Financial Advisor Joey Small on What Young Investors Need for Long Term

Joey Small is the president of Small & Associates Financial of Little Rock, an Ameriprise Private Wealth Advisory Practice.

In addition to his recognition by Barron’s as a top financial adviser on the national level, Barron’s ranked  Small No. 1 in Arkansas in 2011-2013. He was chosen based on assets under management, revenue produced for the firm, client satisfaction and his regulatory and compliance record. He has served on the Ameriprise Chairman’s Advisory Council since 2006 and has been designated a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor by the College for Financial Planning.

Small received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in finance from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1993.

Q: How did you become interested in wealth management as a career?

A: After obtaining a finance degree from UALR in 1993, I worked in management for a trucking company for several years, but I knew that career path was not my passion. A series of events occurred that gave me the opportunity to make a career change and use my finance degree. Finance was an area in college that I really excelled in and enjoyed. Having the opportunity to help clients understand their financial picture and identify strategies to achieve their dreams is where my passion really shines.

What are some of the common questions your clients are posing these days?

Clients have questions about market volatility, the national debt and how current events will affect them. Clients also ask us questions regarding their retirement plan such as “Will my money last throughout my lifetime?” and “Will I have enough to live the life I want?” We help our clients prepare for the certainty of uncertainty.

What are the biggest issues facing your profession?

One obstacle that we have noticed is the barriers to entry have become much more difficult due to the ever-changing regulatory environment. Another challenge is helping clients navigate the constantly changing financial landscape by following their long-term plan rather than reacting with short-term emotions.

You made Barron’s list as one of America’s top 1,000 financial advisers 2009-13. How did that come about?

We started 15 years ago by building client relationships built on trust, integrity, exceptional client service and solid financial planning. In return, our clients have referred friends, family and co-workers, which led to the growth of our practice.

If you were to cherry-pick advice for a young couple, planning for the needs of children and retirement, what would that be?

Start saving early. Take full advantage of retirement plans offered through your employer, starting out with the employer match and increasing by 1 percent each year. Consider setting up a systematic savings plan to pay for education using a 529 plan or Uniform Transfer to Minors Act account.

What’s the most significant thing you’ve learned about wealth management during your career?

Wealth is not achieved overnight. Investors have to be patient and willing to weather the emotional ups and downs of the markets through good and bad times. Those who develop and follow a financial plan will be rewarded over the long term.

What was your best decision? Worst?

My best decision was becoming a part of American Express Financial Advisors, which is now Ameriprise Financial. Choosing a profession that allows me to work so closely with my clients, and make a positive impact in their financial lives, is incredibly gratifying.

My worst decision would have to be not hiring more staff sooner. A knowledgeable staff allows me to have time to really focus on developing my business and more time for family. Our team of professionals has improved our clients’ experience.