Professional contentment never eluded Susan Bradley.
“I was very happy being a financial planner,” says Bradley, a CFP, who owned an advisory business for decades before she founded Sudden Money Institute in 2013, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., which trains and certifies advisers to help clients with transitions.
She is among a growing number of advisory firm owners who have hatched, in part based on what they have learned from their practice, new enterprises.
In Bradley’s version of such a story, the new company has meant exiting from the advisory business. But others simply wear two hats and lead two businesses, at least for the initial start-up period of the second business.
“I had no intention of having a second career,” Bradley says.
But nearly 20 years ago, she had a good idea for a book based on her experience working with clients and seeing a pattern of challenges for those who come into unanticipated wealth. In 2000, she published Sudden Money: Managing a Financial Windfall (Wiley), which led to other advisers seeking her help, in turn giving birth to her consulting business.
By 2013, the demands of that business, which provided services to a wide-range of clients including Bank of Montreal, Harris Private Bank and the National Football League (NFL), prompted Bradley to sell her advisory business.
“I thought I could do both, but I couldn’t and do right by clients,” she says.
Sheryl Rowling, however, has worn two hats.
The principal of Rowling & Associates in San Diego, learned almost a decade ago that another larger company was acquiring the producer on which she had relied for portfolio-rebalancing software.
Rowling worried that the software’s quality might decline.
Her solution: develop her own portfolio-rebalancing software and make money while doing so.
Rowling launched Total Rebalance Expert (TRX), which markets annual software licenses.
“Conceptually, it sounded easy to start up a software company, to create the program, market it and maintain the business,” says Rowling, who admits to being naïve.
“In reality, it was truly working two full-time jobs,” she says. “That was hard on me physically, mentally and emotionally.”
Last November, Morningstar acquired TRX with a commitment to keeping the software’s architecture open and possibly expanding its integration potential.
Rowling now spends one-third of her time as the head of rebalancing solutions for Morningstar.
Under the terms of Morningstar’s acquisition, she works on the strategies behind the functionality, while others supervise programming, marketing and administration.
Now Rowling’s goal is “to learn how to live a normal lifestyle.”
This story is part of a 30-30 series on transitions.
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