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Why I Became A Financial Advisor

Why I Became A Financial Advisor

May 01, 2021

Like many people, I didn’t always know what I wanted to do with my career. And in many ways, my story is one of continuing to take the next step and pursue open doors, resulting in some surprising twists and turns. Thankfully, that winding journey led me to where I am now, with a rewarding career that allows me to add value to my clients’ lives and help them make their dreams a reality.

The Beginning

Ready for the story I alluded to? Let’s go back to the early days. As the first Martinez in my family to go to college, I didn’t have anyone guiding me in what direction to go. I ended up vacillating a bit before landing on studying Economics and Finance. I was drawn to the stock market and the opportunities it presented. Through a fortuitous series of events, I found myself working on the trading floor of the Pacific Options Exchange. It was a dream come true to my 19-year-old self—everything from the energy and chaos to the paper covering every square inch of the floor up to my shins. I thought I had found my purpose and didn’t mind the sacrifice of starting my days at 4 a.m. or having a 50-minute BART commute each way. I started as a runner and worked my way up to clerk and market maker. During this time, I also obtained a bachelor’s degree in Economics from UC Davis.

I spent 10 incredible years learning, growing, and developing an intimate understanding of the markets, through the dot-com bubble, 9/11, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, until it all came to an end. The markets and investment world changed dramatically and all of the opportunities I foresaw suddenly disappeared. I had no road map to the next destination. 

I tried my hand at Internet-based trading from home, which was a fairly new concept in the industry. I knew there was no future for me in this changing world, so I became licensed to work as a broker-dealer. All I can say about this season is that it very clearly showed me what I didn’t want to do. It clarified my values and vision and opened my eyes to the lack of integrity, investment education, and academic application that was hurting clients. At this point, I was ready to leave the industry altogether. 

Thankfully, that all changed when I met my current colleagues at Epsilon Financial Group and branched out into the registered investment advisor industry as an analyst and planner. 

Fast-Forward To Today

I went from an aimless teenager to an adult with very strong beliefs and passions about how people should be served by their financial professionals. Once I changed course, I obtained the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® (CDFA®) professional designations. 

Now I am happily serving the Epsilon Financial Group’s incredible clients as an investment fiduciary and financial advisor. I spend my days prioritizing my clients’ needs and interests and helping them make sound financial decisions. Just as my experience taught me the importance of having a road map for the future, I now work with my clients to design long-term financial plans that get them from point A to point B so they can look ahead with confidence. I also specialize in fiduciary consulting regarding retirement planning, trust administration, and nonprofit advising. Lastly, I work as an expert in the family law process to assist in divorce mediation, testimony and resolution.

The Greatest Reward

As someone who came from a family of humble beginnings, I have a deep appreciation for effort resulting in wealth and am grateful that I can help my clients turn wealth into a resource that helps them to live as they desire and achieve their goals. It’s incredibly fulfilling to invest in building long-term relationships with my clients and see the relief on their faces when they realize they have an advocate and someone who will be there for them every step of the way. 

Are You Ready For A Different Financial Future?

I’d love to meet you, get to know you, and hear about your goals, your worries, and the opportunities and challenges you face in your financial life. If you’re ready to see what financial planning can do for you, reach out to us at 707-428-5500 or leo@wealthmatters.com.

About Leo

Leo Martinez began his career in the investment industry working on the trading floor of the Pacific Options Exchange. While working part time as a clerk during the day, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics from UC Davis. Upon graduation, he returned to the trading floor full time to become a market maker and trader. He occupied a seat and was a member of the exchange for several years before the trading floor dynamics began to evolve into the currently popular day-trading format. After leaving the trading floor in 2002, he traded from home while obtaining licensing to work in the broker-dealer industry. After a couple of years working in that industry, Mr. Martinez felt very disenchanted by the experience and was ready to leave the industry altogether. Leo obtained his Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation in 2007 and left the broker-dealer model. Intent on prioritizing clients’ interests above his own, he entered the registered investment advisor industry as an analyst and planner and joined Epsilon Financial Group. There, Mr. Martinez specializes in fiduciary consulting regarding retirement planning, trust administration, and nonprofit advising. Mr. Martinez is also active in the community as a father to his four children and serves on various boards and committees.