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A young professional’s path to CFP® certification

Q&A with Chantelle Blackowiak on her financial services career

According to J.D. Power, attracting a new generation of financial professionals to the industry is an increasing priority.

The average age of financial professionals is 55, and firms are looking for ways to attract and retain new talent.1

Chantelle Blackowiak, a regional sales consultant for Securian Financial, is one of those young, talented new financial professionals. She recently obtained the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification — and being female and under 30, she’s among a minority group of CFP® professionals.

Please describe your job. What does an average day look like for you?

I work with financial professionals to help them find annuity solutions for their clients. Every client’s situation is unique, so there is no “one size fits all” product or strategy. I spend time discussing client objectives, logistics and product details with the financial professional so they are well equipped to serve their clients. I work alongside two amazing external colleagues, and together we strive to build relationships with financial professionals throughout the East Coast. 

How did you get into this career field?

I began my career in finance immediately out of college working at another financial services firm in downtown Minneapolis. I spent just under three years there before coming to Securian Financial in late 2019. Originally, I was drawn to financial planning because of my desire to help others. I also really enjoy the numbers and technical elements of financial planning (I was a mathematics major at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota).

Why was it important to you to earn the CFP® certification?

Earning my CFP® certification was the next step to advancing myself personally and professionally. I believe that if you do not move forward, you are moving backwards. Not only is it good for me, but it is good for the clients that we serve; after all, putting the client in a better financial position is the primary objective. By having a broad understanding of the elements that encompass financial planning (tax, insurance, investments, retirement, estate planning, etc.), I can be more relevant and accurate when discussing opportunities. 

What did that process entail?

The “4 E’s” to earn your CFP® certification are education, exam, experience and ethics. I met my education requirements by earning my BA through Concordia College and then completing a six-course program through Minnesota State University, Mankato. The coursework took roughly 10 months to complete followed by countless hours of studying leading up to the test. The exam is six hours with 170 multiple choice questions. To complete my requirements, I verified 6,000 hours of industry experience and met the ethics standards.2

Being female and under 30 means you’re among a small population of CFPs. How does that feel? Why do you think there are so few women under 30 with the CFP?

The CFP Board's website states that only 23.2 percent of CFP® professionals are female and only 5.5 percent are below the age of 30.3 I cannot say with certainty what holds back young female professionals from working toward this designation, but I can say that I would not be where I am today without the amazing support of leaders and colleagues throughout my career. Not only was I encouraged, I was given the tools and resources necessary to make this a reality. I am immensely grateful to all those who have played a role, big or small. 

What do you like to do in your free time?

I am a true extrovert, so anything that involves spending time with friends or family — I am all in. More specifically though, I love to spend time "up at the cabin,” fishing, boating, reading, shooting my bow, hiking or anything outdoors really. I spend most of my free time working out and staying active. As of recently I have even competed in a couple CrossFit competitions!

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Chantelle Blackowiak is a Securian Financial employee and therefore has a financial connection to Securian Financial. Her statements were given freely. Chantelle Blackowiak is a registered representative of Securian Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.

1. “Technology, Social Media Critical to Bridging Financial Advisor Age Gap, J.D. Power Finds,” J.D. Power, July 9, 2019.

2. Program requirements may be subject to change.

3. “CFP® Professional Demographics,”, June 2020.

DOFU 7-2020