You’re going to have a blast and shine! I think this last point is a bit of an understatement [chuckle]. There is something about owning a business that doesn’t compare to anything else. I don’t have kids so I can’t compare it to the love a parent has for their child, but I sure do love this firm as if it were my child. I am having a blast and shining my light!
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Randa Hoffman.
Randa Hoffman is the owner and financial planner at Radiant Wealth Planning, a financial planning and investment management firm exclusively for women. She helps ease the uncertainty around retirement, tax planning, and transitioning wealth so that women can live a life they’ve always dreamt of. She holds an MBA and lives in Newport Beach, CA.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Thank you for the opportunity!
I’ve been told that my life story should be written into a novel, there’s been so much struggle, pain, resilience, and resourcefulness in the first 40 years of my life.
I was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Amman, Jordan till the age of 17. My father is Arab and has always lived in Saudi Arabia while my mother and two sisters lived in Jordan. My mother is Arab-American and has been very clear my entire childhood that the only child she’s ever wanted was my older sister. When I look back at my childhood my heart goes out to that young Randa as she has gone through so much. People are amazed at the person I’ve become despite having been raised by an absent father and a mother that hadn’t had any capacity to love.
At 17 my mother, sisters, and I moved from Jordan to Illinois where my aunt lived. At 19 I made the decision that I cannot take my mother’s abuse any longer, I was going to “exit” by either committing suicide or moving out, either way I was leaving. I decided to move out without her knowing but when she did find out she sent me to Egypt the following day with only the clothes I had on to live with my dad. Once we landed, she held onto my American passport in hopes that I won’t return. Little did she know how resilient and resourceful I was, event at such a young age. I remember the first thing my father said “I don’t know what to do with you” as we were going to buy me clothes.
I don’t share this crazy story for sympathy or to play the victim. I share it because I want people to know that life can be intolerable at times, but success and goodness can still emerge out of that.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I love life lesson quotes and I’m always posting a motivational quote of some kind on social media. The other day a Facebook memory from last year’s post came up, it was a quote that says “One day you’ll be exactly where you want to be… until then: Keep going. Keep believing. Keep learning. Keep working. And keep growing.”
What I love about this quote is that for the longest time I’ve had this mindset that when I got to a certain point in life, then life will instantly become perfect, but the older I get and set into the reality that, that is not how life works; it’s not a light switch and all is easy and smooth sailing.
Th quote reminds me to live in the present moment, to keep doing the work today and enjoy all parts of it.
How would your best friend describe you?
We all have an idea of who we think we are, but sometimes the outside world sees something very different. Some people believe that the outside view is a more accurate representation of our character, as opposed to how we internally see ourselves which may be distorted by how we would like to be.
To get an accurate picture I asked my friends, and this is what they had to say. I’m brave, determined, independent, a risk-taker, eager for a challenge, embrace change with positivity, dependable, personable, caring, driven, compassionate, beautiful on the inside and out, good work ethics, and sweet.
I was happy to see that the external and internal views match up [chuckle].
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much?
When someone is asked this question, we get the common answers like work hard and be tenacious, and of course, those are needed to be successful, but so is good sleep to keep a sharp and positive mind, and meditation to stay grounded and open.
Above all that, here are the top 3 qualities I feel has helped me get to where I’m at today:
- Being gregarious and having a pleasant personality that people want to be around. You can’t get anything done if nobody can stand you but when people like you, they want to support you and uplift you.
- Compassion. People feel like they can trust me when they open and share what’s on their mind or a financial history they might be ashamed of. They know I’ll hold a safe space for them with love and without judgment.
- Acts of service. I love helping others even if it means their light might shine a little brighter than mine. I especially love helping other financial planners, helping them be better in what they do helps our industry.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
Sure. Before my pivot, I was in information technology (IT) for about 15 years. I started as a business analyst writing requirements for systems that was then give to the development team; I was the liaison between the business users and the tech team. At the end of my career, I was a product owner at Liberty Mutual Insurance; I was still managing requirements but in an Agile methodology.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I ended up leaving IT and going into financial services. I started as a financial advisor at Edward Jones, and 2.5 years in I left the broker-dealer world and opened Radiant Wealth Planning, a Register Investment Advisor (RIA) firm.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
In 2016, I remember sitting at my desk at Liberty Mutual Insurance thinking that if I continued doing what I’m doing I would be forgotten, and I didn’t want to be forgotten. I wanted to be part of the world. I wanted to be on the leading edge. I wanted to make an impact. And I wanted to meet the movers and shakers who are making an impact. Shortly after that I read a Forbes article about venture capital and fell in love with everything it said, and naturally, I thought that would be my next step. I self-studied about venture capital and entrepreneurship for 2 years, and that’s when I leaned how difficult it was to get into, for some reason that didn’t faze me until it didn’t pan out. Maybe I’ll tap into that market at some point in my lifetime.
At the end of 2017, Liberty Mutual Insurance announced the cancellation of the IT portfolio I was a part of. We were given a two-month notice and a severance package, and that was my sign from the universe telling me it’s time to go into finance. I decided to go into personal finance and started my new career at Edward Jones.
While I was at Edward Jones, I would listen to podcasts of other advisors share the fun and unique things they were doing. And so, I would take these ideas back to our compliance department to see if this would be something I could do, and the answer was always “you can’t do that.” It got to the point where it felt like the sandbox I was playing in was suffocating.
What got me to “take the plunge” to leave Edward Jones was when I visited an advisor at the beginning of 2020. She worked at Edward Jones for 7 years but since left to open her own RIA. I remember the feeling when I first walked into the lobby, it was fresh and modern, and I intuitively knew this is what I wanted. Right away I got to work creating the business plan for how Radiant Wealth Planning will look.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
I think it’s so important to get exposed to different people and ideas. This journey started in 2016 when I read a Forbes article about venture capital and that’s when the internal feeling of change and something more started to rumble. Now looking back, I think the rumbling was less about venture capital and more about stepping into my life’s purpose.
I now know that when I feel that rumbling, I have to follow through and explore it, partly because I’m such a curious person, but I also believe that it’s my intuition leading me towards something. That’s how the beginning of my journey started. That’s the beautiful thing about a discovery, I didn’t know how my entire life was going to play out, all I knew is that I needed to get into finance. There was no way I would have believed you if you told me that shortly after that I would leave Edward Jones and launch a financial planning and investment management firm exclusively for women.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Before starting Radiant Wealth Planning, I conceptually understood Joseph Campbell’s quote “follow your bliss,” but now I deeply feel what he’s saying. I didn’t realize how many ideas were just waiting for me to be in a place where I can manifest them. Ever since I left the IT world, I have been learning and growing so much, and for someone who is an infinite learner, I’m in heaven.
Leaving Edward Jones and starting my firm is when I truly stepped into living what I’ve come to accomplish in this lifetime. The freedom and not having a structure or system that defines how fast I can go, or what I can put out into the world is priceless. I can express myself and do what feels right without any boundaries. I’m certainly following my bliss!
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Yes! Her name is Loretta Brown, she’s the owner of Reiki Oasis in Bellevue, WA. I’ve been going to her for 7 years and call her my soul therapist. For the year leading up to opening the firm, she has been so confident in knowing who I can fully become and continued to encourage me to take the leap and step into the unknown. She believes in me so much and reminds me of that every time we talk, and even more so when I’m feeling down and tired.
Most of our “work” happened before Radiant Wealth Planning, without us working on childhood issues, insecurities, self-worth, and so many other topics, I wonder what type of person I would be today, and more so I wonder if I would have had the confidence it takes to do what I’m doing.
I am forever grateful for her love and support.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
This is an interesting one I didn’t expect. The announcement of my departure from Edward Jones to open an RIA was shared across our Region and throughout my social media platforms and let me tell you, so many advisors reached out asking questions about the process of building a firm and my experience. I knew this was the right thing for me, but to have so many people, some I knew and other I didn’t, reach out because it too has been on their minds was mind-blowing.
I have my thoughts about the direction of the broker-dealer model, putting that aside, I have much respect for Edward Jones, the people who have been my cheerleaders while I was there, and the amount of industry knowledge I’ve learned.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
Absolutely! The questions I’ve been asking a lot lately are related to the activities I’m doing to grow the firm. It sometimes feels like I’m doing the wrong marketing or missing something when I hear colleagues share how much success they’ve had in a short period after launching their firm. Sometimes I even go into self-pity and feeling sorry for myself and question “why is my life so hard?” this is when Loretta steps in and reminds me that I can do this.
So far everyone I’ve met in the RIA space is extremely open in sharing their ideas and strategies, and so I don’t hesitate to reach out and ask what they’ve been doing and then taking action.
My answer is completed different for when I started at Edward Jones in 2018, I built my business from door-knocking, and if that doesn’t cause a person to struggle in believing in their self then I don’t know what does [chuckle]. I cried so much, in private, the first 6 months. I started constantly being at the bottom of every leader board, and of course, it got shared with everyone else, which felt so demoralizing and demotivating. Door knocking and trying to interact with someone at their doorstep about their money wasn’t a mood booster. Even then I would ask the same question I do now “what am I doing wrong?” as I saw some doing fine and others exceling. After 6 months I started crying less and it started getting better, a big change was the confidence in myself, and that just had to come with time.
In my work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
Leaving the IT world and getting into finance was a somewhat easy transition due to being let go from Liberty Mutual Insurance. I knew without a doubt that I didn’t want to stay in IT, and I was ready to transition into finance, and Edwards Jones would gladly take career changers and train them while offering a base salary for the first 5 years. It was a no-brainer!
Leaving Edward Jones, moving from Washington State to California the week after, and building a firm from scratch, again, without any local presence is a different story. I did need a support system. I was leaving a paycheck to not knowing when I would have any type of income, yeah, that was a little scary and sounds a little crazy. Maybe that’s an entrepreneur characteristic [chuckle].
Working with Loretta Brown was a big part of my support system. But I also joined XY Planning Network (XYPN) a company and community that helps and supports people launch fee-only RIAs. Being a part of XYPN was critical because there are so many resources out there for every part of launching a firm (compliance, tech stack, marketing, accounting, etc.), they do the research and provide it in a condensed approach. I’m still with the group, but now the benefit shifted from needing the basics to having a community of other advisors, and the 2 mastermind groups I’m in.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
New chapters automatically catapult you to outside your comfort zone. You can’t have a new chapter without going into uncharted territory, and that takes massive courage to be aware of that and still move forward with the change. There’s no doubt I could have stayed at Edward Jones in a comfortable work environment collecting a paycheck, but there was absolutely no way I could have done that and not follow my heart’s calling.
I also unintentionally ended up making it harder on myself by moving to California at the same time. I didn’t know anyone in the area, but here I am getting out there being my gregarious self and building a new life, personally and professionally.
I’ve been out of my comfort zone for such a long time I don’t even know what a comfort zone feels like [chuckle].
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
This is a big question! I know I’m a little stubborn and always want to explore regardless of the advice I get at times, but here are some things I wish someone told me to emotionally prep myself.
- Have fun even when you’re not seeing results. This one is interesting because when I was first building the firm, with zero clients, I was doing so much and putting out so much content, and then I would stop and wonder if all this work was worth it because I wasn’t seeing any traction.
- You’re not going to know how the firm will grow, but that’s ok, all you have to know is the next few steps. This is related to the big picture as opposed to the daily actions in the first item. As bad as I want to know how my vision for my life will manifest, I also know that it’s an unrealistic expectation, the same as not wanting to waste time working on something if it won’t lead anywhere.
- You’re not going to know how you’ll get through it, but still go for it. Now I have to admit this sounds a little careless, but if I stayed at Edward Jones until I had every ‘t’ crossed and ‘i’ dotted it would have taken me years, especially since the recommended amount of savings for this type of adventure is 2 years. There was no way I would have been happy being there long enough to have the perfect situation before launching, so I went for it anyway.
- Don’t say “where’s my success?” when you see others succeed. Every single person has a path and journey that is unique to them. When I look at other women similar to my age, have accomplished so much, and are doing the things I want to do I have to remind myself that it doesn’t mean that they’re “luckier” than I. I don’t know her backstory and how she got to where she is today, she hasn’t had my childhood and young adult pains; lucky for her. Or when I hear my colleagues with their amazing success, I’m always happy for them and get excited as if it were my own, but then I do tend to compare and wonder what I’m doing wrong or not doing to not have the opportunities they’re having. I continuously have to remind myself to keep doing what I’m doing and continue to put good out in the world, and my definition of success will come, it maybe a little longer than others, but it is coming.
- You’re going to have a blast and shine! I think this last point is a bit of an understatement [chuckle]. There is something about owning a business that doesn’t compare to anything else. I don’t have kids so I can’t compare it to the love a parent has for their child, but I sure do love this firm as if it were my child. I am having a blast and shining my light!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I think about this so much! One of the reasons I left Edward Jones and built Radiant Wealth Planning was to create my legacy. When I say “legacy” everyone has their vision of what that means to them. The movement I want to create is what I hope my legacy to be, and that is to have a boutique firm run by women that not only builds our client’s confidence when it comes to their money through financial planning and investment management but also help women get over their limiting beliefs around money so that they can live a more fulfilled life.
As of today I have no idea how all that will come together, but what I’ve learned is that different ideas and opportunities present themselves along the way and so it might change and look different than this, but what I know will not change, is my deep desire to be of service to humanity.
What do you want to be remembered for the most?
I want to be remembered for having a big heart and being generous. I want to be remembered for the movement I’ve inspired for women in the realm of finance. The intersection of women and wealth has been neglected for way too long. I want to be remembered for the humanitarian work I’ve been apart of here in our country and around the world.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
I’m easy to find. The website (www.RadiantWealthPlanning.com) has the most up-to-date information where you can find the latest videos, blogs, and events. I’m also social on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
Thank you! I appreciate this opportunity.