Ted Jenkin left corporate America to follow his passion, and change the future of the financial services industry. With many of the major financial services firms focusing strictly on the baby boomer generation, Ted saw a need to build a firm that would cater to the personal financial advice needs of Generation X and Generation Y clients.
Ted is a New Jersey native who graduated from Boston College with a degree in Finance. He joined American Express Financial Advisors in 1991, and was promoted to district manager in 1994. He became one of the youngest Vice Presidents in 1997, and then became one of the youngest Group Vice Presidents in the history of American Express in 2000. He has won numerous awards including winning the outstanding leader of the year award in 2003 and 2004. He has been featured in many publications including “The Wall Street Journal,” “Smart Money Magazine,” and “Business Week.”
oXYGen Financial is a modern day cost affordable family financial service office for the X and Y Generation- those in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. (Hence the name oXYGen). They provide financial planning advice, investments, insurance, employee benefits, bill paying services, bill shopping services, tax preparation, bookeeping, etc. for small business owners and families across the United States
MO: Is the process of financial planning inherently different for the X and Y Generation?
Ted: Absolutely. The Baby Boomers and Silent Generation use the word retirement. It means picking a date when you want to stop working and start enjoying your money. After working with over 1,000 Generation X and Y clients, their thought process about financial planning is entirely different. People in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s view life much more as a continuum than they do a stoppage point when it comes to making ‘work optional’. Their financial plan consists of enjoying some of their money today while being fiscally responsible for tomorrow. The end game is to be able to enjoy the work they want to do without having the worry attached to making money.
MO: Do you think that our school systems need to better educate students in basic finance and its real life applications?
Ted: This is probably the one of the largest deficiencies we have going on in the education system in America today. I am flabbergasted that kids can pay over $200,000 for a college education without being armed with the skills to understand the compensation package and benefits package they will receive from their first job offer let alone a credit card offer in the mail. I think if we reform the education system, we institute a mandatory basic personal finance course in high school and then a real money 101 course as part of the core curriculum within the college system to help kids understand everything from buying or leasing a car to how to read and improve their credit score.
MO: oXYGen offers some pretty fancy ‘Lifestyle Services’ to clients. What was your inspiration for offering these services to clients along with financial planning? What kind of response have you had to these additional benefits?
Ted: It used to be many years ago that when you opened a Certificate of Deposit (CD) at a local bank they gave you something such as a toaster or a blender. With modern day banks, you are lucky if a bank will give you a BIC pen let alone remember your name when you call in on the 1-800 number. Many young people in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s are really tired of just being treated like a name and a number. Look, even Starbucks has their baristas working hard to remember their customers names. We decided it would be great to give something small like a pedicure/manicure, car detail, or a night at the movies to help our clients breathe easier from the stress of their day to day job and say thanks for working with us.
MO: Your website states that you have ‘financial advisors that are not only good at planning your future, but also deliver your experience with a twist of fun… ’ How are you able to add an element of fun to something that is often daunting and stressful for most people?
Ted: The oXYGen Bar in the office of course One of the fun things we do is to set clients up with an automated system so they can see all of their frequent reward card and frequent flier points in one single place with one single password automated on a daily basis. It gets really fun to help clients see what they have and plan a trip or buy a piece of merchandise for FREE with their points. Normally, most people don’t use their points or don’t know how to use them because organizing them in one place is a daunting enough task within itself. At oXYGen Financial, we even make this task fun!
MO: What’s the most rewarding aspect of financial planning?
Ted: By far for me it is empowering people to take control of their financial future. To make complex subjects easy to understand and help people realize they need to be the ‘Boss’ of their family finances.
MO: You’re currently based out of Atlanta. Do you have any plans for expansion into other cities or anything else you’d like to shout about?
Ted: Yes. We would like to expand into at least one new city every year. I think people who work for the large companies like I did are tired of the corporate environment and are looking for a fresh way to grow their careers in the financial services industry. oXYGen Financial is the perfect place for those advisors who want to work with people in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.
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