“I’m surprised you’re not in an alley.” This financial advisor is beating all odds and is now helping people build wealth.

Some financial advisors grow up in the business. You’ll see a parent succeed in the financial industry and follow a well-marked path. That’s not Matthew McKay’s story.

Growing up in a family plagued by financial insecurity, McKay experienced his share of obstacles. His father battled drug addiction and broke the law. McKay’s parents divorced when he was six years old. His mother worked long hours in a factory. It was a constant struggle to get food on the table for McKay and his brother.

“She did the best she could with the resources that she had,” McKay said. “She worked so hard and never complained,” despite the difficulties she faced.

Whenever McKay got a little money — a Christmas present or earnings from summer jobs — he gave it to his mother. “I would hide the money in her wallet,” he said. “She is a proud woman. I didn’t want her to know.”

McKay’s mother enrolled him in a small, rural prep school from kindergarten through high school. She sacrificed to afford tuition but managed to fund it year after year.

For a short time – before his older brother could drive him to school – McKay was up at 5 a.m. His mother dropped him off at the principal’s house on her way to work. He slept in the principal’s living room for about an hour before they left for school. His mother picked him up from school at 5:30 p.m

McKay graduated from high school and went to college, but his childhood difficulties and their emotional toll plagued him. At age 20, McKay visited a mental health counselor.

“I’m surprised you’re not in an alley with a needle in your arm,” the counselor told McKay after hearing his story.

The advisor helped McKay embrace his ambition and envision a bright future. After graduating from college, he attended graduate school to pursue a career in psychological counseling. He had benefited from his advisor’s help and committed to developing skills to help others in need.

Within a year, McKay realized he wanted something different with his life. But he didn’t know what. “I had $700 in the bank, $35,000 in student loans and no job,” he said. Then a member of his church suggested that he apply for an entry-level position as a bank clerk.

He got the job. One day, McKay was helping a client — a construction worker — cash a check for $140. The worker then deposited $15 into his savings account to avoid bank charges.

The next customer in line withdrew a seven-figure sum to make a cash offer on a property.

“The juxtaposition was striking,” McKay recalled. “First, someone who lives paycheck to paycheck. Then a guy with all the money to buy real estate.”

McKay developed a keen interest in money – how to make it and how to invest it. He began calling every company in his hometown of Greensboro, NC, with “finance” in their name, asking for informational calls.

A solo counselor agreed to meet with McKay. He couldn’t offer him a job, but he urged the young daredevil to consider a career as a financial planner and study for the CFP exam.

McKay took the advice. He decided to work in a fee only consulting practice and contacted all the local firms. When there were no openings in Greensboro, he expanded his search. Eventually, a company in College Station, Texas, hired him.

Six years later, McKay is still with that firm – Briaud Financial Advisory. The 31-year-old is a certified financial planner. In January, he became a partner and co-owner of the company, which has approximately $650 million under management and serves about 300 homes.

While McKay doesn’t bother telling clients about his childhood, it does come up occasionally. For example, if a client’s family member is struggling with substance abuse, McKay can relate to that. “It’s one thing to know about it,” he said. “It’s another thing to live it.”

More New Chapter stories: Like ‘to hell and back’. Battling cancer gave this financial advisor the ability to build trust and be a better listener

Also read: “There was nothing in our bank account. I didn’t have a backup plan.’ A soccer player cut off from his team tackles a new field

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/im-surprised-youre-not-in-an-alley-this-financial-adviser-beat-the-odds-and-now-helps-people-build-wealth-11653606271?rss=1&siteid=rss “I’m surprised you’re not in an alley.” This financial advisor is beating all odds and is now helping people build wealth.

Brian Lowry

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