Updated: Jul 16
When you grow up with a Mom and Dad who started their own Financial Firm and grew it to be one of the top independent advisors in California, it is easy to understand the drive and determination which was passed down to Gina Ellen. Born and raised in Calabasas California, Gina was engulfed in the financial industry as a young girl. “I tell people I knew the rule of 72 by the time I was 12.” Gina’s Dad loved what he did and shared it with his 5 children. “We would be driving to go get lunch, or to my basketball game or something and my dad would open up the stocks app on his phone, and he would say ‘if you can guess where the Dow is within 100 points, you can pick where we go to lunch, or something like that."
Being engulfed in financial matters at an early age turned out to be a motivating factor for Gina. She spent one year at Rider University in New Jersey and then transferred to USD. Gina double-majored at first in International Business and Finance, and when she transferred to USD, she added a minor in Chinese.
Gina's time at USD allowed her to fall in love with San Diego and so this is where she started her career, "Plus I have two dogs, male twin Australian Kelpies whom I adore and are part of the reason I love San Diego because it is such a dog-friendly town."
Gina works with an advisory partner, John P. Toman and a team of dedicated professionals who have built an organi- zation that genuinely cares for their client's needs. Gina's team is involved in all aspects of their client's financial matters. They often provide complex advice in tax efficient strategies, and access to a net- work of qualified, ethical professionals to whom they can direct clients working as a sort of gatekeeper for their clients' financial lives. "What makes Jet Wealth Advisors different than most other firms is our customer service. Every one of our clients has our cell phone numbers and can reach us at any time, day or night and weekends too. Our clients are like family to us, and regardless of when they need us, we are there."
Gina and her team relate to their clients as if they were family and share in all of their life-changing experiences, the birth of a baby, the purchase of a new home, or on a sadder note even the death of a family member. These conver- sations are what Gina believes enables her team at JET Wealth to add the most value. She says, “the financial industry’s status quo is to talk numbers, but that’s backwards.”
She believes one of the key ingredients to success in this field is listening to your clients and getting to know them and what their goals are. “We want to know what kind of lifestyle they want to have and once we know that, then we can reverse engineer their investment plans to get them to the place they want to be.”
Gina's team has a goal in mind, and that is to build lifelong relationships with their clients, meeting their children, grandchildren, and sometimes even their parents. This helps with family succession planning. “Our duty is to watch out for our clients at all times, and in doing so, we might come across an opportunity for them and call them up immediately to share it. We also encourage clients to call us whenever they come across an idea to discuss whether it might work for them. Unlike other companies that do quarterly reviews, we are in contact with our clients monthly to make sure all is well and be certain that we are servicing their wealth planning needs proactively, rather than waiting and reacting."
I asked Gina what she loved most about her current position, and she lit up as she responded to the question, "Education is definitely my favorite part of my job. I love being able to educate my clients. Often I will meet a client who is really interested in financial matters, but they were never taught even the basics. I think that as children we should all be educated on finances in school. I’ve met several clients who may have been taught the Pythagorean theorem in school but have no idea how to do their taxes. I feel that our educational system needs adjusting. Personal finance shouldn’t be a university elective like it is now, but several different financial basics classes should be mandatory, starting in the elementary years.”
One of Gina’s main passions is her association with Lean In. “I work with LeanIn.Org, which is a nonprofit organi- zation founded by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. It is an organization which focuses on supporting women. So that's one of the ways I get to fulfill my need to help educate women. I recently heard the statistic that in the next few years, over $13 trillion worth of wealth is going to be in the hands of women. So, women need to be educated and prepared.”
For those not familiar with Lean In, Gina shares the following, “It's actually a lot of peer mentoring, which I think is just as valuable as experienced mentoring. Members meet in small groups called Lean In Circles once or twice a month to support each other and learn new skills. They talk openly about their ambitions and encourage each other to take on new challenges. Together, they can go further and stand up for equality
”The circle is helpful if someone in the group is struggling with a problem and someone in the circle has gone through a similar experience, they get to share how they overcame the problem. Circle members provide support and answers to challenging issues for the group. “I just recently joined their board, and I am the circle development advisor. So, when someone wants to start a circle,I help them do so. They come to my meetings and see how it can be run, but each circle meeting is different, unique.
”There have been a lot of surveys done, and the results show that approximately 80% of women say that being part of Lean In has dramatically helped them make decisions in their lives and that they find it a valuable part of their life. “I think what I enjoy most about Lean In is that I get to combine my career, with my love of education and also being involved in the community.”
I asked Gina what suggestions she would give to those wanting to excel in the financial industry. “I would say you have to be prepared to be really self-disciplined. Most of the time investment planning is a very entrepreneurial endeavor, so at the end of the day you must know what you are doing and be the best you can be at it. There are long hours, and you have to be accessible to your clients even if it is after hours or on the weekend."“I would suggest that you start off with a big company that provides initial training since the smaller boutique firms like mine are not usually in a position to train, as they don’t have the manpower to train or hold your hand through the learning process.”I asked Gina if being so young is a deterrent to her clients. Do you find that people look at you and say, well, how can you know about planning for retirement and all the nuances of the financial markets when you weren't even alive through most of the major economic events we experienced? "Yes, some feel that way, but the great thing is I am not alone, my partner John has worked in the financial arena for 27 years so I can always refer them to him should they feel that way. There are however other clients who are impressed with my wealth of knowledge at my young age and often say that knowing as much as I do now, they can't imagine what I will be able to accomplish for them 5, 10 or 15 years from now."
At Jet Wealth it is evident that Gina's team are not just working associates, but more like a family. "I really just love the people I work with. Everyone really cares about our clients and each other. What is great, too, is that we have no minimum assets under management requirements for our clients. If someone isn't ready to work with an advisor, we won't push them to do so. We're not going to try to convince you to work with us, and then charge you more than it makes sense for you. We only bring you in a when we feel like you actually need us.”
Gina talks very highly of her business and shares why she feels it is unlike most financial advisory firms. “I think the most important thing would be that our office is not like a typical financial establishment. We are always ready and adaptable to change. And I don't think that is a typical characteristic for a financial advisory firm. This industry is very conservative. We are not like that. The second any kind of technology emerges to make managing your finances more convenient for the client, we jump at the opportunity to incorporate it in our firm. We are also very philanthropic as a firm, and we encourage all of our team to reach out and share this with our clients. Yes, there are tax advantages to being philanthropic, but with our firm, it is more than that. We want our clients to make choices based on the right reasons.”
Learn more about Jet Wealth Advisors at www.jetwealthadvisors.com If you have interest in getting involved with
Lean In go to https://www.leaninsandiego.org/about for more information.
To Join Gina’s lean in circle go to https://leanin.org/circles/lean-in-la-jolla to sign up.
To reach Gina via phone call her at (858) 457-1003 or on her cell at (818)309-6536
Investment products and services are offered through Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC (WFAFN), Member SIPC. Jet Wealth Advisors is a separate entity from WFAFN. Paid Advertisement.