Why I Became a Financial Advisor

Sometimes life takes us down a different path than the one we originally started on. We may start in one career, but then our experiences show us other areas we want to pursue, or we develop additional skills and passions that open the door to new opportunities. That’s exactly how I found my way into a career as a financial advisor. 

I was born into a single-parent home and money was always tight growing up. Because of this, I learned how to budget and make a dollar last at a young age. This experience planted the seed of my interest in investing and financial planning, but it didn’t grow until my early 20s. It was during this time, due to my experiences in the Marine Corps and then the automotive industry, that I realized the value of having a trusted financial advisor who could guide me through the complexities of investing, retirement planning, and the unique needs of military veterans. This prompted me to begin my journey on a new career path as a financial advisor. 

First Career Steps

After leaving the U.S. Marine Corps in 2003, I found employment in the automotive industry as a mechanic and shop foreman. It was at this stage in my life that I became seriously interested in financial planning. Upon starting my first full-time job after the military, I had the opportunity to enroll in my employer’s 401(k) plan. Not finding the answers or help I needed to understand my options clearly, I began reading and researching everything I could find related to investing and saving for retirement. When the housing crisis and recession hit in 2008, I made the decision to change careers and began my education to prepare for that transition. 

While earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Central Florida, I became a financial advisor in 2011, working as a Registered Representative for International Money Management Group, Inc. While building a foundation in the financial industry, I realized there was more I could do to serve the financial planning needs of my clients. I then earned a graduate degree in personal financial planning from Kansas State University. This coursework expanded my knowledge, allowing me to further help clients and their families with investing, insurance, retirement, tax, and estate planning. I eventually earned my CFP® certification in addition to the Series 7,27, 24, and 66 licenses to provide even more support and expertise in helping my clients with their financial planning needs. 

Branching Out

After working in the financial industry for seven years, I realized there was a gap in meeting the unique needs of small business owners, federal government employees, and U.S. military service members. So, in 2019 I launched Sentinel Financial Planning, LLC to provide a better way for individuals and families in these industries to find reliable financial planning solutions. I wanted to offer my skills, knowledge, and expertise to those who often don’t have the ability to utilize the services of a financial planner because they don’t have a large investment or account to manage. My firm serves these clients who don’t necessarily have the time or knowledge to manage their investments or conduct their own financial planning, yet who are serious about improving their financial life and achieving their financial goals. 

Why I Love What I Do

The most fulfilling part of my job is getting to help people with the knowledge and skills I have acquired in the financial planning industry. I remember what it was like to have financial questions and not know who to turn to. There was a lot of uncertainty in trying to find someone I could trust who had the specific answers I needed. I love that I can now help people who are just like me and provide the support that I didn’t find so easily when I needed it. That’s what drives me to work hard at my profession every day— knowing that people have entrusted me to help them reach their financial goals. For me, failure is not an option because I want every one of my clients to find success. 

The Next Step

Sometimes taking the first step can be the most difficult. Whatever your financial, investment, or retirement planning concerns, Sentinel Financial Planning is here to help you on your journey. We would love to meet you to discuss your concerns and financial goals and see if we would be a good fit to work together. I encourage you to contact me today for a no-obligation get-acquainted meeting. Schedule an appointment here, or call (443) 906-1565 or email mark@sentinelfp.com.

About Mark

Mark Humphries is the owner and financial advisor at Sentinel Financial Planning, a boutique, veteran-owned and operated investment management, and financial planning firm. Mark focuses on helping business owners, federal government employees, and military members manage their investments and plan for retirement. As a former military service member and federal employee with over 10 years in the financial industry, he is familiar with the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and is uniquely qualified to serve his clientele.

Before working in the financial industry, Mark was enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1999 to 2003, during which he became familiar with the challenges military service members and their families face, especially during deployments. After seven years of working in the financial industry, Mark launched Sentinel Financial Planning to provide a better way for small business owners and federal employees to find reliable financial planning solutions. In addition to the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation, Mark holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Central Florida and a master’s degree in personal financial planning from Kansas State University.

Outside the office, Mark enjoys boating, fishing, hunting, and collegiate sports. Additionally, he is a member of the National Association of Professional Financial Advisors, XY Planning Network, the Anne Arundel County Pension Oversight Commission, and the Naval Academy Primary School Board of Trustees. To learn more about Mark, connect with him on LinkedIn.