When Jake Mason arrived at Pinnacle Advisory Group in 2007, he realized he’d finally found what he wanted to do with his life. The search hadn’t been easy. By the age of 15, he had moved seven times. His father’s work took the family throughout New England, then to New Jersey, California, and back east to Massachusetts. Things settled down when he began high school at the prestigious St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, and he was able to graduate without interruption.
Four years at Georgetown University followed that, with his junior year spent at L’Universite Lumiere in Lyon, France. By the time he’d completed college, he had a Bachelor’s degree in International Finance and a Certificate in Political and Economic Studies, but no clear idea of what he wanted to do with them. “One of the reasons I went to Georgetown was the international focus — the opportunity to study at the School of Foreign Service as well as abroad. I thought I wanted to do something business-related, but didn’t know what that would be.”
Jake secured a job in Boston with Fidelity, working as an assistant to a portfolio manager. While he found some of the technical and analytical work stimulating, he knew he didn’t want it to be the sole focus of his career. His search continued with stints in marketing and sales at SAFECO Life & Investments in Seattle, and then wholesaling for Sentinel Financial Services back on the East Coast. “I realized that I didn’t want to continue as a wholesaler or an analyst,” he remembers, “but there were aspects of both that I enjoyed. I liked the relationship side of sales. At the time, my clients were brokers, financial advisors and planners. That was when I realized I wanted to be a financial planner, and balance the analytical work with the relationships.”
After beginning the process of obtaining his CFP, he signed onto the website for the Financial Planning Association, and found Pinnacle. His personal and professional life as a nomad had come to an end.
“In many people’s minds, a financial planner is little more than a number cruncher,” he says. “While that’s certainly part of it, the job involves a lot more than that. We walk side by side with our clients through all the important events of their lives — often, across multiple generations. We help them when a child or grandchild is born, when they get married to the man or woman of their dreams, and when a loved one passes away. We are there with them in the good times and the bad.”
With broad experience in the financial world and a get-it-done attitude, Jake takes a practical approach to wealth management. “My goal is to bring my client a plan that is easy to understand and easy to implement. In this industry, you’ll see 150+ page financial plans. That’s not what I do. People come to us because they’re busy, so I try to take the mounds of data we collect, and turn it into a clean action item list, so they can understand what they have to do, and why. And then I follow up to help them put their plan into operation.”
His user-friendly methodology makes the planning process less intimidating for his clients. “I’ll have people look at the numbers and say, ‘So that’s where the money is going.’ They had no idea. I get a lot of feedback from clients who tell me that they have more comfort and confidence in knowing that they’re doing the right things financially. That’s one of the main benefits of financial planning — it reduces your stress and it frees up your time to do the things that are really important to you.”
Jake understands the value of that firsthand, because it reflects his own priorities. “My family and friends are very important to me. Whatever I’m doing, it’s more about the people I’m doing it with. That has been the great driving force for the decisions I make in life.”