Hi, I am Sarah Howland and I am studying finance at Cedarville University. I plan to graduate December 2015. Even though I have lived in the Midwest while attending college and working at NorthWest Financial, I am actually from the Philadelphia area.
A year ago, I remember sitting with my friend and helping her set a budget based on her new job. I recall listening to her needs and helping her try to find a way to both live within her means while also pursuing her interests. At that moment, I was hooked into financial planning. Financial planning combines many of my interests from logical and analytical thinking to creativity and relationship building.
My first few weeks as an intern at NorthWest Financial I felt completely overwhelmed. I never realized financial planning is holistic, in the sense that it affects every area of life—education, children, mortgages, retirement planning, cash flow, life insurance, charitable giving, and the list could go on. All of a sudden clients were not just examples in a textbook, but real people with real lives and real problems to solve. Feeling overwhelmed has been fruitful because it has pushed me to learn and grow in ways that I couldn’t have by simply reading textbooks and attending lectures. I have loved the experience at NorthWest so far, including everything from sitting in on client meetings, updating client information, and running retirement scenarios, to more everyday tasks like filling out paperwork, and remembering company letterhead goes into the printer face down, not face up.
Interning at NorthWest Financial has taught me both tangible facts and intangible skills. For instance, I have learned about social security, life insurance, tax treatment for various investments, how to analyze a mutual fund, and more. In our investment meetings, I have been treated as an equal, not just an intern with a 10-week summer job. Furthermore, working at Northwest has taught me intangible skills, such as interacting with clients, the value of good research, how to effectively communicate with clients, and to never stop looking for solutions.
I will be working here until August 7th and then returning to Cedarville University for my last semester.