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Meet Jackie Mazur of Guide My Finances in Carlsbad

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jackie Mazur.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I jumped into my career as a Financial Advisor right after graduation in 2003. At the time, I had no idea how different firms operated or what I wanted my business to look like. I quickly learned that not all firms were created equal.

I was disappointed to realize that the firm that hired and trained me lacked integrity and most importantly weren’t doing what was best for their clients. Disillusioned by my experience, I decided to take a leap of faith and start building my own practice as an independent advisor. I was 22 years old, with one year of industry experience. What I did to make up for that lack of experience was to make the commitment to myself to get the training and mentoring I needed to build a firm that put clients first.

While building my practice, I decided to go back to school to get my Master’s Degree in Finance and Tax Planning which led me to obtain my license as a Certified Financial Planner in 2008. After graduating, I began teaching Financial Planning as an Adjunct Professor at area colleges.

My experience teaching combined with my desire to do more for my clients were major factors in changing my practice from a traditional financial advisor who collected commissions, to a flat-rate financial planning service practice, Guides My Finances, that is flourishing today.

Jaclyn Mazur owns RUZAM, LLC d/b/a Guide My Finances a State of California Registered Investment Advisor.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There were two distinct challenges I faced throughout my career. The first was gender equality in the industry. Beginning my career as a 21-year-old woman looking to grow her own financial planning practice was a very long and windy road to the top.

In order to prove myself in an industry that even today is only made up approximately 15% women, I had to gain knowledge, confidence, and reputation. Even today, I face gender-based assumptions such as because I am a woman, I only work with women.

Instead of focusing on the negative, I consistently pushed myself to be the best in my field. If I didn’t know the answer, I researched it. If I was challenged, I used knowledge to prove myself. This perseverance has continued to push me ahead. I continue to gain knowledge to stay an expert at what I do.

The second challenge has been my choice to establish myself as a flat-fee financial planner. This simply means that my clients pay me directly for my planning services and receive unbiased advice in return. Traditional firms sell products that pay commissions and clients often don’t see the fees they are paying. It was important for me to be transparent with clients.

Rather than selling products with hidden fees, I charge an hourly or flat-rate for financial planning. If I continue to manage those assets, I charge a flat advisory rate that is visible to my clients. One of the biggest hurdles was showing clients that although they did not write a check, or see the fees from their current advisors coming from their accounts, they were, in fact, being charged.

Guide My Finances – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Guide My Finances is a full service, boutique financial planning firm. We specialize in working with clients that want unbiased financial advice. By offering hourly or flat-rate financial planning services, we are able to assist clients with identifying their financial goals and develop a strategy to reach them. When the planning is complete, clients have the opportunity to implement the plan on their own or engage us for ongoing support. We find this flexibility gives our clients the knowledge and confidence to move forward with their planning.

We work with individuals and couples that want to plan for their future. Whether it is saving for retirement, making the decision to retire, planning for college expenses, or reviewing investments, we offer sound advice.

More specifically, a few examples of clients we work with are:
1. Clients approaching retirement – making the decision to retire is a big one. We work with clients to determine the ideal time to retire, when to take social security benefits, how to manage their distributions in retirement, and how to manage their taxable income in retirement.

2. Clients with stock compensation – As an executive of a publicly traded company, individuals are often faced with the decision of when to sell their Restricted Stock, when to exercise their options, and how to manage their Employee Stock Purchase Plans. We develop comprehensive plans that include stock sell-off strategies designed to manage tax liability and diversify investments

3. Individuals going through a divorce – As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, I assist clients with the financial aspects of divorce. Many of my divorce clients have chosen mediation, but want to be sure they are coming to the table with a financial arrangement that makes sense. I work with them to develop an equitable division of assets.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I think the characteristic that defines both myself and my business is integrity. Guide My Finances was born out of my uneasiness with the lack of transparency within traditional financial firms. Not all are out of integrity, but this lack of visibility allows for bad players to exist.

As a representative of an underrepresented segment of financial planners, it’s doubly important that everything I do is completely above board. I think as a woman, I bring a unique perspective to financial planning that is sensitive to the needs of individual families, whether it’s creating a meaningful legacy or planning for an amicable divorce.

Pricing:

  • Hourly Consulting Available at $325/hour
  • Flat-Rate Financial Planning starting at $2,500 for initial engagement. Annual plan updates starting at $1,250 or $100 per month retainer – prices vary based on the complexity of planning needs.
  • Investment Mangement – .6%-1.35% – Ongoing financial planning fees are waived with investment management engagement. Fees vary based on account size and complexity of tax management.

Contact Info:

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