From Morgan Stanley to CEO: A Journey and Lessons in Establishing Your Own Financial Firm

Aaron CirksenaAdvisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

My education in the financial world started when I was 18. That was the year I watched my parents’ retirement dreams come crashing down.

My dad had a good deal of money he acquired from when he sold his private medical practice. The plan was to invest it in a way that would provide for my parents’ future. But my parents took some bad investment advice and ended up with a lot less than they expected. As a result, their retirement was marked by financial stress.

The experience shook me up. I decided I wanted to know enough about finances to avoid the mistake my parents had made, so I enrolled as an economics major at the University of Maryland, College Park. After graduation, I became a financial planner.

While my initial motivation was to help myself thrive financially, I soon found great satisfaction in guiding others. I saw how many people in our culture were confused about investing and I became committed to helping as many as I could.

Launching my career at Morgan Stanley

There was no settling in at Morgan Stanley. From day one, they expected me to produce. They gave me a phone and computer and told me to go find some clients.

While it was challenging, Morgan Stanley taught me success was not going to be spoon-fed to me. If I wanted to thrive, I had to help myself.