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An Empathetic Approach to Finance: Navigating Love, Loss, and Money with Client Relationship Specialist, Marcos M.

By Andie T.

Money can be a sensitive topic for some. It’s an object that affects everyone differently and because of this, managing your money and putting trust into a professional to manage it for you can be difficult. At Schwab, our Estate Plan Services team deals with some of the most difficult situations that involve money including when a loved one passes, leaving behind their assets to be transferred on to their family or friends. Not only can this leave a family devastated by loss and grief, but now there is extra stress dealing with the asset settlement process.

Schwab takes pride in providing a personalized approach to each client and in making sure that we are setting them up to own their financial future, even during the tough times. One individual who does this on a daily basis is Marcos M., a Client Relationship Specialist, who was also an intern in the Schwab Intern Academy cohort of 2019 and graduate of Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Starting His Career in Finance

Before getting into finance, Marcos was originally looking for a career in Operations. However, Marcos quickly realized that a career in the finance industry piqued his interest: “I didn’t really plan on coming into Estates. I was initially looking for a position in operations because my background was more of guest service hospitality because I worked in theme parks for around seven years when I was younger. What interests me about finance is the fact that you could put some money away and later, years from now, it could be something much larger. But more importantly, what interested me about finance was the ability to be successful with it and there’s so many different moving parts. I felt like no day was ever going to be the same and it was a career path that could really take me anywhere, in any field. As simple as it sounds, everyone is worried about money in a sense.”

In Marcos’ current role, he has a unique responsibility of being the main point of contact for his client and dealing with some of their most personal moments in their lives: “My role entails reaching out to any beneficiaries of our clients here at Schwab. We work with them on a more personalized basis to where we explain to them what their next steps are, the types of accounts that they would need to open depending on what their loved ones had here with us, and really, we become the main point of contact for that client. We pretty much assist them from the starting of moving their loved one’s assets, either underneath their name or underneath the name of a trust or we sometimes help move assets into an estate account. My main responsibility is helping people who have lost a loved one, through the asset settlement and really get the assets where they need to go.”

Building Relationships and Feeling Rewarded

Since Marcos’ role includes dealing with highly personal topics such as the grief and financial situations of strangers, I was interested to know how Marcos is able to navigate the waters of balancing being professional, but also showing empathy and helping clients out when they’re going through a tough time. Marcos explained that he starts by setting up expectations with the client and asking them how he can best help them through this process: “A lot of clients come and inform us that their loved on has passed away and they have no clue what to do. Whenever you set the expectations or ask the client what their expectations are, that’s a really great way of setting the tone for how that relationship with the client will be built through the estates process, as well as asking them questions as to how you can help them. Additionally, making an effort to really listen more to what they have to say and lending an ear to the client during the difficult time because I think a lot of times, I balance out the professional side of it with asking them about their loved one as well because a lot of the times they just need to vent. I think that helps set a balance between the professional side of it and then the more personal side with building a relationship with the client.”

In regards to what Marcos finds most rewarding about these personal client interactions, he stated that, “The most rewarding thing is the really heartfelt ‘thank yous’ from the clients and the kind of feeling that I get when everything is resolved for that client.”

Support from His Team

In addition to helping others with their personal financial goals, Marcos’ team and leaders have supported him on his journey to career advancement and professional development. “The support that I received was amazing as a recent college graduate and they helped me with language to use in my conversations, they helped familiarize myself with all the documents that we would see in this kind of role. Most importantly, the support that I got on a daily basis by just asking general questions was amazing. One thing that I appreciate the most in regard to manager support is he’s not always focused on my performance on the job. He’s interested in how I am personally – so they’ll always ask me how I’m doing in life, not just in a work setting. Having a manager that’s not only worried about your work performance, but also how you’re doing as a person outside of work is great.”

Why Join Schwab and Advice for Early Career Professionals

Lastly, Marcos suggested his advice for anyone early in their career and why he’d recommend them to join Schwab: “Ask questions because you don’t want to make a mistake and it’s better to ask a question to make sure that you’re doing something correctly, rather than doing something incorrectly and then finding out later. Give yourself breaks every now and then and what I mean by that is, you’re not going to know the answer to everything, so set expectations for yourself. Entering your career so early, you’re going to make mistakes and its part of the learning process. Second, I would say that the culture as well as the support that you’ll receive are two factors that I constantly relay to people as to why they should come to Schwab. Schwab is a company that changes to its employees needs, as well as shows support as to what your goals are in life and they focus on your strengths. They use that to put you in the best possible role that you can be in.”

Curious how you can make a difference in the lives of clients like Marcos? Check out our openings in Operations and Finance on SchwabJobs!

Marcos, a Client Relationship Specialist on the Estates Team.

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