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The Birmingham Business Journal released its 2016 Rising Stars of Money highlighting up-and-coming leaders in the financial world. Bridgeworth’s Senior Planning Coordinator David Ward, CFP® was included in the listing.  According to the Birmingham Business Journal, Birmingham’s banking and financial sector is a key cog in the metro area’s economy “providing critical financing to businesses, keeping the residential homebuilding marketing moving and helping individuals, families, and businesses secure their financial futures.” All honorees are under 30 and were nominated by colleagues and clients for their contributions to their company and their potential to be a future leader in the industry.

As part of the profile in the BBJ, David was asked several questions about his industry and profession. Below are excerpts from that interview:

What is the biggest challenge facing your industry in the long-term?

I think the biggest challenge for financial planners in the future is how we make the transition to a true profession. Decades ago what we did was essentially product sales. With more standardization in education at the college level and a strong primary certification (the CFP designation) we are moving toward being a true “profession” similar to attorneys or accountants. I think the more we see legislation that standardizes our industry, the better it will be. The challenge for us will be, can we adapt to new legislation and increasing standards or will we let it cripple us.

What is the biggest opportunity facing your industry in the long-term?

Technology is by far the biggest opportunity we have in our industry. So much is becoming automated and I think that can sometimes cause planners to fear they will be irrelevant. In reality, technology makes it easier to do our jobs well and provide more meaningful guidance for clients. Those who adapt will reap the biggest rewards.

What is your career highlight so far?

The highlight of my career so far has been running the financial planning department at Bridgeworth. I have been able to get an incredible amount of technical experience in a short period of time. It’s been very fulfilling to do high level planning for so many families and to be able to shape how we do planning as a firm.

What is your ultimate career goal?

My ultimate career goal is to be a financial advisor who does comprehensive financial planning for each of my clients. I would love to develop a specialty around charitable giving and helping people be generous with their money. My dad has built his practice in a similar way and it has been rewarding to hear how his clients appreciate the perspective he has on money.

What is your dream job?

I love taking people on adventures. The act of planning and leading trips is the outdoors with friends has always been something that I enjoy. I think that is why I enjoy financial planning so much. We set goals together and then I get help lead the client in that “adventure.” So I would probably say a trip guide of some sort would be my dream job.

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Bridgeworth is now a part of Savant Wealth Management as of 11/30/2023. Savant Wealth Management (“Savant”) is an SEC registered investment adviser headquartered in Rockford, Illinois.