The other day Bill Holiday sat down with the two newest fee only financial advisors at AIO Financial to ask some questions and learn a little more about them. Here’s what they talked about.

Bill: In this episode, we’re going to introduce you to two of our new advisors – Kataya Plett and Val Mendoza. Kataya, what got you into this field, and what do you like about it?

Kataya: What got me into it was I started as a portfolio manager – I looked at the funds that people should have in their portfolios and made sure they were in the right balance and diversification. I really enjoyed learning about all of that and keeping up with trends in the market. But I also wanted to be able to help people with more of their finances. To get the full financial picture and actually be working directly with the client. So that’s what moved me towards becoming a financial planner.
Bill: That’s a good point, just making investment decisions in isolation doesn’t let you give as much support as you could if you’re helping with their complete picture to meet their financial goals.

Kataya: Yes, people don’t always realize that investments are just a part of it and that there are a lot of things that financial planners can help with. When you’re looking at the whole picture, you’re able to help people much more.

Bill: Val, same question. What got you into financial planning and what do you enjoy about it?

Val: I started out helping with paperwork and contacting clients. I didn’t know much about finances and investing when I started but as I learned a lot while working at AIO and thought it was very interesting. You helped me out a lot with learning more and encouraging me to work towards becoming an advisor. I like how much the work varies from client to client and all the different people I get to meet doing this. It feels like every day is something different and I’m always learning something new.

Bill: That is a great point about our education system. I don’t think investing is emphasized or even touched on at most high schools. And it’s really important. While we’re in school we focus on someday having a career, but don’t learn what to do with the money we earn.

Val: Yes, I agree. Even at university, it wasn’t something that was generally taught. You had to seek out classes on it. No one is really helping you with this, so you have to seek out the information yourself.

Bill: So how are you adjusting to working virtually?

Kataya: The interesting thing with AIO is that we have clients everywhere. So, we’ve always had to do some form of virtual meetings and will continue to do so in the future. But as for me personally, it’s been nice in some ways – I like that we can do the meetings from anywhere and at any time which makes it very flexible. But it has been an adjustment to not be working out of the office as much. It can be nice to have that separation of work and home plus you miss out on a lot of the normal office interactions when you’re working remotely. But overall, the flexibility we have with working more virtually has been a real benefit and something I think we’ll continue to utilize as much as we can.

Val: Yes, I agree completely. I think it’s great that we can be flexible and meet with people wherever they are. But I would say that sometimes technology has caused some difficulties. It doesn’t always work well, or sometimes just random issues come up. So that would be the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make, is learning to deal with technology when it decides to be difficult.

Bill: You’re right, and sometimes it’s the clients who are struggling with the technology. Luckily, we have a pretty simple meeting system now. But when technology doesn’t want to work that’s always a struggle.

I also miss the office environment. You don’t get the same opportunities to just have a chat with coworkers or even have a quick brainstorming session. But it’s also really nice to be able to work from home so it’s a tradeoff.

I know we work with clients on investments, retirement planning, taxes, estate planning, and insurance – is there any area you particularly enjoy working on with clients? And any programs that we use that you find particularly useful?

Val: I like doing retirement planning. You get to really see what clients want to do with their lives and it really varies from person to person. And for programs, I really like our eMoney platform. It’s a really simple way to send documents back and forth plus it helps give them a better view of all their finances together since they can link all of their accounts to one place. I’ve heard from clients that they really like it as well so I’m glad it’s something we can provide for them.

Kataya: Honestly, I really like eMoney as well – it’s one of the easiest secure document storage programs that I’ve seen. I also really like Money Guide Pro which we use for making clients’ financial plans. It’s very customizable and lets you really plan for anything that might come up. And I really enjoy putting those plans together for clients. But I also really like helping clients out with estate planning because there are so many little things that people aren’t even aware of when they first start working on their estate plans. And I really like being able to show people what all their options are. Sometimes we’re able to provide a solution for a problem they didn’t even realize they had before talking with us. I also like the generational feel of helping with an estate plan – I’m not only helping the client, but I’m also helping their beneficiaries.

Bill: Yes, that’s a good point. I think a lot of our work is actually education. We inform people about their different options that they don’t always know that they have.

And it’s interesting how much the programs we use have changed. Even ten years ago we didn’t have access to a lot of the things we do now. And I’m sure in another ten years it will evolve even more.

How about in your free time? What do you like to do outside of work? Val what do you like to do for fun?

Val: I like to travel or to explore new places with friends. Even just checking out a new coffee place with friends can be a lot of fun. But obviously, I haven’t been able to do that as much lately, so I’ve been spending a lot more time reading. I also really enjoy photography.

Bill: And you Kataya?

Kataya: I like to volunteer around the community. I’m currently volunteering at the non-profit theater. But I’ve volunteered with multiple events around town in the past – including Comic-Con. But I also enjoy reading and listening to podcasts. When you can’t really go out and do anything around town it’s always nice to be able to escape into a good book.

Bill: Alright, last question. Is there anywhere you’ve really enjoyed traveling to or someplace you’d really like to visit?

Val: I’ve always wanted to visit Seattle. It just seems like a cool place to visit plus I’d enjoy the cooler weather there.

Kataya: I think my favorite place I’ve ever visited was the Virgin Islands. I loved the climate and culture and just how colorful it was there.

Bill: Perfect. Well, I hope this helps everyone get a little more information about our newest advisors. You’ll definitely be hearing more from them in the future.

As always, if you need help with anything you can reach out to us with your questions or even schedule a meeting.

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