Brain talks with Phuong Luong, CFP, an educator, financial planner, and investment strategist focused on economic justice. In the episode, Phuong shares her winding path to founding Just Wealth, a financial planning firm for individuals and families. You’ll also learn the best piece of advice she received when starting her business and why she believes education about structural barriers to wealth can be empowering.
Mission-driven businesses make you come alive.
When Phuong thinks of a mission-driven business, she thinks of a quote by Howard Thurman that she heard in grad school: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
So to her, a mission-driven business is something you do for income that also makes you come alive. That mindset has been her focus, and it’s also evolved as she’s grown over time.
Education can be empowering.
Phuong makes it a priority to educate clients and other financial professionals about the structural issues around wealth that result in people being financially insecure in the first place.
At one of her early workshops, one attendee worried that the history and statistics of the racial wealth divide would be discouraging. But after time and reflection, Phuong has concluded that is not the case. Instead, educating people about wealth policies in the U.S. reminds people of their power and their history, helping to depersonalize and destigmatize the conversation.
“To finally be in a room where facts are shown to you to accurately and clearly explain why certain people in the United States have a lot of money and why some people don’t — and that it’s not a personal failing — I think that’s huge. I think that’s important to say,” she said.
Interview five potential clients.
One of the best pieces of advice Phuong heard when she started her business was to talk to at least five people that she wanted to serve. In the interviews, she asked the clients about their money worries, questions, information sources, and goals. The answers helped her define and refine the focus of her financial planning firm.
“The clients who have come to me match pretty well and are able to self-select and say, ‘This is the right financial planner for me,’” she said.
The interviews also led her to change the language she used on her website to attract new clients. Before the interviews, the website’s vernacular was too technical, she said. But now it reflects the terms, sentence, and down-to-earth tone of her clients.
“It helps me put myself out into the world and say, ‘This is what I do. This is what I don’t do,’” she said.
Resources + Links
Phuong’s Firm: Just Wealth
Phuong’s Morningstar Articles: https://www.morningstar.com/authors/2413/phuong-luong
Brian’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrianFinancial
About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast
Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. The Mission Driven Business podcast was born out of his passion for helping social entrepreneurs create businesses with purpose and profit.
On the podcast, Brian talks with diverse entrepreneurs and the people who support them. Listeners hear stories of experiences, strength, and hope and get practical advice to help them build businesses that might just change the world, too.