Winnie Sun is a different kind of financial adviser. While many of her industry colleagues would strive for the same goals she does in providing the best, most high-quality customer service, not as many would take that goal to the level of launching an in-house multimedia company designed to provide financial advice. But, Winnie did just that.
As the managing director and founding partner of Irvine, Calif.-based financial consulting firm Sun Group Wealth Partners, Winnie not only serves her corporate and individual clients, but she also serves as a thought leader in the financial realm. Through the firm’s multimedia company, Winnie works with her team to record daily video segments for YouTube that helps those of us a little less financially savvy to navigate the world of investing and our personal finances. This on-demand content (that also includes a podcast, heavy social media presence and increased emphasis on mobile-first) was created after many long discussions where the firm realized that the industry wasn’t adapting as fast as a customer’s needs. “We had a vision in mind to create a relevant, attractive and top-of-mind firm for the next generation,” Winnie says.
In addition to changing her firm’s approach, Winnie also pens financial advice for Forbes and Nerd Wallet (among many, many others) and appears frequently on CNBC and CBS, in addition to a handful of other top networks. Prior to Sun Group Wealth Partners, Winnie held positions at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, and before that she had a less traditional financial services career path, working as an entrepreneur as founder of CH Entertainment. The Los Angeles-based television audience production company had clients ranging from America’s Funniest Home Videos to Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.
Dubbed by the media as the “Wealth Whisperer” Winnie has received many accolades in her career, including OC Metro Magazine’s “40 Under 40” list and an invitation to Barron’s Winner’s Circle for Top Women Financial Planners. In episode 22 of I Want Her Job: The Podcast, Editor and Host Polina Selyutin speaks with Winnie about her anything-but-traditional career path, motivation, managing a business with three young kids (ages 2, 4 and 7), and the idea behind starting her “anti-brokerage” firm.
TOPICS DISCUSSED IN TODAY’S SHOW:
- Start It Up: Winnie started as a financial advisor in 2000, and her day-to-day work involves researching the day’s news and trends, consulting with clients and communicating financial products and opportunities. “Our job is to continue to be there as their partner,” Winnie says.
- Lights, Camera, Finance: Sun Group Wealth Partners manages money primarily for clients in the media, television and movie industries.
- After-Hours Hustle: While Winnie was running CH Entertainment, working to find audiences for a variety of clients like MTV, she noticed that she had free time open up in her schedule whenever television seasons would go on hiatus. Her parents felt like she should do more with her degree so she began to take UCLA’s certified financial planning course in the evenings. This led to Smith Barney recruiting her, and her eventual career path in the financial services industry.
- A Sweet Deal: When launching the firm with her co-founder, Brandon, Winnie says that they were looking to create “the anti-brokerage” – a complete different experience from what one would typically experience at a wealth finance firm. “Right now I am sitting in my office, and if you walked in, you would think you walked into an Apple store that got hit by a candy bar,” she says. “I’m not in a suit. I’m wearing my Hudson jeans. And I’m pretty much that way every day.”
- On Success: “I never believed that I couldn’t have it all,” Winnie says. “I’ve now gotten a little older, and realize you can’t have it all. I think that you define what your all is … In many ways I feel like I’m running three businesses (kids, family and work), I do feel like me, personally, I have my personal all.”
- Key Career Advice: Early on in Winnie’s career, one of her good friends told her, “You don’t have to be good at everything. You just need to know what your weaknesses are and fill them with people that are better than you at those segments.”
- On Motivation: “I want to make sure I can add the most value to the most people,” Winnie says. “… I do have all this knowledge, so I may as well share it!”
- Shouldering Responsibility: Winnie is passionate about educating others and supporting her team. “I have a responsibility to always grow our business in revenue and happiness,” she says.
- The Future of Finance: Winnie cares deeply about evolving the financial industry, as well as in making advice on financial investing accessible to the masses. While bad press and excessive regulations make her industry a challenge, she’s optimistic and tireless with her goals saying, “If I help the entire industry in my own way, then we all benefit.”
- Motivational Mamma: Winnie credits her mom with her work ethic, and she says her husband is the rock who allowed her to reach her full potential and professional success. Her husband even took the step of slowing down and switching his career track from the corporate IT world to consulting, so the two could parent in their own way.
- The Investing Advice Winnie Shares Most Often: Have perspective. Look at financial planning as planning first and as picking investments second. “Picking investments is not so difficult, but the planning aspect is key,” Winnie says. “So, if your plans are not strong, and you don’t know what your goals are going to be, then you’re going to have a tough time knowing and being comfortable knowing you’re going to reach your goal.”
- On Her Job: Winnie says that as a financial adviser, her job is to put together a plan and over-educate her clients. “We need to take away their [clients] financial stresses so they can just be brilliant,” she says. “ … If you’re going to work with me, then you are going to learn. You are going to be savvy. And you are going to be one powerful man or women [with your] money.”
- Put Perspective On: Don’t bury yourself in the details, Winnie advises.
- Social Media Advice: Winnie again found herself with some “down time” while pregnant, and filled it with growing a social media following. A self-admitted late adopter to social media, she’s quickly caught up and is referred to as a “financial Twitter ninja.” Her key advice for those looking to make a social media mark? Pick the platform. Choose the one you like interacting with best, and Winnie advises, post consistently remembering that the most important thing you can do is give. She believes that what you give you will receive.
- Reading 24/7: Winnie says one of her favorite ways to stay on top of breaking news, like the Brexit, is via social media and has been known to stay up all night reading. She also can’t get enough of Gary Vee’s writing, including #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take On Leadership, Social Media and Self-Awareness. Also on her bookshelf are The Sell: The Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone by Fredrick Eklund and anything on social media by Guy Kawasaki.
- Begin Again: If given the chance to start her career all over again, Winnie says she would ask people who knew her and her work what her strengths were.
- Parting Advice: Your education is what you make of it, Winnie says, and what you truly learn in life is through experiences.
- Connect: Follow Winnie on Twitter @SunGroupWP and get to know her more at winniesun.com.