Texas Tech University

College of Human Sciences Faculty and Alumni Named 40 Under 40 by InvestmentNews

by Katy McCall

InvestmentNews recently named their 40 Under 40 for 2017, which recognizes multiple faculty and alumni from the College of Human Sciences (COHS) Personal Financial Planning (PFP) program. Out of 800 nominations, Dr. Sarah Asebedo, Alumnus Brandon Garrett, and Alumnus Jon Robertson were chosen for their achievement and contribution to the financial advisory industry.

Sarah Asebedo
Assistant Professor Personal Financial Planning, Texas Tech University

Sarah Asebedo, College of Human Sciences Assistant Professor, 40 under 40

One of the names recognized by the 40 Under 40 is assistant professor of personal financial planning, Dr. Sarah Asebedo. She is honored and thrilled to be named in this year's class.

Before she became a professor, Sarah was a financial planner for 10 successful years. She was halfway through her Ph.D. program when she decided to switch to academia.
"I was seeking a way to increase my impact and influence on the financial planning profession as a whole. I realized pursuing research in an academic setting was the path I needed to take."

Her research shows how cognitive, emotional, behavioral, relational, and economic factors integrate to affect well-being.

"I focus on how these characteristics affect financial behavior in addition to the use of conflict resolution techniques in financial planning given the prevalence of money arguments."

Switching to academia was a leap of faith, but she found teaching extremely rewarding. She discovered she could further contribute to the profession by training the next generation of financial planners. Drawing on her experience as a financial planner, she provides students with real client situations to better illustrate concepts.

"I find this helps students see the bigger picture and it creates meaning behind the information they are learning. I also balance traditional exams with active hands on projects that are similar to what students will experience in practice and that helps them to engage more fully with the material and learn at a deeper level."

Sarah's contribution to the industry as a practitioner and an educator has earned her name on the 40 Under 40. She has also received the AARP Public Policy Institute Financial Services and the Older Consumer Award, the Robert O. Herrmann Outstanding Dissertation Award, and the Montgomery-Warschauer Award from the Financial Planning Association.

Brandon Garrett
President and wealth adviser, Snow Garrett Wealth Management

Brandon Garrett, College of Human Sciences Alumni, 40 under 40

40 Under 40 also recognized president and wealth advisor of Snow Garrett Wealth Management and COHS alumnus, Brandon Garrett. His interest in financial planning had a lot to do with his father, a CPA and advisor who he now practices with. When Brandon was in high school, his father brought home an industry magazine featuring the Texas Tech PFP program.

"I already knew that I loved West Texas and football, so finding out that Texas Tech had the premier financial planning program in the nation pretty well sealed the deal."
During his time in the PFP program, Brandon was dedicated to academics, but after some time in the industry, his focus shifted. Brandon explains in an interview with InvestmentNews.

"I could have been a back-office guy. I was smart and had technical expertise. But I don't like spending time building financial plans. I like being in front of people."

Brandon chose a more hands-on direction, having recently led the acquisition of an office in Fort Worth and beta-tested LPL Financial's robo-platform. His passion for the industry and the PFP program also lead him to become a PFP Alumni Advisory Board member. As an alumnus and an industry leader, he gives this advice to PFP students: "Being socially aware, developing good soft skills, and learning to be an excellent listener and relator should become one of your primary goals – you already have a good handle on the basic science of financial planning; now you must perfect the art."

Jon Robertson
Financial adviser, Abacus Planning Group Inc.

Jon Robertson, College of Human Sciences Alumni, 40 under 40

40 Under 40 also recognized financial advisor and COHS alumnus, Jon Robertson. At Abacus Planning Group Inc. Jon serves as lead advisor to many of his clients and oversees more than $1 million in firm revenue. Followed by law school and a LL.M. in Taxation, his academic journey began in the PFP program in 2004.

"Texas Tech did an excellent job of giving me insight into the various technical areas that a financial advisor needs to understand and the capstone course helped me understand how you tie the knowledge together to make a financial plan."

Jon also mentioned that the PFP program taught him the importance of counseling, a skill he has carried over to Abacus Planning Group. The firm invests a tremendous amount of resources into teaching listening, decision-making, and counseling skills.
"These skills are invaluable and help make it so the plan you create with your clients becomes reality. Also, listening and understanding clients makes the work far more rewarding and helps take the stress out of difficult situations."

Even though they do not come with a certificate, skills like these have proved their worth. In an interview with InvestmentNews, Jon describes the key factor of the biggest skill he has learned: managing client relations.

"The most important thing is the human interaction – how to deliver advice to make it more likely clients will follow it."

Jon's understanding of the profession has earned him a spot on the 40 Under 40, as well as a position on the Chairman's Council for the Fiduciary Institute.