A Conversation with A.J. Kratz, CFA

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How did you get into financial planning and investing?

I have been interested in investing and personal finance since college, and have been working in financial services in one aspect or another since graduating from Tennessee in 2004. 

I have an analytical nature and being able to dig into and pull apart different investment strategies really lets me scratch that itch. I have also always enjoyed helping people solve their problems. My recent transition to Advisor allows me to help people solve one of the biggest problems people face: “How do I make good decisions with my money so I can live the life I want?”  

I feel blessed that I found a career that allows me to express both aspects of my personality.

What is your greatest career success?

I don’t really keep track of successes. The only thing that matters to me is that I am better today than I was yesterday. If I can learn something new about the world, help someone solve a problem, and spend some time with my family and friends, I consider it a successful day. If I can do that every day, I will have a successful career and life.

What has been the most significant learning experience in your career?

I think the most significant thing I have learned in my career so far is the effect that emotions and behavior play in our daily decision making. This is especially true when it comes to money. In some respects, money is like air or water; we don’t really think about it until we feel like we don’t have enough to do everything we want. Understandably, we get emotional about it. Tim Mauer, who wrote Simple Money, often says that personal finance is more personal than finance. I wholeheartedly agree.

When people you have worked with talk about you, what do they say?

I think that most people that have worked with me would say that I try to understand all sides of a problem or issue. In my experience, most problems don’t have a correct answer that is right all of the time. The world is way too complex for that. It’s only by understanding all sides and picking the best arguments from each that we have any hope of coming to the best answer.


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