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Working for Gen Y

Young adults need education to alleviate the stress that surrounds money, planner Mary Beth Storjohann says.

Kate Stalter, 12/13/2013

With the launch in August of her San Diego-based financial planning firm, Workable Wealth, Mary Beth Storjohann is on a mission to educate her Generation Y peers about personal finance.

Within Generation Y, the cohort born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, Storjohann has narrowed her target to young married couples, military families, and entrepreneurial women. She says that all these categories apply to her: Not only is she running her own business, but she married U.S. Naval officer Brian Storjohann two years ago.

Tackling Financial Stress
Workable Wealth’s aim is to help Gen Y-ers let go of money stress, Storjohann says, while getting a handle on their financial situations. Social media and community involvement are key components of her marketing strategy.

Growing up in an Italian-American family outside Los Angeles, Storjohann recalls that money was always a hot topic in the household. Her father worked two or three jobs at a time to support the family, but there was always underlying stress. Part of her objective today is to help others avoid those anxieties.

She attended San Diego State University, taking various jobs to help pay for her schooling. She landed a receptionist job at a boutique wealth advisory and became hooked on the financial industry. Within months, she changed her major to financial services and began taking courses toward her Certified Financial Planner certification. After graduation, she joined Smith Barney, and then moved to Morgan Stanley before the two firms merged. She participated in the Morgan Stanley training program, but became disenchanted because, at age 21, she already had more industry experience than most of her colleagues. From there, she joined Pasadena, Calif.-based Osher Van de Voorde Investment Management, which had four employees at the time, as associate portfolio manager.

“Being in a firm that small, I was able to really hone my skills,” she says. “You wear a lot of hats. I got to experience compliance; I did a website refresh, worked with clients face to face. I did research, writing, a ton of stuff. It was like a small family, and I really blossomed while I was there.”

At Osher Van de Voorde, she also started a financial blog for women in their 20s.

“I’ve always been passionate about helping Gen Y, helping my peers,” she said. “But early on, others in the advisory community were telling me, ‘Gen Y doesn’t have any money, you can’t make any money that way, they don’t care about retirement planning, you need to go after high-net-worth clients.’ I was pushed back time after time, but I got followers on my blog, and there was something that kept drawing me back.”

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