Jessica Merino's Passion for Financial Planning Began When She Was 8 Years Old

If you're hiring someone to help manage your life savings, it's understandable that you might want to know a little bit about them. As we're heading back to school, I figured I'd take a walk down memory lane through my childhood where my story starts.

I'm the oldest of 4 children with a father who's from Ecuador and a mother who's Northside Irish Catholic...definitely an uncommon mix. I was born at home (as were my three siblings), and that night, my parents stood above me sleeping in my bassinet in awe of what they created. "Let's do this again!" they said, resulting in my sister 18 months later. My brothers came when I was 7 and 10, respectively. I guess you could say that I was a born leader-literally!

We grew up middle class with my dad staying home for the first few years, followed by both of my parents working by the time I was a toddler. I started kindergarten when I was 4, causing numerous parent-teacher conferences over my handwriting. I had a harder time holding my pencil than the older kids. Even at a young age, I thrived in the face of a challenge.

At eight years old, I randomly came across an article in the business section of the newspaper with a chart of inexpensive stocks known as penny stocks. Up until that point, I had saved into my savings account where my parents matched my contributions. I had no knowledge of taxes, custodial fees, transaction costs, or how to even open an account, but I knew I had enough to afford to purchase some shares. At most, I probably had a few hundred dollars.

From that point on, I became fascinated with the idea of owning stock. Our family has a tradition of gift lists for birthdays and Christmas. That year I wrote "shares of stock" at the top of my birthday list and continued to do so every year. For years my request was ignored. Nevertheless, I persisted.

For my 14th birthday, my grandparents gave me the best gift I've ever received, one share of Walmart. I then started investing the money I earned from babysitting and summer jobs into this account, which I considered my college fund. I saw my money make money learning the value of compound interest and reap the benefits of successful stock splits. Who knew that someday I'd turn this quirky hobby into a successful business!?

I didn't decide to become a Financial Advisor at 18 months, 4, 8, or even at 14, but all of these events paved the way to Empower Me to Reach MY Possibilities. Want to see if we can help you reach yours? If so, click here!

The views expressed today are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my broker/dealer, The Investment Center, Inc. or my Registered Investment Advisor, IC Advisory Services, Inc.

The information contained is derived from sources believed to be accurate. However we do not guarantee its accuracy. The information contained is for general use and it is not intended to cover all aspects of a particular matter. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a representation by us or a solicitation of the purchase or sale of any securities. The information contained is not appropriate, by itself, to guide investment decisions.

The Investment Center, Inc. and IC Advisory Services, Inc. does not forecast future economic environments and cannot comment on how it might do in any future economic scenario. There may be economic times where all investments are unfavorable and depreciate in value. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate, thus an investor's shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. The Investment Center, Inc. and IC Advisory Services, Inc. makes no predictions, representations, or warranties herein as to future performance. Future performance is difficult to predict and such predictions are beyond the control of The Investment Center, Inc. and IC Advisory Services, Inc.