Welcome back to the 321st episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!
My guest on today's podcast is Danqin Fang. Danqin is a Lead Advisor for Austin Asset, an independent RIA based in Austin, Texas that oversees more than $1.3 billion in assets under management for nearly 400 client households.
What's unique about Danqin, though, is how she planned and executed a very intentional career path in the financial services industry that involved her leaving her homeland China, embracing a new language and culture in the United States while achieving her Master’s degree in Financial Planning, and proactively creating opportunities for herself by getting involved with industry associations and networking to advance in her career.
In this episode, we talk in-depth about how after a few mentors in China suggested that Danqin look into private banking and wealth management (as they felt it better suited her than her initial accounting major), she began Googling potential career paths in China but instead came across the CFP Board website and immediately connected with the description of a CFP professional, how Danqin realized that to get her CFP marks, she would need to leave China and pursue her education at an accredited institution in the U.S. but saw it as an opportunity to satisfy her desire to explore other cities and different cultures, and to follow a clearer career path (as in China, career paths in finance are much more ambiguous), and how Danqin ultimately navigated the complexities of relocating to another country and acclimating to a new culture and language so that she could take advantage of better opportunities to marry together her love of math and talking to people to become a financial planner.
We also talk about how, to maximize her time and the number of opportunities she could gain in her education and career in the US, Danqin created a plan that worked backwards from her ultimate goal of becoming a lead financial advisor and was intentional about everything from the school she selected to the internships she took to eventually achieve that goal, how Danqin proactively looked for opportunities to network, attend industry conferences, and be involved in local chapters of industry organizations, so that she could increase her probability of making connections with the right people in the industry to find better jobs (and those that would be willing to sponsor her work visa), and how, even though Danqin was already somewhat familiar with the English language, she took advantage of every chance to immerse herself in American culture and better her English with the intention that she could improve her relatability and communication, giving her greater success with future clients.
And be certain to listen to the end, where Danqin shares how she was surprised that despite feeling like she needed to blend into American culture, it was in embracing her authentic self that allowed her to truly connect and cross-cultural barriers with her clients, why, even though Danqin admits that she would have benefitted from more confidence earlier in her career journey, she is appreciative for the experiences she gained as without them, she would not have attained the knowledge she has and gotten to where she is in life and her career, and why Danqin feels it’s important for younger, newer advisors to get clear on their vision of where they see themselves in the future… so that they can figure out what they can control between here and there and work backwards to find the next step forward.
So, whether you’re interested in learning about why Danqin was so adamant about becoming a financial advisor that she uprooted her life to move to a foreign country, how being intentional about what steps to take in her career helped Danqin achieve her goal of becoming a financial advisor, or how, through professional and social groups, Danqin found a sense of community and never truly felt like an outsider, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, with Danqin Fang.
Resources Featured In This Episode:
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Michael: Welcome, Danqin Fang, to the "Financial Advisor Success" podcast.
Danqin: Thank you, Michael. I'm very excited to be here.
Michael: I'm really looking forward to today's discussion. And I think what will be an interesting conversation around the ways that our culture and our background kind of intersect being a financial advisor, and what we do as financial advisors. And just how we live our lives, and build our careers, and work with clients. I feel like there's sort of a phenomenon sometimes in the advisor world that we're a little homogeneous in kind of the group and the composition. Advisors are very disproportionately men, or very disproportionately white, or very disproportionately in their...well, sort of demographically from their late 40s until their early 60s, that's kind of where the bulk are. And on the one hand, just that creates challenges for anybody that comes to the advisor industry from any kind of different background, both in kind of relating to and navigating into the industry. And then just even what it's like to show up with clients where, if you don't look like that, you don't look like the "typical advisor."
And I know you've lived some really interesting versions of what to me are just navigating culture changes, both emigrating to the U.S. from having been born and grown up in another country, and then even just how culture changes within the U.S. Right? Certain states and metropolitan areas are very, very different than other parts of the country. And so, I'm just excited to talk about what it looks like as you get into the intersections of the cultures that we're from and the cultures that we live in, and how that shows up when you're trying to navigate a career as a financial advisor and build and grow yourself.
Danqin: Yeah, I know. It is very interesting now looking back, as you summarized some of my journeys. And I have to say that for sure, I did live a very interesting life, and it's still going on very interestingly. And I think that was the main reason I chose this path to immigrate to this country all by myself.
Why Danqin Was Inspired To Pursue A Career As Financial Advisor In The United States [05:54]
Michael: So, can you just give us, I guess, just a kind of context for the journey overall? I guess, how did you end out in a world where you immigrated from China to the U.S. to study financial planning, and go into wealth management?
Danqin: So, I think I can probably start from the background that I grew up with, which was a very small coastal town in China near Shanghai. And when I say small, we still had about 2 million population a few years ago.
Michael: I guess relative to a billion plus people in China, that's actually not a big city. Relative to the U.S., that's actually quite a large city.
Danqin: Not at all. We actually are living on the countryside, actually. And I went to a few different cities in China. The first city I went to is called Nanjing. And that was where my parents were living when I was...the time to enroll for my elementary school. Before I went to that city to live with my parents, I was actually living with my grandparents in my hometown. And so, that experience started from the get-go, just kind of shaped the path I'm going to take in the future, and how it influenced me to be very independent as early as I could be.
And from there, I went on to a bigger city called Shanghai. I just really got excited from all the different cultures and people from different parts of the world because Shanghai is really very international. And it just got me so interested in different cultures.
Michael: So, how old are you at this point? Where is this in just career life journey?
Danqin: When I was in Shanghai, I was there for four years, and that was the time I attended my college education there. And so, age-wise, I was 18 to 22.
Michael: Okay. And so, what were your college studies in? What was your degree in?
Danqin: I was studying accounting. Accounting/financial management. But when I graduated from high school, some of you may know that in China, there was this notorious college entrance exam, that it was pretty much 90% of the fact that is going to determine which university you are going to go to, and if you are going to be able to go to universities. And after that exam, part of it is to fill out your preferred choices of universities based on how well you think you did. Of course, it's going to be ranked by all your peers that took the test with you for that same year. And because there are always just limited seats in every university, and so there's always ranking and competition when you live in a country that has over a billion people.
And at that time, I wanted to study psychology because I just really am interested. I still am very interested in psychology. And my parents were also very practical. And they were concerned about my career path. If I...
Michael: As a psychology major or liberal arts graduate, I can attest to your parents' advice that, yeah, it was a neat thing to study, but I guess indirectly, financial planning touches on it a little bit. But yeah, I didn't land a career anywhere near that major.
Danqin: Exactly. And so, then I was looking at my other options. I ended up thinking, "Maybe business is the way to go. I don't know exactly what I want to do, but business seems to have a lot of jobs." And so, I chose business. And then once I chose the business category, I started looking at finance, accounting, and economics. At that time, I just realized, accounting probably is something more well-known from my situation back then, from my knowledge about what these subjects could lead to. And so, I ended up choosing an accounting major with a focus on the financial management of companies.
Michael: Okay. And so, I guess it sounds like this was primarily just practical career expediency decision more than anything else. I mean, did you have any actual interest in accounting, or numbers, or finances, or any of that, or this was just careers that will probably have job opportunities kind of decision?
Danqin: Yes. That was the primary motivation because I wanted to maximize my opportunity to stay in bigger cities, because I didn't want to go back to my hometown. And therefore, that was a very practical solution for trying to go for what I wanted in life. And the other reason I chose that is also because in high school, we started two separate subjects. So, I was already in math and science category instead of being in the literature and art category. And so, I always knew I'm very good with numbers. Math class was easy for me, and I was also very good with English classes as well, because I just really love the language of the English since I was a very young child.
And that seems to be a great combination to go for. And so, business in a bigger city with a lot of influence from English-speaking countries, and accounting seems to be like the bones of business because you needed to understand a company very well by knowing how accounting works. And so, I thought maybe I would start from there.
Michael: So, you go through that process, you get your accounting degree. So, then what happens next? Now you've graduated I guess in theory, time to find an accounting job in the big city.
Danqin: So, I started doing internships with accounting firms the third year, which you would call it junior in college, junior year. And I think I started even very early, like sophomore, when I was in sophomore year. I started going to network and trying to get internships from accounting firms. And if not, then maybe HR department. Anything that would get me a job, hopefully, more likely.
And so, I tried different departments with different companies and I realized, "Oh, I don't really see myself sitting behind this cubicle all day long. And yes, I'm good with numbers, but I can't just stare at my computer screen and read numbers all day long." So, I thought, "Oh, this is not going to be fun. Well, what can I do?" And luckily, because I was networking a lot, trying to find a job, or find an internship, and didn't know that some of the mentors I spoke with in the past for different reasons actually became very helpful in directing some directions for me at that moment in my junior year. And one of them had told me, "So, based on my knowledge about you, I think you might want to look into private banking or wealth management. You're going to love that because it does have a lot of people interactions that you enjoy doing, but it also will be a good career to have because you are also good with numbers, and you have the technical side of it."
And so, I got so excited. I just did exactly what everybody else would do, I started googling. And the next thing you know, the CFP board website popped up on the first page of my Google search. And I was like, "Oh, what is that?" I only knew CPA certification at that time because of majoring in accounting. And so, I clicked on it. And at that time, I didn't know why, but the Great China Wall, it's not there yet, so there was no blockage of certain foreign websites. And so, I was able to click the CFP website, and looked around, and I was so excited because I'm like, "Oh, yeah, that sounds like exactly what I want to do." And I was so pumped, "I'm ready to get that certification. I'm good at taking tests. All right."
Not until I read all the requirements. And one piece is education. It got me thinking, "Oh, apparently my school is not a registered program with this certification. And do they even have CFPs in China?" So, then I started googling CFPs in China. And there wasn't really anything I found back then. And so, that brought me to another question, "Oh, so it's something not in this country. But it's fine. I always wanted to live in a different country anyways, since high school, maybe it's a great time to combine both goals: my personal goals of having a different country experience and also my career goals to get into that wealth management and private banking space."
Michael: So, isn't there just some other career path that you follow to do private banking and wealth management in China that you could do that doesn't involve crossing an ocean for the CFP marks? What was pulling in the CFP marks versus just trying to figure out, "Well, let me find out whatever the thing is that I need to do this where I am in China. And I'll get that," whatever it is, whatever that license or designation is?
Danqin: So, at that time, there was not any clearly defined career path into private banking and wealth management. It was something that just very secretive, and not a lot of information available. And even when I was trying to talk to my mentors who pointed me to that direction, he told me that this is still a very new thing in China.
Michael: Okay. Interesting. So, as large as China is just by sheer numbers and quantity of people, it did not actually have a very deep wealth management marketplace with firms and career opportunities?
Danqin: Yes. Especially back in 2010, and that was the year I graduated from college. So, when I was searching all these things... So, it was sometime between 2008 and 2009. And back in 2008, we knew what happened in this country. And there was this ripple effect that in China, the stock market also tanked. And that was also a factor that prompted me to be so fascinated with the wealth management industry as well. And because of the secrecy of that business. And I just figured, "Okay, maybe there was not a way that I know how I can get to from an academic perspective. I graduated from college and maybe I can start somewhere. And then I know, after a few years, I'll get into that space." I wasn't seeing a clearly defined career path based on my research. So, I thought, "Okay, maybe I should look at different options."
And the more I read about CFPs on the CFP website, the more clearly it showed me that, "Oh, in other countries they do have a very defined path compared to what I am trying to figure out here. So, I don't have to worry about how to get into that space, as long as I follow that certification path, get the education from a registered program from their website, pass the exam, and get the experience you're required to have to get a certification and get certified. Voila, you are in the business already." So, I'm like, "Okay, I'll do that." So, that's just how it directed me to here.
Michael: Well, I'm struck by that in part, because again, just different worlds and perspectives. I feel like there are a lot of advisors here that are negative and complain about the state of career paths and financial planning now, and probably more so 10 years ago, but throughout. That it's not clear what firms you go to, and it's not really clear how you grow and how you move up. And different firms have different standards about what it takes to be a lead advisor, and what it takes to become a partner.
And so, I'm fascinated from your perspective to say, "Oh, no, compared to China, you all have an amazingly clear career path. There's a certification, it's got a body of knowledge. You can study it, you can pass the exam, you get the experience. And then you've got a certification, and you can go find opportunities."
Danqin: Yeah. And there was also a very important detail I just remembered, and I felt like I wanted to share, is that during my research, I also stumbled into the Ameriprise website. And based on the description of an Ameriprise advisor, I just felt like, "Oh, my God, that's exactly what I'm looking for. I can totally see myself being one of those Ameriprise financial advisors." At that time, I may not know exactly how the path might figure out, what's the difference of fee-only, fee-based, none of that. But interestingly enough, those information pieces that I found via Google put together... was able to allow me to put together a vision that I see myself heading to. And then I just did it.
How Adapting To A New Culture Helped Danqin Find Her Authentic Self [21:47]
Michael: So, what came next in terms of the actual "go and did it" part? So, you finished your accounting degree. You realize you don't want to do accounting. And there's really no particular career path into wealth management or private banking in China. You found the CFP marks, and this world of wealth management in the U.S., but you're in Shanghai. So, what comes next as 22-year-old recent college graduate you trying to figure out where to go?
Danqin: As I reflect about my experiences, I realized that I'm a very methodical person. I don't just jump into something without really doing a lot of research, so I can feel comfortable knowing what I'm getting into. And so, when I found out that it looks like I may need to go to a different country, even though I kind of think it would be a very cool thing to do, but I needed to be prepared for it to get to know what I'm getting into. And so, when I decided that I would choose United States to pursue this designation and to pursue this career, I asked myself, "Maybe I should take a look at this country, and maybe go there for a summer to see if I really see myself there."
And so, the summer before my senior year, we had the exchange program that was allowing me to travel and also work part-time in some of the jobs that they had contracted with, like those seasonal workers. And I chose that also because I wanted to make sure financially, I'm not in a deep hole because of the currency exchange rate back then. It would be a small fortune that would cost my parents, and I didn't want to do that. So, when I found out this part-time summer work program and travel program together, I was very excited.
So, I signed up. And I was supposed to become one of those cashiers in Yellowstone National Park, and have a great time, but I signed up for it too Late. And so, I worked really hard trying to convince them to still include me in the program. And so, they were able to match me to a summer job in a Sonic chain restaurant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Michael: So, you're like, "I just want to check out the U.S. for a bit, and see what it's like." Your formative experience for that was being a cashier at a Sonic in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Danqin: Yeah, actually, the position is called car hopper.
Michael: Excellent. Got it.
Danqin: And without knowing what I was getting into, but it checked the boxes of what I was looking for. First, it's not a huge financial burden for my parents. Second, I get to come to this country and travel. And third, I get to really understand if I see myself living here or not. So, have the opportunity to test run it. And I just went with it. I said, "Great, checked all the boxes. Go."
And I really loved it. And I also learned different accents. When I was trying to do my best to take the orders, and then had to act fast on the ordering machine, memorize different components. And then go off to make the drinks, waiting for the food to be getting ready. And then I had to fight for getting the order delivered out because that's the only time you got tips. So, if you're a maid in the kitchen, you don't get tips.
And then I also applied for an ambassador program that was created within that company that organized everything for this bringing international students into this summer work and travel program. So, I was able to be selected and to represent my country to fly into Austin, Texas, for about a week. And of course, I had a great experience in Austin, literally the best experience from my whole summer. And I just fell in love with Austin. I was like, "Oh, I can see myself coming back here, and do my master's degree in education, and live here. Oh, I love the people here. I love the breakfast taco on the street. Awesome." And the hospitality of people here. Oh, wow, really great.
And when I was looking at schools on the CFP registered program list, I paid special attention to Texas. Thinking Austin equals Texas. And I had a great experience in Austin. I must, will have great experience in Texas. And so, I didn't know what I was getting into. And so, I chose Lubbock. Didn't know that it would be very different, but it's still in Texas. And so, then I decided, "Okay."
Michael: So, you had a good experience with the visit to the U.S., "I want to do financial planning. I'm comfortable that this transition in the U.S. will work well." So, you started looking for Texas-based CFP programs and found your way to Texas Tech.
Danqin: Yeah. And then the other 2 programs I applied for was Bentley College in Waltham, Massachusetts, and Golden Gate in San Francisco. And so, between Boston, San Francisco, and Lubbock, Texas, I chose Lubbock, Texas. During the recruiting process, I had a request to interview all the program directors from the schools I applied for, and only Texas Tech responded with warmth. And I remember the professor back then who was in charge with the recruiting, he told me, "Typically, we don't need to do that. But we are happy to chat with you. We understand you're coming from a different country. You want to make sure you are making the right decision." And so, we really had a great conversation.
And in the end, I was so touched by his comment saying, "Tell your parents we will take great care of you." And that was the moment the decision was made. No more questions, no more debates. Even though the other two schools offered me a lot of scholarships. And I just thought, "Oh, wow, this will be the choice." And so, I just went along with my gut feeling.
Michael: And so, at this point, this is into... because you had your undergrad. So, I guess this is the master's in financial planning program at Texas Tech.
Danqin: And the reason for that is that I had to have some narrative to convince my parents to pay for so much to go study abroad, because if I just say, "Oh, I'm getting a certificate program," because I wanted to get this certification, they probably wouldn't be very convinced. And so, I kind of had to work on that end as well. "Oh, hey, I'm getting a master's degree. And then they were like, "Okay."
Michael: Can't get that for "just a certificate program." Like, "I'm getting my master's in the U.S.," that sounds great.
Michael: So, then what is that transition like when just you go from China, from Shanghai to Lubbock, Texas, which just is a very different...is a small town unto itself. I mean, you said, your hometown was a small town of only 2 million people. I don't know exactly what Lubbock's size is, but I think that's like 200,000.
Danqin: 200,000, yes.
Michael: So, you're at a whole other level of small town. Having said that, part of the thing that you enjoyed was wanting to be in large towns. So, different country, different city, different size. So, what was it like when you got to Lubbock?
Danqin: I knew it would be different. And because I prepared for it, and so I wasn't really shocked at all. I was literally just seeing the differences that I had anticipated that would come through in my daily life. Like going to the classes and having all American friends. Because at that time in our program, there were very few international students. And in that semester particular that I was enrolled into, there was no other international student from China, but there were a few from Mexico and other countries. And so, still a minority in the program as well. And I knew that I had to quickly adapt to that difference, even though I anticipated the difference. But still, there was this process of trying to make sure I make good friends here, choose wisely who to do the group project with because I'm here making sure my grades are all great so I can get a job.
And so, sometimes I may be very ignorant at the beginning coming into this culture. That also kind of gives me the freedom to find out who I am really, and what I value, and I really enjoyed that. When I was in China, I grew up from that culture, so I knew I can read people's minds. I knew what people are expecting out of me, like those social cues, social norms that are preprogramed. But when I went to Lubbock, that was gone. I was thrown into this new water. And I had no pre-study about the waves and the currents there.
And so, I started to ask myself, "Okay, so then what can I base off? Oh, maybe that's the time to base off everything that's about me." And so, I started just trying to really be myself, and then use that as a way to filter out who I want to make friends with, and what classes I wanted to take, where it may lead to, and what work I need to do in addition.
Michael: So, the whole dynamic of being in a world that was so completely different culturally meant everything you learned about how you're supposed to interact with other people is just different, right? It's different in different cultures. Just all the social norms and expectations, or many of the social norms and expectations, are different. And so, from your end, because you couldn't use any of just the cultural cues that you learned and grew up with, your version of handling it was that "I'm just basically going to pick the things that I like and care about, I'm just going to make that the norm for me. Since I'm living a grand reset anyways, I may as well just do the one that I want."
Danqin: Exactly. And that was such a blessing because I felt so liberated. And I just remember whenever I travel back to China to visit my home and family, the second the plane landed in the Shanghai airport, and I walked out of the aircraft, I immediately felt like I was switched into a completely different program and setup. And just instantaneously. And I just felt, "Oh, I like to be an outsider, actually. I could be very free."
Mapping Out A Career Path By Using Intentionality And Working Backwards From A Goal [34:32]
Michael: Interesting. So, what happens next as you're going through Texas Tech. I guess, just how did the program go for you being there? By U.S. standards, Texas Tech is very well known as one of the leading financial planning programs, was one of the earliest pioneers into financial planning in a college program. But how did you experience it for your journey?
Danqin: As expected, I was good at numbers, so all the classes that involved numbers were easy for me. And I remember the hardest class I found was the business law class that I had to take. And it's just such a foreign language to me because of how the business law environment is so different here than in China. And how many legal jargons are there on the textbook. And I was also, at that time, not fast enough to write my answers in English, if the answer takes a few paragraphs.
And so, I spent a lot of time trying to make sure I get good grades from that class. And other than that, I think the transition was really pleasant because I was prepared. I was anticipating the differences. And aside from focusing on schoolwork, I was also hanging out with a lot of church group people. And I think the thing that I got involved with that was because of the free lunches. I have to say that they have a way to really make it easy for people to understand what they are trying to help people with. And I started hanging out with them because I wanted to have every opportunity to understand the culture. Like I was the SpongeBob style of rushed, really wanted to absorb everything I can. I wanted to fit in so badly. And especially knowing the private wealth management business needs me to fit in very well because I'm going to deal with all that. My clients will be all these people, and I needed them to like me. I needed them to understand that I understand them.
So, I started asking a lot of questions, and they were very welcoming. And they kept feeding me with their free lunches. And kept helping me to understand their perspective. And that was the time I had a lot of fun as well. I didn't do much with my own belief or religion back then. But it did really open an opportunity for me to understand a lot more than what I didn't even know about the culture here, about the population here. And so, that was another major transition for me as well. And the last thing I remember was just a lot of fond memories that how welcoming the people are. And they just opened their homes for me during Thanksgiving holidays, and Christmas parties, because they knew I was the only person there without family, coming from a different country.
And so, I never felt lonely, surprisingly. Yes, I do miss home. I do miss my parents, but I never felt alone. I always felt that I was surrounded by a group and a community. And I think that was probably really important for me to develop this idea of, "Oh, I could see myself staying in this country." So, yeah, that was my transition experience. Very positive.
Michael: Interesting. So, the path ultimately was all about coming to the U.S. because it's got this structured career track, where you get the education, and then you pass the exam, and you get the experience, and then you've got the certification, and you can go get jobs from there. So, how did that play out for you in practice? You went to Texas Tech to get your master's in financial planning. So, what happened as you finished the program and had to do the next step?
Danqin: Because I came with a clear purpose. And so, I was very intentional the first day I walked into that campus. I knew I wanted to do as best as I can to accomplish all those things I came here for. And so, I worked backwards. So, on the very first day, I asked myself, "In 2 years, I'm going to graduate, and I'm going to need to find a job. And what do I want my resume to look like? What are the elements that need to be on there?" And so, then I started working one after one. And a major part is internships. I knew that I needed to get as many internships as possible, as much experience as possible, so I can not only expand my network, but also have a higher chance to be hired for those companies that they may have a very positive internship experience with me. And that was one pillar.
And then the other pillar was this business is going to have a much better success for me if I can really start networking and feel comfortable networking as early as possible. And after I found out that our program actually takes students to those industry conferences, like FPA. And I just signed up for everyone that every semester they offered. And I went there, and instead of hanging out with my peers, I'm always out there mingling, mixing, talking to different people, and hoping to get opportunities. And that helped as well because, matter of fact, all my internship opportunities came from my networking, not so much about applying a job from a posting I saw on the internet. Because at the very beginning, I knew my hurdle. I knew that extra hurdle I need to overcome compared to my American fellow students, that I have to show the employers that why I am worthy of them going one extra mile to hire me.
And so, that focus, that intention helped me really well. And so, of course, I kept great grades from schools for every class. And I maintained very good relationships with every professor that I took classes with, because I also knew they could be my endorsements by the time it comes when I need to look for a job. And all these elements helped. And then the other thing I learned is that I needed to be involved with communities and organizations because that's also another channel for me to expand my network. And so, I got into the Student Governing Committee of the Personal Financial Planning Association. It's kind of a student chapter of FPA within our department, and I served on the board for a little bit over a year. And that really helped me to understand a lot better about how to work with people from different cultures. And it also gave me a lot of exposure and opportunities to work with my professors closely, to work with some of the industry professionals closely.
And so, all of these really served me well. By the time it came, when I was about to graduate, I had some promising opportunities that I was talking to already, way before I approached graduation. And that, ultimately, helped me to get my first full-time job, was Evensky & Katz. And of course, I was benefited from being the teaching assistant for Harold, and also for John, who is another partner of the firm. And because I had the opportunity to let them understand how great it would be to work with me. And I think that played very well when those potential employer interviewers asked their opinion about me, and they said nothing but really good comments about me. And so, I was very grateful that I was able to continue the path I kind of visioned myself heading towards to.
Michael: I am struck by just the sheer level of intentionality that you had as you were pursuing this of, "I wanted to create more opportunities for jobs, so I went and got every internship that I could so that I would have more experience in my resume. And then ideally, I would get internships that could even turn into a job if they wanted to hire me on full time. And I also kept good grades and good relationships with the professors that could give me endorsements. And then when I went to conferences, I didn't hang out with the other students. I went and tried to mix and network with the advisors so I could find the internships to find the opportunities to leverage the endorsements to get the job. And then got immersed into the community organizations like the student chapter of FPA to build around that experience, and that networking as well."
Danqin: Yeah. I guess I didn't think of going back to China at the time of graduation was my option. I felt like I had no other options because I wanted this. I came here, my parents paid so much for it, even though I got a teaching assistantship job the second year. So, I started being financially independent starting second year. I just felt like I needed to make it happen for myself. I really needed it to work. There's no other way that I can accept. And so, that's probably why I was so motivated.
Michael: So, I have to ask, did you have any concerns as you were then looking at this from the career end around language gap, culture gaps, grades? It's one thing to be navigating that as a student. It's another to be navigating that when you're trying to make that your full-time job, in theory, even more so when you're trying to navigate that while building relationships with clients?
Danqin: That was also why I was so eager to blend in. It's like this total different species landed in this program, and this industry. And how can I blend in as quickly as possible? Because I wanted my future clients to feel comfortable working with me. And and the culture, the language are definitely very important, especially the verbal communications. And so, I was really doing everything I could at that time to improve my verbal communication skills, and to understand the culture as best as I can. I even went to the football games in Texas Tech and trying to…
Michael: That is a cultural experience unto itself.
Danqin: Exactly. "What the whole tailgating is about, right?" And what are people interested here in this country, or in this part of the world? And so, yes, I did have those concerns. And I knew it takes me time to get better because those things are also coming...they came with experiences as well. And so, at the same time, I was telling myself, "As long as I'm heading towards that direction, I'll get there. It may just not be as quickly as I hope. But I can only focus on what I can do now. And I'm going to do the best I can for things I can do now. And when tomorrow rolls around, I'll just tackle the new set of challenges." And that's sort of how it kept me going.
Michael: So, what was the first job? What did you end out with as a first job?
Danqin: I landed in. ..actually, it's Mosaic. It's the firm in San Francisco. And I ran into the founder of that firm in one of those FPA conferences. And at that time, I was so, so motivated because that was probably a year before I graduated. And I knew I needed to really start doing something to get an advisor internship. And so, I literally printed my resumes. And when others are walking around the exhibit hall of those conferences booths to look at the products, the vendors, I was literally walking around, aisle by aisle with my printed resume handy to hand out.
And that founder of that firm, he also co-founded another technology company for IPS back then. And so, he was in the exhibit booth, one of those, and trying to represent that product. And somehow, we talked. And I didn't even know what job they may provide. I just asked, "Okay, so are you hiring? Here's my resume." And so, then we got connected. And he didn't tell me right away he was also an advisor or anything like that. So, my understanding was, "Oh, you created this product that advisors will use. And so, if you know anybody hires, even if you are not hiring, here's my resume." And then a few weeks after the conference, he actually reached out to me. And at that time, I never got the email because somehow it got...
Michael: Oh, no. You actually got an opportunity, gotten the follow up, and then you didn't get the email.
Danqin: Yeah. So, I went radio silent from his experience, never responded. And so, he... I guess I made an impression, so he actually was persistent enough to reach out to Deena. And he was like, "Hey, I met one of your students in this conference. And we are looking to hire a summer intern. And I reached out to her, but she never responded. I felt like maybe you could help me figure out what's happening." And then I realized, "Oh, my god, I never got this email." And I started to realize, "Maybe I need to check all my junk emails very diligently going forward." Which I did, and it turned out to be...yeah, it was caught by the spam folder. So, I, of course, responded right away, and then got connected with him. And then that was my very first advisory internships full-time job. It was the summer of 2012, and I actually stayed for 3 months. And I really learned a lot and had a blast there.
How Danqin Found The Confidence To Communicate Her Desired Career Path [51:23]
Michael: Very cool. So, what happens once you get to graduation?
Danqin: At that time, I was offered a job from Evensky & Katz first. And then I was also talking to a firm in Fort Worth, Dallas area. And they are also, in the interview, they are verbally assuring me that they very likely are going to hire me. But Evensky & Katz job offer came first, and I was very excited. I guess the knowledge I know about Evensky & Katz through Deena and Harold also helped me to feel very comfortable to make my decision very quickly. As soon as I heard that, "Oh, we are going to sponsor you work visa." That sealed the deal. I'm like, "I'm not going to wait for any other not-so-sure-about kind of opportunities anymore." As soon as I heard that word, I'm like, "All right," I said yes right away. You know how nowadays when we look back, we'll be like, "Hey, you might also wanted to learn about negotiating. This is something you will encountered in your career." At that time, I was like, "Oh, no, I wasn't in that situation to negotiate. I needed that work visa." That was all it takes.
Michael: So, what was the job? And so, now you're essentially pursuing an entry level job. You have the education, you don't have any experience yet. Did you take the exam?
Danqin: Yes, I did. When I was doing my internship in San Francisco, I actually took the exam that summer, and I passed it. And so, by the time I was looking for a full-time job in my last semester, I was able to put on my resume, already passed the CFP exam. And that was also one of my plan, because I knew I needed to have some competitive advantage compared to other students.
Michael: So, I guess just from the classes, and you had enough classes done with the first part of your program to be able to sit for the CFP exam, even though you hadn't actually finished all the classes in the program?
Danqin: Yes, correct.
Michael: Okay. So, what was the first job at Evensky & Katz?
Danqin: They have a paraplanner career path, which then progresses into a planner. So, very similar to a lot of the RIA firms that they are offering, bring on somebody to be at the supporting advisor role, and then groom them into a lead advisor role. But the titles were called very differently. So, at Evensky & Katz, even though it was the equivalent of a paraplanner position, it was named as a financial analyst in the job title.
Michael: Okay. And so, where was this? Because I know Evensky & Katz because they have some involvement with Texas Tech. They have offices in Lubbock. So, was this continuing in Lubbock, or was this off to a new location?
Danqin: No, that was Miami because they had more growth, and more need to hire a supporting role in Miami office than the Lubbock office. Because back then, the Lubbock office was still trying to grow and be more established. And they were also able to have students going work part-time for them to perform their support role. So, they did not really need to hire full-time support at that time, and especially just a year before me, before my graduation, there was another girl who came from Lubbock, loves Lubbock, stayed in Lubbock, was just hired as their full-time paraplanner. So, they didn't really have opportunities to hire.
And for me, I really enjoyed my time living in Lubbock for those 2 years, but I did not think I would want to stay in Lubbock forever. So, when they told me it's Miami, I was unknowing what that means, I just felt, "Wow, great. It's a bigger city, at least." And without visiting Miami before I actually moved there, I had no idea Miami could be so different. I just thought, "Oh, I've been to Chicago. I love it. I've been to San Francisco. I love it. I've been to Dallas. I love it. I've been to Orlando for conference. I love it. Okay, I'm just going to love every city I go anyway. Okay, we'll go."
Michael: So, I guess, then speaking of the dynamics of moving and transitioning to different cultures. So, what happened with the transition when you make this shift and go to Miami?
Danqin: At first, I was still too excited about getting this great opportunity, and the move, and trying to explore the city. So, at first it was all like, everything is new, everything's exciting, everything's great. After a few months, I started to realize, "Oh, it's actually different." The hospitality I am accustomed to by living in Texas was not very obvious here. And…
Michael: Not quite the same sort of Southern hospitality you get from... either Baton Rouge, Louisiana or Lubbock is not the same when you get to Miami.
Danqin: Yeah. That's how I learned the concept of Southern hospitality. I was like, "Oh, definitely not. I'm still in the South but not feeling that here in Miami." And the other thing I felt was that I had never traveled to South America or Spain before, back then. And I knew nothing about Spanish culture. I was all over the English culture, the English language. I was so busy to blend in, to learn, to become part of the group here. And I had no room or no thoughts or idea to be exposed to a third culture. And that's the Latin Spanish culture. And I just never saw that coming. It was not in my vision. And so, that was really a big shock for me. Especially in Miami, because it's such a big city blended in with so many different sub-Latino cultures from different parts of South America. And it was really hard for me to navigate because I just didn't feel how and where to start. And also, I was resistant in learning Spanish the first few years I was there because I was thinking, "Oh, I need to blend in the English culture here. I need to continue learning English. I cannot learn another language here."
Michael: So, what did you do?
Danqin: I did learn a few things. And I actually started going to a community college to learn some basic Spanish so I can at least get around going to restaurants, and not the restaurants on Main Street, but those very local, great, hidden-gem type of restaurants. So, at least I could enjoy living here a little bit better. And so, I started doing that so I can survive without relying on my Spanish friends there.
Michael: I'm struck by that, though. Just you're done with college and a master's degree, but you're in an environment with a high Spanish speaking population while learning Spanish. So, you like you went back to community college to get a class in Spanish.
Danqin: Yeah, because I figured I needed to be basically fluent in Spanish so I can get by. And I can understand the culture of that city better. And so, that's what I did. And still, I felt there were a lot of differences in what I like because I think as you live and be exposed to different environments and cultures, you start to really understand yourself better as you get more experienced. And I realized that it was really important for me to live in a city where I feel the vibe is very relaxing and friendly. And that was the opposite of what Miami was. Miami was all about excitement, stimulations. And I do enjoy being spontaneous when traveling, but I do prefer to plan out for things to do so I know what to expect. And so, that was really a difficult thing for me to see myself living there permanently.
And the other thing was that Miami is very international. So, that was something I liked about it because I felt like everyone was coming from a different part of the world. And so, no one would say, "You are an outsider. I'm a local," right? So, I kind of like that part about Miami. But at the same time, strangely enough, I didn't experience the ease of making friends in such an international city. I felt like a lot of the people there, they kind of have their own circles already, and they were not that eager to expand their circles. And that was really hard for me because even when I was in Lubbock, and being such a different person, coming from a different culture, compared to the image that people think about Lubbock, I did not feel like I found it hard to make friends, and find my circle of support and community there.
But that was not easy for me in Miami. And I started to think, "Oh, maybe it's just not for me. It's kind of interesting because I have never experienced that before." And so, it became really hard.
And at the same time, it was killing me because my career was progressing nicely. And it was really hard for me to consider leaving Evensky & Katz at that time. And so, that was really difficult.
Michael: So, what happened next? How do you deal with... because I'm struck, all the city and some places you'd gone to, seems like all of them you were pretty happy with. They varied, but all of them you were pretty happy with, until suddenly you get to one that's not.
Danqin: Yeah, I know. So, I started to have a few ways to redirect my energy and frustration. And as I was progressing in my career, I thought, "Oh, maybe I can study more, maybe get a CFA," because at that time, I was observing in meetings, taking notes, being a support advisor, follow up afterwards. And I realized there were a lot of conversations in the meeting that are directed to investments. And as somebody coming into the industry that doesn't have the advantage to chat about football or baseball with future clients and doesn't have the advantage to connect with the experience of growing up here in the same country. And I ask myself, "What can I bring to the table for them to really want to work with me?"
And I realized, "Well, I'll just be really good at what I do." And so, I started to think, "Okay, if a lot of the conversations were directed to investment topics, although I got the CFP certification already, maybe I should look into the CFA." And a few years before that time, I had heard about how challenging the CFA certification is. And so, I was also a little bit scared. I was like, "Do I really want to do this? Is it going to really benefit me?" So, again, when I wasn't sure what to do, I started to work from the back end again.
And so, I started to think, "Okay, in the few years where do I want to go? Oh, I wanted to be a lead advisor. Okay, so to be a lead advisor, what skills do I need to have? And I guess, oh, if clients are talking about investments a lot, and maybe to have some more in-depth training and certification investments, probably would be more convincing for them to trust me." And so, after knowing what I want for that part of the reason, I decided, "Okay, I'm young, my memory is still very good. I don't even have a dog. I don't have any other distractions in life. Not really…”
Michael: Comfortable taking big hard tests.
Danqin: Yeah. Comfortable. Yes. I've been trained to be good at taking tests, and so I decided to do it. And 3 years later, I got it. And I was, "Oh, that was 3 years I didn't have to worry about how miserable I was living in Miami."
Michael: So, basically, being fully immersed into that was the good distraction to not need to worry about much else.
Danqin: Yeah. And then 3 years later, now what? Because now I have all the free time back again. And that's how I started traveling internationally. And I started to just backpacking Europe, recharge, get myself recharged every summer for about 10 days or 2 weeks. And then come back to Miami to be able to make it to the next big trip. And that lasted for maybe 2 or 3 years, and also quickly was not sustainable. And I started to feel stuck in this loop that I kept trying to distract myself. But no distraction is sustainable. It always come to the point that, "Okay, it doesn't work anymore."
And so, I remember I had that awakening moment when I was traveling on the streets of Berlin around 3 a.m., before I was about to catch the return flight back to Miami. All of a sudden, I asked myself, "I'm feeling so happy right now. And why is that? And the thinking about catching the flight back to Miami, even that thought immediately started to make me feel dreadful. And why is that?" And at that time, I have heard enough theories from all kinds of personal development books talking about, "Hey, mindset and perception is really what determines your experience, what your experience is."
And I asked myself, "You know what, maybe this is an opportunity to test that theory. To see if it actually works that way or not. What's to lose here?" I'm kind of still in a situation that I cannot leave Miami right away, because I got a great career going on there now. And I was also in the middle of my immigration process. And so, for the time that I will stay in Miami, and I felt like I deserve to live there happy every day. I'm not sure how much longer I will be there, but my career's going on great. I really love it. And I just don't want to leave because of some reasons that I couldn't reconcile myself. And so, I started to just give it a try.
And surprisingly, things start to shift when your perspective shifted. And instead of complaining why I don't like Miami to friends and families, I started to look for what Miami is offering me that other cities may not be able to offer me. And so, just that little mind-shift change started to allow me to enjoy living there a lot better. And that's how I got into yoga. Because the weather is warm all year around.
And so, as I started to get to know better about myself, about all these things professionally, I started to realize that it might be time for me to start a new journey. Again, I started to work backwards because it was hard to leave because I got very comfortable doing what I was doing. And everything was just so easy at work for me. And clients love me, and I love them, especially some clients I feel really connected with. And I started to fall in love with Miami. I see myself having a blast there. And it starts to get hard when I have a new challenge developed.
And so, I asked myself, "Okay, so in a few years, where do I see myself?" And I'm like, "Oh, I wanted to be a lead advisor. I wanted to be in an environment that the team coach or the values, the long-term vision are aligned with what I think is the best for me. And then I started to think, "Okay, so how can I get there?"
Michael: So, was the concern, did you not feel like you had a path to lead advisor at the firm that you were at?
Danqin: They did have a career path for any support advisor to be progressive to the lead advisor, which they call it wealth manager. There was a career path, but I felt there was probably a misalignment of expectations about the speed of the career path.
And when I was going through my immigration process, I was very fearful about creating conflicts or creating difficult conversations. So, I tried my best to minimize everything that I think potentially may be conflicting. And so, I wasn't speaking up early enough when I felt what I wanted in my career and asking for help to design a path that may be more aligned with what I think I can accomplish versus what they had in their mind about my career progression.
And so, a few years went by. And by the time I felt I was really hitting the ceiling, hitting the limit to be patient, I started to realize this probably is the time that I needed to do something about it. And so, I started trying to communicate but I think that the misalignment of expectations probably is not some small gap that I can overcome, or that I would see myself to be able to work with. And so, therefore, I decided to do something different.
Michael: So, where did you ultimately go and how did you pursue the transition?
Danqin: So, then COVID hit, so that's thrown a lot of complications for everyone back then. So, we started working from home. And I think it was really the COVID time, the quarantine, the situation that the world is now upside down really made me or really pushed me to think about what I really want in a few years for myself. Where do I see myself going to? And so, that really accelerated the whole process for me to get more clarity with the direction I want to go to. And also got me more motivation to start doing things that I felt like I have control of to get myself to that end. And so, what I started doing was I first started to list what are the things and values that are important for me to look for if I was to go to the next opportunity, because we are in the relationship-building business. And I don't want to jump around, "Oh, it doesn't work." And then 2 years later, again.
That's not efficient. And based on my experience with building relationships with clients at Evensky & Katz, I just felt like it would be really best for the clients, for me, and also for my career progression if I'm more diligent upfront choosing what I'm getting into next. And so, with that mindset, I started actively looking out for opportunities and networking. And because of COVID, I couldn't really do the networking I was doing before. And so, I just started doing it virtually, everything was moving to virtual. Same thing with the job search. So, I started looking at LinkedIn, and I started looking at other websites like the CFP, the NAPFA.
And then I also started networking because back then, I was serving as a president of the FPA Miami chapter. And so, that allowed me to be able to still expand my exposure to a lot of professionals of their network as well. So, at least I get to increase my likelihood to really get the opportunity that I want next that would be ideal for me. And so, there were a lot of different companies I talked to, and a lot of conversations I had formally or informally with different mentors I have in the industry. And after about 6 to 7 months of really intentional efforts, things start to come back in fruition.
And it was also stressful too because it was another time to reassess myself and to rethink that I thought this might be important to me, but is it really important to me? And so, that's why that process took longer because every time I had a formal or informal interview with a firm or a person, it gave me some new information about the industry. And it gave me something new that I have to think about, "Okay, do I need to adjust my course accordingly or not?" And so, it took a little bit longer than I hoped, but in the end, it worked out very well for me, and I was so happy to be connected with the company here that I'm working for. And I really felt Austin is a great city for me to see myself here for a very long time.
Michael: And so, what firm did you land in, and what role did you end out with?
Danqin: So, the company I'm working for is Austin Asset, and my role is the lead advisor.
Michael: And so, you couldn't get a clear enough path where you were. But ultimately, by changing firms, you just actually got the lead advisor seat you wanted outright.
Danqin: Yes. I was speaking to a lot of other firms, and they always wanted me to maybe start with a more supportive advisor role, and maybe groom me into it. And I just had a very crystal-clear preference that I have been a support advisor long enough that I felt I'm ready for it. And I wanted to be ready for it. And I wanted to be in an environment with a company that sees that in me and believes in me. And so, yeah.
Michael: And how long were you at the prior firm building that experience in the support role before getting the opportunity for the lead role?
Danqin: It was from 2013, I started with them, and I left Miami in 2021.
Michael: So, 8 years.
Danqin: Yeah, 8 years.
The Surprises And Low Points Danqin Experienced On Her Journey [1:18:38]
Michael: 8 years, okay. So, what surprised you the most about building your career as an advisor relative to the career track you were expecting when you saw it on the CFP board website all those years ago?
Danqin: I had always felt that I needed to blend in to be successful at this business. Actually, I think I was very fortunate timing to be able to embrace my differences and still will be successful. And I think that was something I never saw it, what evolved like this. And that's great news because I feel so comfortable right now. I may still not be able to connect with some clients on baseball or football, or some of the shows they watched when they grew up because I did not watch those shows, or listen to the same music. But I felt like the fundamental needs about those clients are really wanting to be able to trust somebody and also wanting to be able to like their advisor. And to be able to be genuinely, authentically heard, and not being judged. And I felt like this doesn't really have a language barrier, or have a cultural barrier, because that's pretty much we all share as human beings. We all want that part, want that stuff.
Michael: So, what was the low point for you on this journey?
Danqin: The low point probably was the times that I had to navigate through all these challenges that I did not anticipate in Miami at my prior firm, both personally and professionally. I think one of the low points I felt was that I started with my prior firm as a paraplanner role coming out of college and trying to be as supportive as possible to do my job. And I have become a very good support advisor. And otherwise, they would not keep me for 8 years there. And they sponsored me to finish the whole immigration process, which I'm very grateful of. So, as I started to grow, I felt that it was a low point for me to realize, or at least how I perceived the feedback I got, maybe indirectly, was that it was really hard for my growth and my skill sets to be seen and perceived by them to really change that original image of me, that being this great supportive financial analyst.
Michael: So, you kind of got stuck in the...because you came in as a paraplanner and analyst, and you were so good at being a paraplanner and an analyst, they seem to have trouble seeing you move to a different role.
Danqin: I don't think they have trouble seeing me moving to a different role. They were very happy to help me to grow into a different role that I wanted to go to. I think just that the misalignment of expectations made me feel that they probably were not even aware themselves that I have outgrown a lot quicker than what they might have in plan for me, or they might see among others that has grown from my role to the next.
The Advice Danqin Would Give Her Former Self And Younger, Newer Advisors [1:22:32]
Michael: So, anything else that you know now that you wish you could go back and tell you 10 or 15 years ago, as you were finishing your accounting degree, and found that CFP website and was thinking about this as a career? What do you know now you wish you could tell yourself from back then?
Danqin: I would try to tell myself to have more confidence in myself, because a lot of times when you are trying to go to a new environment, take on a new challenge, doing something new, experimenting with something new, because of the lack of knowledge and experience, it's very intuitive and easy for us to feel not as confident in ourselves, and as not sure about ourselves. And in retrospect, looking from now to the time that I started this journey, I felt I had a lot more to feel comfortable and confident with myself that I knew about myself back then. And so, that will be something if I were to do it all over again, I probably would hope that could be a little bit different.
And then because that ties to me not feeling comfortable enough to speak up when I feel there may be some misalignment in expectations. Because I wasn't feeling as confident. I was still trying to get there, and I just didn't have all the knowledge I have now. And so, that would be something probably would turn out a lot better if I was more confident. And that ties also to really be my own champion of my own career development instead of expecting or waiting for others to see your growth, your progression. And so, that was the first big lesson I learned, and I would hope that I had knew back then. And the other thing would be really to have more empathy and gratitude about everything that happens in life professionally and personally.
Michael: I feel like we could all use a little bit more of that from time to time.
Danqin: Yeah. The thing that... there's a quote that says, "Everything is happening for you, not to you." And it's hard to believe in that when you are in the midst of all these struggles and challenges. But my experience has told me when I move forward and I look back in retrospect, it has always been true that if I had not experienced that, I probably wouldn't be here. If I didn't struggle with this, I probably wouldn't know that. And so, that was really a profound lesson I learned. And it just really is something I always try to remind myself again, because I now also have experience and have new challenges here, too. And maybe it's not yet. I don't know yet, but I'm sure there will be. And so, I just wanted to be able to navigate better and more skillfully than 10 years ago or maybe 5 years ago.
Michael: So, any other advice you would give to younger, newer advisors who are getting started today and want to be in that lead advisor position eight years from now?
Danqin: I think one thing probably is important that serves me well is really to have a vision or ask yourself where do you see yourself going, or where do you want yourself going in a few years? And hopefully, that would provide a lot of clarity for the decisions that we may have to make at that time. And so, that has served me well. And so, I hope this could also be something helpful for the others. And the other thing I also wanted to share that hopefully is helpful for others is that focus on what we can control because that is pretty much everything in life. And that's also the exciting part of life, is that we always are going to have something we can be in control of, but something we don't have full control at the same time. And so, try to tune out the noises, and then focus on what you can, and just really have that abundance mindset to hope for the best. And I think things will fall into the right places.
Michael: Well, I think you had a powerful example of that for turning around the negative Miami experience of just saying, "Well, what are the things that are actually unique in Miami that I can enjoy here? Let's go do more of those."
Danqin: Yeah. And that was really helpful in my personal development because I have developed so much more appreciation of everywhere I go.
What Success Means To Danqin [2:09:58]
Michael: So, as we wrap up, this is a podcast about success, and just one of the themes that always comes up is the word success means different things to different people. So, you're on this wonderful career path of success now, and you've gotten to the lead advisor role that you were working towards. And so, the career is going so well. How do you define success for yourself at this point?
Danqin: I actually did a life planning a few years ago, and that also brought me to the journey to get trained as a registered life planner to work with clients. And so, from that process I went through, I realized that, for me, success is really having a good balance of everything that I want to accomplish in life, not just professionally, but also in my personal life. And so, continue to develop and to learn new things. So, yoga was something that I learned and I got very into it out of my experience living in Miami. And I just feel so happy to have that hobby now. And the same thing that I am now stepping into a brand new experience which is to have a puppy and raise a puppy on my own. I never grew up with dogs, and I never had dogs before. And so, I was so overwhelmed and it took me a year to really make that decision.
And so, that is whenever I'm confused and puzzled with what I need to do, I always come back to look at my definition of how to live a successful life. And then one of the things that would align with my values is really always trying to do something new. And so, then despite how much trouble that I may get into by raising a new puppy on my own, I just decided to do it. And I felt motivated and have more clarity because of that. And then also I wanted to see myself to be a great positive experience and influence for others around me, and to have a family of my own in the future. And just experience life to the fullest in this kind of simulation game. You probably don't want it to...
Michael: And hope that we don't wake up and find out it's all the matrix.
Danqin: I know. I just think it's so magical, right? You kind of can be a co-driver or co-director of your own life. And that's kind of the power of it. And then you also live through the life, the consequences that you might co-create. And knowing that, I think the success would be that always be aware and mindful of where you are heading to, and take responsibilities, take ownership of where your life is heading to, and enjoy being the co-driver.
Michael: I love it. I love it. Well, thank you so much, Danqin, for joining us on the "Financial Advisor Success" podcast.
Danqin: Thank you, Michael.
Michael: Really appreciate it.