For this month’s “Meet the Team” blog, we chatted with our Associate Advisor, Justin Seidenwand. The boxing fan and foodie is an integral part of the Fullen Financial client support group and works hard to make sure our client support is second to none.
To start, where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and moved to Medina, Ohio around the time I was starting high school. I moved to Columbus in 2016 to attend The Ohio State University, and I currently live in the north end of Columbus with Brooke, my girlfriend, and Beardie, our cat.
As an associate advisor you work with senior advisors and clients every day, offering guidance, implementing recommendations and strategies, all helping clients to achieve their goals. How did you get your start in this role and can you tell us your favorite part about it?
After high school I followed my passion into culinary school and then the Army and found that, while both pursuits were enriching, neither one provided the long-term direction I was looking for. Eventually, I found my way to The Ohio State University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Consumer and Family Financial Services with a focus on Personal Financial planning. I’ve always had an interest in being able to help people, so getting to work with clients and their families and help them plan for and achieve their goals is a rewarding experience. It feels good to know that I’m able to help give clients that piece of mind with the work that we do.
Every day is different, but can you describe a typical day?
Daily I have emails and phone calls coming in. These usually need to be addressed quickly as they often represent more urgent situations.
As a company, we meet with clients almost daily. For a group of these clients I am the associate advisor and so I participate in these meetings. I spend a major part of almost every day preparing for meetings or writing up the summary notes of those meeting. Documentation is an important part of what we do so that our client experience can seamlessly go forward (meaning our clients don’t start out every discussion repeating their situations, we know them very well.)
Regardless of what my day has been like, I always try to spend some time learning something I did not know before that can help our clients.
Do you have any success stories or “a-ha” moments that have stood out when working on a certain project or with a particular client?
While not specific to a certain client, one analysis we often do is an investment-cost analysis for clients that have assets we do not directly manage, such as in their employer-sponsored retirement plan like a 401(k) or 403(b), etc. We oftentimes are able to identify expenses and fees associated with investments in the client’s account that when reallocated into other similar investments with lower expenses, lead to significant savings over the long-term. This is one task we do with some frequency, and it is astounding how these savings can lead to significantly higher ending balances for the client, with just some relatively simple changes.
Is there anything in particular that you do to say focused and motivated while working remotely? What do you like to do to “unwind” after a long day at work?
One thing I do sometimes to help break up the day and clear my head a bit when working from home is go for a light jog around lunch time. Getting out of the house and the blood flowing helps to reset and rejuvenate a bit after spending a lot of time looking at a screen.
Outside of work, I like to spend time with family and being outdoors, I also listen to a lot of podcasts on current events, sports, comedy, etc., and do the occasional TV show binge on one of the streaming apps. I’m an avid pro-boxing fan, so I keep my eyes open for the weekend match-ups that are worth tuning into. I’m also becoming something of a birdwatcher, I’ve set-up a few feeders (and one specifically for squirrels) in my yard, and I’ve seen some interesting and peculiar-looking birds.
If you were an Olympic athlete, which sport would you most want to compete in?
As much as I enjoy the sport of boxing, I can’t imagine competing and training at the highest levels for years on end and the punishment on your body that entails. I imagine I would enjoy and probably fare better in a sport like tennis, that requires that extreme athleticism but isn’t really a contact sport.
You mentioned earlier that you have a cat. Why did you decide to have a cat?
I have always been a cat person and have naturally been very empathetic to animals. My mother got our two cats from an animal rescue when I was a little boy, and the thought that there are so many helpless animals out there who would make great pets, that has always stuck with me. I also keep a bag of cat treats in my car in case I spot a feral/stray cat somewhere that looks like it needs a little spoiling via a few treats tossed out of my window.
If you could instantly become an expert in something, what would it be?
I would love to be an expert in American Sign Language (ASL). My cousin and his wife are in the process of adopting a young boy who is neurodivergent and hard of hearing, and I’ve started to understand more of the difficulty associated with not being able to hear properly when interacting with the world around you. It would be great to be able to ease that burden if I (and more Americans in general) knew how to communicate using sign language.
What are you most looking forward to in 2022?
In 2022, I’m most looking forward to passing the Certified Financial Planner™ examination which I am currently studying and preparing for. This is something I’ve been working towards for a while, and earning this designation means a lot to me.