Michelle Lee Wagner – Financial Advisor in Tempe AZ
I am always fascinated by advisors who have distinctive branding, whether on their own website, or on their social media pages. This interview is with Michelle Lee Wagner, CFP ®, an advisor in Tempe AZ. She works with a unique target market, as you will see on her website and she has a very interesting story to tell about her practice.
Name: Michelle Lee Wagner, CFP ®
Company Name: Maxima Wealth Management
Q — Please give us the background on how you got started in financial services.
Michelle – After I received my BS in Economics I sought a career in financial investments. My first job was with Fidelity Investments and I’ve always considered that experience as my “boot camp” to the financial services industry. In 2001 I set out to realize my goals and took the opportunity to become an Independent Financial Advisor by opening up my own firm.
Q – How did you come up with your company name?
Michelle — I wanted the name of my company to speak to my clients, but I also wanted it to speak to me. I reached deep down inside and realized I wanted the name to illustrate my legacy. A big part of one’s legacy is one’s surname, mine being Wagner. But it also includes intangible gifts left by those who are no longer with us such as, experiences, memories and character.
When I was a teenager, my mother passed away. I learned a lot through this experience and it played into my overall development. I wanted to take the opportunity of naming my company to honor that legacy, to honor my mom. Her name was Maxine, so I set out to incorporate her name into the legacy I was creating. The ancient Roman form of Maxine is Maxima and it means the greatest.
I knew I wanted the name to describe what I do. As I thought of all the possible descriptive company names, I chose Wealth Management. To me, the word “wealth” speaks to abundance and prosperity and many times refers to material goods. It was my intent to choose words that illustrate both physical and abstract ideas.
And so, the name of my company became: Maxima Wealth Management.
Q – Who is your favorite type of client?
Michelle – My ideal clients are committed to improving their quality of life, they appreciate my effort to work their investment plan, they are willing to take my professional advice and take action. They enjoy the Client Service Experience with Maxima Wealth Management, are committed to being engaged in the financial planning process, and eagerly refer like-minded clients to me.
Q — How do you define success?
Michelle – My idea of success has evolved over the years which I am sure is expected. In the past I measured my success by accomplishments or other quantitative metrics. But now I recognize it is much more of a holistic view. Success to me is to have contentment in life. I measure success with the love and support I receive and the positive impact I have on others.
Q- What book has inspired you the most?
Michelle – The book that has inspired me the most is The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff. This book is a creative way of discussing the philosophy of Taoism. Taoism is simply a particular way of appreciating, learning from, and working with whatever happens in everyday life. It is believed that the natural result of this balanced way of living is contentment.
Q – Why are you passionate about wealth management?
Michelle – I love wealth management and being a financial advisor because I love helping people. It also allows me to implement my analytical and planning skills with my knowledge and love of economics. Guiding a client in the development and implementation of their personal financial plan is very satisfying especially when my client’s level of anxiety is reduced or eliminated because of the work we did together.
Q – What is the secret to your success?
Michelle – I attribute my success to hard work and being genuine and transparent. My clients sense this authenticity and appreciate my comprehensive approach to organizing their financial life. I know I’ve been successful when I receive a referral from my clients because it means they see the value of working with me.
Q – What is it about you that makes you a great leader? I understand you are also a military reservist. Can you tell us about that?
Michelle – My personal leadership philosophy comes from my desire to be a leader with “high-trust”. I define “high-trust” as one with high character and competence. I consider my style of leadership to be what is called servant leadership. This type of leader helps people develop and perform to the best of their ability, reaching heights they had never thought possible.
Yes, I have been in the Air Force Reserves since 1987. I joined with a very specific plan – learn a marketable skill and obtain the benefit of the GI Bill to pay for my college education. But many times, the original plan bears more benefits than first thought. I found that I really enjoyed being a part of something bigger than me.
I have been so fortunate in the military. I started as a Medical Administrative Specialist in the lowest rank and have since gone through the ranks to Colonel. I am now the Commander of the 452d Aerospace Medicine Squadron, the Air Force Reserve’s largest clinic, serving more than 3,500 personnel at March Air Reserve Base, California.
My Air Force career has introduced me to such a wide variety of people, experiences, and ideas. I am so thankful for it all.
Q – Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Michelle – I see myself continuing to seek opportunities to serve my clients better. I want to continue to offer my services to new clients, as well, and to mentor new advisors. I also want to continue to give back whether it’s through my military commitment or with my local community.
To learn more about Michelle and her services, please visit her website: http://MaximaWealth.com.