Trevor Sharp, CFP®, ChFC®, AFC®, is a financial planner for DMBA, an employer sponsored financial planning firm.  Their firm helps employees with everything from basic money management to comprehensive financial planning.

AFCPE: What inspired or led you to pursue a career in this field?

Trevor: When I was a freshman in college, I thought I wanted to be a doctor.  It took me one day shadowing a physician assistant and I realized that the blood and needles weren’t for me.  I love the idea of helping people and stumbled into the financial planning program at Utah Valley University (UVU). Money is connected to almost everything else we think or do in life.  The idea of helping somebody at such a foundational level is very rewarding.

AFCPE: What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had in your career thus far? 

Trevor: A couple came in who should have been talking about retirement but sadly the conversation was more about reducing debt and coming up with a feasible and manageable budget.  I left the first appointment worn out and a little discouraged.  I’ve now met with them several times.  They are implementing a new budgeting system and are actually excited about talking about money for the first time in their lives!  It’s so much fun to watch them learn and grow.

AFCPE: What is one myth or misconception about your job?

Trevor: I think some people think that they aren’t smart enough or don’t have enough money to work with a financial planner.  Although there are some business models that would lend people to believe the second notion, overall, they both are false.  EVERYBODY should have a financial professional in their life that is helping give a financial framework to a purpose filled life.

AFCPE: What is something you wouldn’t have known when you started your career that you know now?

Trevor: I didn’t realize how much people struggle with basic cash flow (me included).  It sounds so simple, but so many people have a hard time balancing a budget.  They find themselves saying things like “if only I had more money”, when in reality they could be more intentional with what they have.

AFCPE: Why did you decide to pursue your AFC®?

Trevor: Coming out of school I was eligible to sit for the CFP® exam.  It was the focus for my undergraduate program and I was grateful to pass the test and earn the mark (after a little more experience).  It left me feeling accomplished but I felt there was a gap in my education and what I really wanted to help people do (more of the financial coaching skill set).  It wasn’t until we had an intern come in that had the AFC designation that I realized how to fill this void.  The AFC is focused on meeting people where they are at financially and helping them down in the trenches.  It filled in a lot of gaps that I feel the CFP certification left.

AFCPE: What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned or gained through the AFC program?

Trevor: I think the most powerful thing that I’ve learned from going through the AFC program is that there are other people who think and feel the same as I do!  It is so much fun for me to talk and discuss real money issues with people who really want to make a difference in the world.

AFCPE: What would you say to another young professional thinking of pursuing this certification?

Trevor: It’s well worth it.  It is the gold standard for those who are focusing on financial [counseling and] coaching.

AFCPE: What is your hope for the future?

Trevor: I’m hoping that with the help of sound research and innovative technology, basic money management principles will be more fully taught, understood, and implemented in all households.  This will strengthen the family unit.  Do that enough times and literally, we can change the world!

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