Alison Gilman Aquino, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Sussex, Wis., discusses her nine years in the securities business.

People would say to me early on in the business, why in the world would you leave a job in television news to do this?

After I graduated from college, I spent the first 21 years of my professional life in the broadcast industry. I worked as a news anchor in markets in Des Moines, Indianapolis, Boston and Milwaukee. It was a fun career. I met really interesting people and lived in wonderful cities. But now that I'm an advisor, some of the most gratifying moments of my career are when I'm working with clients who've been with me since early on.

I started in 2006, and when the recession hit there were a lot of families that had just started working with me. Then we saw the worst month of downturns since the depression and a lot of folks were really scared. But they were able to hold on and continue to fund their IRAs every month. They funded college savings accounts for their children and grandchildren. 

People who work in TV news or journalism in general get assigned to stories they may not know anything about initially. When you're on deadline, you almost have to become an instant expert, and to absorb a lot of information and retell it to people in an easily understandable way. That was very helpful to me when it came to learning what to do as a financial advisor. I think it's why I get all jazzed up when it comes to working with clients, helping people with their goals and speaking with them in language they understand. It's about getting clients involved with investing rather than being scared by it.

I was raised by a single mother in Manhattan, Kans. She was the 13th or 14th female advisor hired at Edward Jones in the late '80s. I watched her go from being someone who struggled to raise a family by herself to someone who could pay for the college education of three kids because of her job as a financial advisor. So for me, being an advisor was always going to be the after-TV job. It was always a matter of when I would decide to make the jump.

We're actually an Edward Jones family now. My brother and sister-in-law are advisors with the firm in Indiana. My older sister is an advisor in Texas. My husband is also with the company. And now, some of the people I started working with during the recession are sending their kids to college. It's really gratifying to hear clients say, "Thank you for helping us hang in there."

As told to Maddy Perkins.


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