Andi Wrenn, AFC® is a financial counselor who is passionate about helping people make great financial decisions. She is equally as passionate about helping other financial professionals make connections and build a rewarding career. As an early recipient of the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship, Andi’s supportive presence has been a constant. She enjoys mentoring other Fellows going through the program – helping them earn their hours, offering them encouragement along the way, and supporting them in finding rewarding careers – both during the Fellowship and after they have earned the AFC® certification.
AFCPE: What inspired you to enter this field?
Andi: I started working with families to pay down debt, just as I had done myself more than 25 years ago. I saved as much money as I could and then paid cash for my house with the money I saved. When I talked with people about paying cash for a large purchase like that, it always led to a great conversation starter related to money. I enjoyed helping people become debt free and so pursued the AFC® certification.
AFCPE: You were an early recipient of the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship and actively involved in the Military Spouse Fellowship community. How have the opportunities from the Fellowship helped to shape your career?
Andi: Being a second year recipient of the Fellowship has allowed me to meet so many people along my path. When I attended my first webinar for the program, people were introducing themselves and sharing where they lived. I noticed that many lived in the DC area as I did. I asked participants if they could share their contact information. Once we connected with each other the momentum for great connectiveness and support began. I started by meeting a few people for dinner one night back in 2007. It was great to have a group of like-minded people who could connect, support, and share with each other.
I started the Military Spouse Financial Counselors Facebook group in 2008, and we now spread to all areas of the globe. Because of my networking in the beginning, I was hired to develop the internship program for military spouses. Along with two other FINRA Fellow teammates, we had a vision of what would help military spouses and were able to support many people over the years. To this day, I still enjoy working with FINRA Foundation to support the fellowship recipients.
When I left that role, I became a Network Manager for my current employer. It was a role that was created for me. I love helping Service members and their families be financially successful. I love helping the people who work with those Service members to know all they can to help them become successful. It is a joy to have a position created for what you love to do. Hire, educate, and encourage financial professionals to help as many people as possible in all areas of personal finance.
AFCPE: This is your first year serving on the AFCPE Board of Directors. What are you looking forward to the most in this leadership role?
Andi: I am looking forward to bringing the knowledge and perspective I have from my work with Service members and my life in a military family to my role on the board. I want to help make AFC® a household word. We need to build more awareness about the AFC®, and the other programs that AFCPE® has, that can benefit not only our military population, but society as a whole. I would like to see our membership grow, and build connections with other professions so that we can work together to make our society stronger when it comes to personal finance. We should be partnering with attorneys, counselors, planners, CPAs, mediators, and so many more professionals. Together, we can make our communities stronger and wiser.
AFCPE: Do you have any advice for professionals who want to become more involved in the AFCPE community?
Andi: Volunteer! It is rewarding in so many ways. You learn something by participating. You are connected with other financial professionals whom you may not normally meet, which broadens your knowledge and awareness. You gain new skills for your toolbox and resume. And it betters our AFCPE® community by having more individuals from all backgrounds come together to serve and participate.
AFCPE: What’s next for you? What has you most excited?
Andi: Wow, what is next for me? That is a tough question. I love what I do and am looking forward to growing the network of financial professionals that I manage. Not only growing in number, but helping them to better understand the specific financial hurdles that Service members and their families encounter. I thoroughly enjoy helping to train the trainers. So, I look forward to developing classes for our financial professionals that make them even better at their jobs.
Andi answers the Friday 5:
- My Why: I love helping people set and reach financial goals that align with their values!
- My Favorite Quote: They don’t know what they don’t know! This is my own saying that I remind financial professionals I work with and mentor. You never know what someone doesn’t know until you start talking to them about money.
- My Hero: My hero is the client who makes a change that scares them. That change is something that they know will help them reach their financial goal, but they have had a hard time letting go of, because they have been doing it for so long even though it isn’t helping them financially.
- My Favorite Personal Finance Resource: There are so many great resources available – it is hard to choose! I love to use the IRS Withholding Calculator with clients. Helping them set up their withholding so that they have a bigger paycheck each month instead of getting back a large tax refund is so satisfying.
- My Best Advice:
- For someone starting the journey to financial well-being: Remember, most people don’t get into a financial situation overnight. You are not going to be able to pay down debt overnight, or become a millionaire overnight. Take your time and you will reach the financial goals that you set.
- For a new professional entering the field: Make good connections with other financial professionals. Listen and learn all you can. Volunteering lends itself to some great opportunities.