My Life as a Client: A Patchwork of Advisors

A lot can be learned listening to clients’ experiences working with financial advisors—good and bad. We talked to Janine Firpo, a retired international development executive in Oakland, Calif.

About 15 years ago, I decided I should be smarter about my money. I needed someone with that kind of experience who could work with me to make intelligent financial decisions. So, I started down the path of looking for financial advisors. I talked to people I knew, did some web research, came up with a short list of advisors and interviewed them. I found that they basically all told me the same thing—they didn’t do a very good job of differentiating themselves.

About the same time, I decided I wanted to invest my money in impactful ways. I had already moved out of my first career in tech to work in an area more in tune with my values. But that kind of investing was available only to extremely high-net-worth individuals.