was 24. I was at a job I knew I didn’t love and in search of a career that made me feel something and so I took a sabbatical and started going on interviews until I landed one with AMEX Financial Advisors and began my journey in January 2002. I passed my series 7, 66, and Life, Health, and Variable Annuities tests and licenses and began learning the business. I worked on how to meet people, how to connect on a deep level, and how to service clients year after year. I got my Certified Financial Planner designation along with my APMA and CRPC. I started as an employee of the company (which became Ameriprise Financial in 2005) and in 2014 after planning a wedding and then calling it off and then completing my first (and only) half Ironman and then full Ironman, I left the employee world and became a franchise owner. I got married to my husband in 2015 and we have two beautiful little dogs! I still maintain a passion for fitness and competition but not quite at the same level! I love fashion, travel, food, family, friends, and having fun, and work to maintain and promote a healthy balance of work and life for myself, my team, and my clients. I have built my business in a variety of ways but my emphasis is on empowering women!
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Of course not! It was a struggle being young and female at first and then I enjoyed being underestimated. It was always hard no matter who you were because it was (is) long hours, hard work, uncomfortable conversations, a LOT of rejection, and then repeat all of those things! So many things are always out of your control such as the markets, the economy, different companies in the daily news, the immediate information, and individual situations and the struggle to keep up with it all can feel overwhelming at times but the longer I do this the more I know it will pass. Some of the struggles include managing emotions along with portfolios through times like the financial crisis or a global epidemic but that’s when I think communication and being proactive is of most importance.
As you know, we’re big fans of LaRocco & Associates. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
WE are a full-service comprehensive financial planning franchise of Ameriprise Financial. We support all types of families but have an emphasis on females and the LGBTQ community. I focus on balance and I call them the F words – female, finance, fashion, food, fitness, fun, family, friends, fierce, fearless (and of course there are more)! I think financial planning is about intentional living and finding your purpose so that all the money I help you save is FOR something that you can identify and that makes you feel grateful and joyful. The F words are a metaphor for those things. My brand is about how you can begin to discover what is most important for you in this life and therefore achieving success. Your plan is the outline of how to bring your goals to fruition and I will help implement all of the pieces with you and as we go. I typically have regular client meetings and educational events and invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, UITs, closed-end funds, annuities, life, disability, long term care and work together with you and your CPA and attorney to ensure you are making the best possible tax and estate planning decisions as well.
Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Finding a mentor, I think you should ask someone you admire that you feel can help form you into a better human. For networking, I find that I am terrible at it but if I am at a networking event and I automatically connect with someone without giving my elevator speech, that’s a win for me. And then I want to share more about what I do and hear what they do so it’s not forced (like dating)!