By Diane Bucka, California Business Journal
As a young girl, Letitia Berbaum accompanied her mother, an entrepreneur with a creative business approach and a conservative financial bent, on her weekly banking errands. Neither of them knew at the time that this childhood experience would spark such an enduring curiosity and fascination around investments. While most kids were busy with sports, music, or other more traditional hobbies, these early visits to the bank captivated her attention. There began a long-standing attraction to the magic of finance, how money can grow and help people reach their objectives if managed correctly.
Many of us spend our whole lives trying to find our true calling. Letitia was hooked in and laser focused even as a young girl. She developed relationships with bankers, watched funds and ultimately got permission from her parents to dive into the market herself at the tender age of 10. Subscribing to the Warren Buffett theory of following brands that resonate (and clearly influenced by her home base in Seattle), her early investments in Starbucks, Costco and Microsoft soon tripled.
These foundational building blocks of knowledge continued once Letitia obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from CSU Fullerton with a focus on Finance and launched her career as a Financial Advisor with Wells Fargo and later LPL Financial. There she learned the “nuts and bolts” of investments, money management tools, compliance, insurance, and the overarching business of addressing clients’ needs and objectives.
Often referred to as the “voice of reason,” she exudes a quiet confidence stemming from these years of careful observation and study. “At Wells Fargo and LPL, I gained a thorough understanding of well-established regulations and protocols,” she says. “And I also truly valued the lessons learned from so many incredible mentors.”
This deep competency ultimately led her to her new position as a Wealth Advisor with Optivest Wealth Management, whose holistic and integrated approach includes advanced planning for tax efficiency, wealth transfer, wealth protection and philanthropy.
Working in concert with this team of experts, Letitia leverages her multi-faceted skillset with a focus on wealth management, wealth transfer strategies, and strategic planning for business owners who desire an exit plan. She especially values Optivest’s wide expertise and collaborative approach to meeting clients’ diverse needs.
Navigating the Powerful Yet Underserved Female Investor Base
As a female financial advisor, Letitia offers a unique perspective to an ever-growing segment: women with significant assets. According to a 2016 study by the Boston Consulting Group, women now control $39.6 trillion globally, up from 25% held in the previous five years. Growth of 7% a year is anticipated, with an expectation that by 2020 women will control $72.1 trillion, particularly in light of educational trends with higher numbers of women in college. Women’s wealth is accelerating more rapidly than overall global rates, as they acquire assets through inheritance, divorce, and running their own successful businesses.
Even as more women are attaining wealth, there are proportionally fewer female financial advisors in what is largely a man’s world. In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that less than one in three advisors are female, despite the fact that the majority of women state a preference for working with female financial advisors.
On this point, Letitia states, “All clients value an advisor who listens carefully and truly understands their needs. As a professional woman and a mom myself, I offer a relatable perspective and can help others with careful planning that addresses their priorities, be they enhancing financial independence, facilitating wealth transfers to heirs, or other concerns.”
Letitia’s strong belief in giving back and getting personally involved in the community is evident in her community engagement efforts. She is an active member of the Orange County Emerging Leader United Council, the Orange County United Way Women’s Leadership Council, the Financial Planning Association and The Elite OC. Accordingly, it’s no surprise that her achievements have been widely lauded; she’s the recipient of multiple awards, including NAWRB “The Visionary Leading Lady (2017)”, 5 Star Wealth Manager for Orange County (2017, and nominated again for 2018), and a Certificate of Recognition from Janet Nguyen, Senator from California’s 34th State Legislative District.
Letitia came by her success as a wealth manager organically and honestly. A lifetime of steady dedication to honing her trade derived from genuine passion and affinity led her to exactly where she always wanted to be: able to educate and empower others with essential insight to make informed decisions and attain their goals.
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