By Travis Cullman, CFP®, CPFA

It smelled like mothballs. I’ll never forget that smell as I walked into that shadowed brown-leather lobby. As I walked past the dark mahogany receptionist’s desk littered with sticky notes, I felt a pit in my stomach. You know what I’m talking about… that “one of these things does not belong – and it might be me” type of feelings. As I listened to the older gentleman in the three-piece suit spout off terms like “probate” and “defensive strategies,” I sunk lower in my seat. “What the heck is he talking about?” I thought to myself. “Should I raise my hand or just play along?”

No, this wasn’t my defense attorney prepping and lecturing me on my upcoming trial appearance. This was my local financial advisor! A newly minted 21-year-old, I was taking ownership of an investment account established for me as a child. When he was done talking, the well-intentioned advisor successfully filled out the paperwork (which I numbly scratched my “John Hancock” on), and I left that one-sided conversation feeling small and more confused than ever. “What am I investing in again? The trades cost how much? And what the heck was that risk tolerance packet about?!” I muttered as I plodded out to my car.

“Oh well,” I mumbled as I fumbled my key into the car’s ignition. “I guess this is how financial stuff works.”

And then it happened. As my car engine roared to life, so did this question – WHY? Why does it have to be this way?! Why should we accept being left in financial darkness?

Why can’t we condense complex ideas into simple action items? Why aren’t we prioritizing listening over lecturing? Serving over selling? Whether you’re 21 or 81, can we all agree that investing in relationships has equal if not greater value than picking the investments in our portfolio?

That is the reason why I started Cullman Wealth Team. In a complex, confusing world, you deserve a trusted guide who delivers clear financial advice and works beside you to cut through the noise. We look forward to building a relationship with you while we help you manage your investments – no mothballs necessary.

Travis Cullman, CFP®, CPFA
Cullen Wealth Team, Southwestern Investment Group
Wealth Advisor, SWIG
136 Concord Road
Knoxville, TN 37934

Investment advisory services offered through Southwestern Investment Advisory Services, Inc., an independent registered investment adviser. Southwestern Investment Group and Cullman Wealth Team are not registered broker-dealers and are independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SPIC. Representatives may not be registered to offer securities and advisory services in all states.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, CFP® (with plague design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individual who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.