When Dani Mutz started out in her career, she never envisioned herself becoming a financial advisor.
“I started out in the mortgage lending industry in 2000 and was struggling living in a small town to make ends meet,” she says. “I happened to have a friend who worked for one of the wirehouses that had an office branch in our town and was looking for a front-office employee. Back then, people had to call us during the day to find out how the markets were doing. My duty was to answer the phones, know how to direct calls to the right advisor, and provide quotes for stocks and the indices.
Two decades later, Mutz is running the business of her dreams, overseeing a team of 7 independent advisors and 2 staff members, with $120 AUM. Her specialty? It’s being able to help anyone who needs support planning for their future. She and her business partner, Steve Iversen, require a “minimum attitude” from their clients to become self-sufficient and build generational wealth.
So how did she rise to a position of leadership as a role model in the financial planning profession? The short answer: mentorship, support, a focus on doing good, and a desire to keep evolving. Here’s a deeper look into her leadership story.
1. What was the true moment of change in your career trajectory?
It was when I moved to a new town, changed jobs, and started working for an advisor with an independent broker dealer. This person is actually Steve Iversen, who eventually became my business partner.
I was very comfortable in my role as an assistant, office manager, and registered sales agent. I understood the functionality of the branch and how to run the operations — but didn’t see myself as an advisor initially.
Eventually, Steve started thinking about succession planning for his practice and started hiring for someone to take over. After working for him for 10 years and working with a few potential succession plan advisors, none of them worked out.
Little did I realize that Steve had already begun mentoring and training me. After it was decided that I would take over the practice, we formed Cross State Financial together as co-owners…which brings me to where we are today.
2. What is something that you’ve valued most about your transition into becoming an advisor?
It’s about helping people. I’m a firm believer that if you do good, there will be good that comes back to you.
Something that makes Cross State different as a firm is that we don’t require a minimum financial commitment from investors. What we do ask for; however, is a minimum attitude. We are willing to help people to plan for future generations of their families, to be financially independent and self-sufficient. It sounds cliche. But I really do care about every client that we work with. Our entire team of advisors has this exact same mentality.
Steve has this exact same mindset that the people we work with need to be nice people. That includes our clients and our team. When Steve was a kid, you had to buy stock through brokers. When Steve was younger, they wouldn’t give him the time of day. So he always embraced the attitude of helping people who needed him.
3. What words of wisdom do you recommend for people in your shoes, who are aspiring to level up in leadership as financial advisors?
This is really a relationship business. It’s not just knowing which type of retirement account to use or what type of investment to select. It’s about reminding clients why we are making the decisions that we are — to benefit your children, grandchildren, and the charities you want to support during and beyond your lifetime. The truly successful people in our industry support this mentality.
4. What’s next for you in your career?
I would say that if there’s anything that Steve, my business partner, and I have learned over our years in the industry is that it takes people like us who are out in the field, working with the true end client, to provide feedback to the boards of directors and firms with which we are associated. It’s up to us to make sure that those with the most power and influence are truly making decisions that benefit the end client because ultimately, that’s who regulators are trying to protect.
One of my goals is to become more of an outspoken, visible advocate and leader in the field — to do my part in ensuring that we can build a better future for our industry, overall.
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This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal, or tax advice.