Even as a student, Erik Gomez always took pride in being the person friends would turn to for advice when they had a problem or concern.
“I have always enjoyed being a resource for others,” he said. “I like being the go-to guy.”
So when the time came to choose a profession, Gomez knew he wanted a meaningful career where he could help others as they faced life’s present and future challenges.
Today, Gomez is a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual, serving as a resource for Hispanic professionals and small-business owners seeking to create financial security.
“I wanted a career where I could make a positive impact in people’s lives by helping them plan for their financial future,” said Gomez, whose office is based in Newport Beach, California.
Beyond the Balance Sheet
For Gomez, being a financial advisor goes beyond merely assessing the assets and liabilities on a balance sheet or investment portfolio or just focusing on return on investments.
“Advisors who don’t help clients chart a path for the future are planning with one eye closed,” he said. “They aren’t looking at how the money will help their clients meet their goals, such as accumulating sufficient wealth to retire comfortably or pay for their children’s education.”
Northwestern Mutual takes a different approach that helps clients see their complete financial picture.
“It’s about creating a personalized financial plan that reflects people’s beliefs and addresses their hopes for the future even as their vision changes throughout a lifetime,” said Gomez. “I take pride in helping people define their goals and understand how all aspects of their financial life are working together to reach those goals.”
Family Comes First
As a fourth-generation Mexican American, Gomez understands the Hispanic culture and the desire for better economic and educational opportunities that motivate individuals to leave their homeland and move to the United States. For many of them, family comes first.
“Hispanics have a deep affinity to provide for their families and leave their kids better off,” he said. “They want to protect their families. They want to know that all of their hard work has gone toward taking care of their family and not just to paying the bills.”
Family has always come first for Gomez, as well, who worked part time at a restaurant while attending college because he needed to support his toddler son.
“But at the same time, I had an entrepreneurial spirit and was looking for a career that had purpose and would enable me to help others,” said Gomez.
He heard about Northwestern Mutual shortly before graduating from California State–Long Beach with dual degrees in business management and finance.
“I realized my goals and values aligned perfectly with the opportunities the company offered. I could work autonomously yet still have access to experienced colleagues when needed. More importantly, I realized I could make a significant difference in people’s lives. That’s what mattered most to me.”
Gomez decided to reach out to Hispanic professionals who were doing well financially but hadn’t considered how the decisions they were making today could impact their financial security in the future.
“I recognized that there was a need to provide financial services and planning to the Hispanic community, which sometimes has a lack of trust of financial services companies,” he said. “But people come around once they get to know me and realize the value that we can bring to their lives. We truly care about what happens to them and their financial future.”
Gomez attributes his success, in part, to his ability to listen with an open mind. “Everybody has a story to tell. My role is to listen and understand the values that are important to them. I appreciate people for who they are and the experiences they have gone through.
“Nothing is more gratifying than showing people who believe they are destined to work until the day they die that they have a financial plan in place that allows them to retire,” he said. “Having a plan with the right strategy that can be executed at the right time for the right reasons can help close the gap between dreams and reality.”