Shannon is the Chief Executive Officer of Beacon Pointe Advisors, the largest female-led Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm in the country serving private clients, foundations, and retirement plans.
Here is what Shannon had to say when we asked her about making sense of your finances and future:
GenHERation®: Can you explain what Beacon Pointe does?
Shannon Eusey: We’re an RIA, so often people will come to us with their money and say, “I want to send my kids to college” or, “I want to retire by 60,” but they need help doing that. Our job is to help our clients use their money to achieve their goals. Maybe it is investing in stocks, bonds, and/or private equity. We develop a portfolio that meets the unique objectives of the client. Every client is different, so my team does research to develop the best-aligned investment strategies and financial plans according to their specific situation.
GenHERation®: What is the most important skill you utilize as a CEO?
Eusey: I would say there are two skills that are most important for me. One, is delegation. It’s all about hiring the right people and letting them do their jobs. I can’t micromanage. I need to know what they’re doing, but I have to let them do their jobs. It is all about growing and learning who the right people are for the team. The second skill is decisiveness. When growing an organization, it is important to be able to make effective decisions.
GenHERation®: Beacon Pointe is the largest female-led Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm in the country. What are three steps students can take to develop their financial literacy and build their wealth?
Eusey: I would say a great start would be taking Beacon Pointe’s educational series ‘Foundations of Finance,’ which is free to the public and offered every summer. It’s a fantastic series that covers everything from financial planning topics, investing, and what the role of a wealth advisor is all about. The second thing I would recommend is to seek more experience or advice on investments. Most people receive little to no financial education in high school or college, which is shocking because one of the most important financial tools we can use to our advantage is time and compounding interest. The earlier you start saving and putting your money to work, the better off you will be in the long run. If you have five dollars to save, start saving. If you can skip that latte at Starbucks or skip buying those shoes online, do it. If you save a little every day, you could have $150,000 saved over the next 15 years. If you work over the summer, put that money into an IRA (retirement) account, which is a nontaxable investment. As a college student, be strategic about building your credit, don’t just build debt. Really think about how you can put as much money away as possible early on. You don’t want to suffer, but be mindful of the spending habits you have. For your birthday each year, maybe ask family and friends for a stock or an investment account rather than material gifts. Lastly, I would say have a plan. What do you want? What are your long-term financial goals? If you have a goal of buying a house in 15 years, what sacrifices will you need to make now in order to make that happen? Be willing to give up something to achieve your long-term financial goals. All of these and more financial tips can be found in our super easy to read book, Your Dollars, Our Sense: A Fun & Simple Guide to Money Matters–it’s the book I wish I had when I was young and ready to jump-start my financial future.
GenHERation®: What is the most important soft skill and hard skill needed to succeed in the finance industry?
Eusey: It depends on the position. If you want to work in sales, you want to focus more on developing those soft skills for sure. Different hard skills are going to be needed for different industries. For soft skills, I ask every person I interview, “What is your favorite book?” I want to see if that candidate is intellectually curious. Asking them about what they are reading gives insight about what is going on in their head. I also ask them what their first job was. Was it a lemonade stand on their street? Were you the number one Girl Scout? What does your entrepreneurial brain look like? I am looking for people who are constantly trying to grow and change. The company as a whole is always asking how we can get better. If you’re not entrepreneurial, you’re not going to help us grow.
GenHERation®: How do you create high-performing teams?
Eusey: I think at Beacon Pointe we have been very fortunate. It starts with hiring the right people for the right role. This has happened by accident, but we often hire individuals who used to be college athletes because they are driven self-starters and know how to collaborate on a team. They generally work well with others and will come together to achieve a common goal. We work to help people achieve their long-term financial dreams and we do our best to serve our clients. Trust and delegation are huge. Delegating tasks and then trusting your team to get it done is key.
GenHERation®: What is the best way to get to “yes” in a negotiation?
Eusey: My favorite book is called Getting to Yes. It is just phenomenal. I love to negotiate, which may be good and bad. Getting to Yes is a short, super easy read. The lessons you learn in this book are lessons that I didn’t learn until my mid-20s. The best thing you can do during a negotiation is understand the other perspective. What is important to me may not be important to you [the negotiator]. The alternative is where you need to start. What is the best solution? What am I willing to accept if I don’t get what I need negotiated?
GenHERation®: How do you motivate individuals so they can achieve their highest potential and add value to your organization?
Eusey: I think having empathy and understanding what is most important to each individual is a good place to start. Understand your people, so they can be their best.
GenHERation®: What legacy would you like to leave at Beacon Pointe?
Eusey: That’s a tough question. I would want my firm to have done a good job educating and empowering people about finances. It feels good to educate the widow with three kids about how to gain financial freedom or help a woman who just finalized her divorce figure out how to pay for her child’s college. I just want to help people achieve what they want. They worked hard. I’m passionate about women and finances, specifically. Historically, women do not have as much money as men, but generational wealth transfers can and is changing this. Women need to be smart about their finances, especially if they are going to make head-of-house, non-financial decisions. Unfortunately, there is still a traditional division of labor. We’re starting to see this evolve, but it really is critical for both spouses to be involved in financial decision making. When both are involved, it turns out better for all parties. The more we all collectively understand, the better we will do.
GenHERation®: How do you find balance between your personal and professional life?
Eusey: I am very fortunate because my husband is a stay-at-home dad. I never miss things for my kids–I’ve intentionally built my career this way. I would say to anyone looking to have a good balance between their personal life and work that you make sure you are deliberate about what you want. Make a plan. Find a company that has a culture of family first and flexibility for your career and your life to foster a symbiotic relationship. Or, if a priority of yours is to raise your kids and have a family, be home with those kids. Make it a part of your plan and negotiate what is important to you. It’s not all about money. It’s about balance and integration. Find out what is important to you and ask for it.
GenHERation®: Where can you find mentors?
Eusey: I was fortunate to join the Young Presidents’ Organization, which had business leaders create a forum of experts. When I would run into a core issue the forum was a great sounding board. Along the way, I looked for people I aspired to be. I looked for advice and connections. If you do not have a LinkedIn, set it up and start adding connections that you think would be someone you can learn from. If you want to connect with me or anyone else you think could be a great mentor, email or message me on LinkedIn. If you want to email me in five years, reach out and say, “Five years ago I heard you speak and I am interested in learning about this firm. Could we connect?” My biggest piece of advice is to connect with people and to remember that mentorship relationships are a two-way street–you’ll get out of the relationship as much as you put into it.
GenHERation®: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Eusey: The best piece of advice I have been given is that you should know and believe in your heart that you can do anything. Know you can achieve whatever you want to achieve. Don’t let people tell you no, and if they do, work to prove them wrong. I wrote my business plan for Beacon Pointe in graduate school, and I got a B on the assignment. In grad school, a B is basically a D. I was told my business plan was bad and my professor didn’t understand it. He thought it wasn’t going to work. Don’t take no for an answer. Try a new path if something doesn’t work out at first. Ask somebody for advice and find a mentor who you aspire to be.
Shannon is the Chief Executive Officer of Beacon Pointe Advisors, the largest female-led Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm in the country serving private clients, foundations, and retirement plans. Prior to launching Beacon Pointe, Shannon served as Senior Managing Director and Portfolio Manager at Roxbury Capital Management and oversaw the socially responsible investment (SRI) platform for several years. Shannon is a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council and is regularly featured in The Wall Street Journal, InvestmentNews, Barron’s, Forbes, Financial Planning Magazine, among other publications. In 2018 she was presented with the UC Irvine Lauds & Laurels Award, and in 2017 the Orange County Business Journal Women in Business Award. Through Shannon’s passion for financial education, she is a founding member of the Beacon Pointe Women’s Advisory Institute and co-authored Your Dollars, Our Sense: A Fun and Simple Guide to Money Matters, an international best-selling book that has ranked #1 in six different business and finance categories. Shannon graduated from the University of California, Irvine where she played Division I Volleyball and she received her MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles Anderson School of Business. Shannon is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) for the Orange County Chapter, and serves or has served on numerous boards, including the Pacific Mercantile Board of Directors, the UCI Athletic Fund Board, the Charles Schwab Advisor Council, the TD Ameritrade Advisory Council, as well as Scratchworks, a FinTech accelerator that connects innovative tech companies with investment and wealth management luminaries to advance the digital transformation of the financial services industry. As a dedicated philanthropist, she has also served on the Children’s Hospital of Orange County Professional Advisory Committee, the Investment Committee of Sisters of St. Joseph in Orange, and served as the Executive Director of the HALO Foundation. Shannon is married, has four children, and lives with her husband in Newport Beach, California.