Cordi Powell, CFP®, EA
Favored Financial Planning
When Cordi Powell set off for college from her hometown of Winston-Salem, she had her heart set on a future in medicine. After finishing her undergraduate degree, she was accepted into medical school. However, as it often does, life intervened a bit. While in med school, Cordi met her husband. Between finishing school and residency, they got married and had three kids. That’s when they reevaluated what it would be like to have both parents working as doctors with long hours and high stress. Instead Cordi decided to take some time off and return to medicine once their youngest turned five and started school.
While taking some time off from her career, Cordi helped a group at her church with financial literacy. The more she learned, the more she felt drawn to the practice. She had the chance to work with a major tax service and found she really enjoyed it. Inspired by this newfound passion, she enrolled in a local college to pursue her CFP®.
One of the things that motivated Cordi to become a fee-only planner was watching those in her community. “I saw people working hard and saving and then going out to work with commission-based planners,” she says. Luckily the dean of the business school at her college introduced her to ACP. Because of Cordi’s desire to focus on taxes, the ACP model was a great fit. She spent a lot of time researching the organization and, in the end, became convinced it was the way to go. After being in med school, what struck Cordi most was the practicality and real-life application of the ACP system. “They don’t teach you anything about the business side of things in med school, about how to run a medical practice. You have to figure that out on your own,” she says. “But the training and resources ACP provided gave me the confidence to start my own firm.
ACP coursework was a big help for Cordi, but she found a new level of belonging when she attended the in-person training. “I had the best instructors and I really bonded with my classmates,” she says. It’s a group that has stayed in touch over the years. Cordi’s appreciation for ACP only grew when she was audited a few months into opening her practice. Having the structure of ACP helped her navigate the process with ease.
As a career changer, Cordi had to overcome some of her own natural aversions. “I had to get comfortable with the fact that sell was not a four-letter word,” she says. Having focused on medicine, Cordi didn’t have much experience with sales and marketing, but ACP provided the framework to help her embrace this new mindset. Because she opened her firm while her kids were young, Cordi preferred to let it grow naturally. Luckily, the practice has grown at just the right pace, allowing Cordi to be present with her family and ramp up the business as she’s wanted to. Now that her kids are off to college, she’s happy with the growth and is capping out at 20–30 clients.
Although Cordi has shifted her focus from medicine to financial planning, she has realized how much the approach to personal and financial health can overlap. “You have to have a plan and you have to start early,” she says. “With both, if you just decide to start in your 50s or 60s you’re going to struggle.”
Over the years Cordi has volunteered with ACP on the Conference Committee as well as the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She sees such value in the organization and the focus on collaboration. This year, Cordi has been especially appreciative of the ACP community. Although there hasn’t been much opportunity to meet in person, having the ACP think tank has been invaluable. “I can see what other advisors are doing, how their handling certain situations, and I can pose questions,” she says. As she looks to the future, Cordi says that her daughter is starting to show an interest in financial planning. Though it’s early, they’re talking about what it might be like to work together someday. Cordi knows that should she need help with pushing into growth mode or planning for succession, ACP has the tools to support her.