When Kevin Stevens, a CRPC private wealth advisor, graduated from Illinois State University in 1994 with a degree in finance, financial planning wasn’t a well-known career. However, the career appealed to Stevens.
“I knew it would mean a lot of training and hard work, but if successful, I could run my own show,” he said.
After a brief stint in lending, Stevens made the leap and became a successful financial advisor. He now advises clients at ClearPointe Financial Group, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services LLC.
With 24 years of experience in financial planning, Stevens is now focused on giving back. The scholarship Kevin Stevens funded will provide five $5,000 scholarships for Illinois State University students interested in the profession.
“Despite receiving financial aid, some students are still short of the amount needed to cover tuition,” he said. “I wanted my contributions to have an immediate impact and to cover that shortage.”
Adam Coughlin ’21, the first recipient of the scholarship, was drawn to financial planning because of the relationships advisors establish with their clients.
“The career combines the world of finance and investments with the intimacy of getting to know your clients on a personal level in order to best help them reach important financial milestones, like paying off a mortgage, financing their child’s education, or even affording something like a dream vacation around the world,” said Coughlin.
Like Stevens, Coughlin has learned to work hard, which made receiving the scholarship especially meaningful.
Coughlin’s father received two life-saving organ transplants, which meant the family could not provide much financial support for college expenses. Coughlin consequently loaded UPS trucks at 3:30 a.m. to pay for school. Thanks to his scholarship support, Coughlin started his career without any student debt.
“I have been through a lot of tough situations and have worked incredibly hard to get to where I am today, so to have a complete stranger help support my goals of achieving a college education honestly sent me to tears,” he said.
Coughlin is employed at a financial planning firm in Eugene, Oregon. He echoes Stevens in noting that working in financial planning can be very different from studying it. “There is very little in academia about how to deliver a plan and the best methods to use, but knowing how to adeptly communicate and implement a plan is such a critical aspect of this career and crucial to one’s long-term success,” said Coughlin.
Stevens is grateful to learn of the scholarship recipient’s success, which fuels his desire to help the next generation of financial advisors succeed. So does the reality that many people helped him throughout his own journey.
“It took a lot of effort, but a lot of people helped me along the way. My ISU education, along with managers and friends, were all pieces of the puzzle that brought me to where I am today,” said Stevens. “Now I’m ready to give back and make an impact.”
Scholarship support gives graduating students the edge they need to succeed in their careers. For more information, visit Giving.IllinoisState.edu.
Kevin Stevens, Private Wealth Advisor at ClearPointe Financial Group, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Office located at 1375 E Woodfield Rd, Ste 750, Schaumburg, IL. 60173. Phone 847.619.1111; Email firstname.lastname@example.org. This information is being provided only as a general source of information and is not intended to be the primary basis for investment decisions. It should not be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual investor. Please seek the advice of a financial advisor regarding your particular financial concern. Ameriprise Financial cannot guarantee future financial results. Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2021 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. 3673849ACMR0821