Juanita Causey - President, Houston Financial Center

Juanita Causey is one of eight children born in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. Her mother was a homemaker and her father worked for the railroad. At the age of eight, her father was killed in an accident, which resulted in her being raised in dire poverty until she was old enough to be on her own. As a teenager, she moved with her mother to Corpus Christi, Texas, where she attended school until she was married and eventually moved to Houston with her husband and two children in 1988.

The first six years of her career were spent working in the banking industry. In 1994, she decided to change careers and went to work for John Hancock as a financial planner in their Houston agency. In June of 2000, she started her own financial planning firm named the Houston Financial Center. She still operates under this name. Juanita Causey has received many honors for her exceptional accomplishments in the financial services industry. She served on the National Agent’s Advisory Committee with Nationwide Financial Services before going completely independent in 2008. She is a member of the Million Dollar Roundtable, where she is consistently a “Top of The Table” producer, which places her among the top 2% of Insurance and Financial Services professionals worldwide.

Juanita Causey is constantly striving to be the best that she can be for her many clients, of which there are over 1,000. Through constant study, she has achieved many professional designations over the past nearly 25 years as a financial planner. She is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Certified Life Underwriter (CLU), Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF), Certified Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP), Chartered Advisor for Senior Living (CASL), and Life Underwriting Training Council Fellow (LUTCF). She is a member in good standing with the Financial Planning Association of Houston, Society of Financial Services Professionals, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Juanita Causey was named as one of America’s Top Financial Planners by the Consumer Research Council of America in 2008 and again in 2011. She was honored as a “Five Star Wealth Manager” in Texas as a result of a survey sent to over 136,000 households in the Greater Houston Area. The survey ranked her among the top 2% of Wealth Managers in the region as listed in the September 2011 issue of Texas Monthly Magazine. Her business, the Houston Financial Center, was named as “Business of the Week” on two separate occasions by the Houston Chronicle.

She was very careful in choosing a boutique broker-dealer who has access to a vast array of insurance and investment companies so she can shop for the best possible products and services for her clients. Juanita Causey prides herself in delivering the very best financial plans and advice to her many clients, who have also become her best friends over the years.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

I went to a job fair and set up an interview with a financial services company since I already had about six years of experience in the banking industry. The company hired me and trained me to be a financial planner. This enabled me to help people become financially independent, which was exactly what I loved doing. My inspiration came from my trainer/mentor who had faith in me and continued to tell me how successful I would be. By contacting enough people and asking the right questions, it produced enough success to give me confidence. For the first four or five years, I worked day and night for six or seven days a week and the results started happening.

How do you make money?

I make money through the products and services I provide to my clients. On products such as insurance and mutual funds, I get paid commissions from the companies that furnish the products. On professionally managed investments, I earn money through advisor fees that are based on the amount of money being managed. By always recommending only what I would do for myself or my own family, I gain the trust of my clients who continue to refer me to their friends and families. This produces an endless loop of ongoing clients and business.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

It only took a couple of months to start earning money. In my first year of financial planning, I earned nearly double what I earned working full time at the bank. I credit this quick start to the many hours I devoted to my career. After four or five years, my income exceeded the expectations I had when I started my career.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

There were times in the first couple of years that I had some doubts, but it was primarily due to the hours I was devoting and the price that my children were paying by me not being around for them as much as I wanted to be. I was committed to doing whatever it took to be successful and sometimes I thought the price may be too high, but that was early on in my career. Today, my hours are much more reasonable with me working only 40 to 50 hours per week and with my capable staff, I am able to take time off when I want to.

How did you get your first customer?

I was excited about the planning I was learning. I contacted one of my old co-workers from the bank and offered to do her planning. That was my first client and got me off to a quick start. Another early client was a couple that were parents of my daughter’s best friend from church.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

I have scheduled personal meetings with most of my client’s Chartered Professional Accountants (CPAs) to learn about their practice and tell them more about my practice with the possibility of referring each other when the opportunity presents itself. By showing the CPAs the kind of work that I do, I am able to generate referrals from them to their clients. I have also done this with client’s attorneys, but with less success.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

The most difficult decision was terminating an employee and replacing them with one that is much more capable. The terminated employee was a very nice person that everyone liked, but just made too many mistakes. In this business, mistakes can cost you to lose clients or cost many thousands. It was difficult, but something I knew I had to do.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

I developed a business model early on in my career that involved delegating day to day tasks to an assistant, so I could spend most of my time in front of clients, either in person or on the phone. Another is being good at follow-up and constantly communicating with clients through emails, letters and phone calls. I make some type of contact with every active client at least every quarter.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Being recognized as the number one top producer at a large luncheon meeting among many of my peers. This was a totally unexpected announcement made by the master of ceremonies of this meeting.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

Personal financial planning continues to be a valuable service that everyone needs and benefits from. Regardless of age or level of net worth, everyone benefits from good planning. As the saying goes, “If you don’t know where you are going, you are not likely to get there.” I am most excited when I think of the growing value of my practice. Someday, if I find the right person to take good care of my many clients, my practice will be worth millions.

What business books have inspired you?

“The Story of Rich” by J.D. Joyce, “The Wealthy Barber” by David Chilton, “The Automatic Millionaire” by David Bach, and “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas Stanley & William Danko.

What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?

I recently purchased several copies of the book, “The Story of Rich”, and sent them to several of my good clients who are nearing retirement or recently retired. They have since referred me to several of their friends and associates.

What is the secret of becoming wealthy that I have learned in the business?

Paying yourself first by committing to steady and consistent long-term investing in a diversified portfolio, month in and month out. To do this, one must have a budget that is lower than their monthly income. I have helped many people over the years by debt counseling and getting them on a budget, so they can start steady savings.

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