Inspired by her mother, who served as a financial adviser in the 1970s at Merrill Lynch, Michelle Smith decided to become a financial advisor. When she started in the field, avoiding cold calling for her business was a major goal, which is why Mrs. Smith hosted seminars for women executives, helping them to create their own financial plans. These efforts helped to build her reputation and client base in the industry.
Starting her own firm with her mom in 2012, the pair focused their business on dual niches: divorcing parents of children who suffer from special needs and wealthy divorced women.
Currently, Smith’s firm works with approximately 70 clients and manages approximately $500 million in assets. The majority of her clients (approximately 95 percent) are divorced women between the ages of 40 and 75. She also works with families who are facing divorce and have physically or mentally handicapped children.
While her niche focuses may initially seem odd, in reality they make perfect sense since she too has gone through a divorce and has a son who suffers from Down Syndrome. She has first-hand experience of how difficult this can be for many women.
Smith has found that many wives of CEOs have no idea what their husbands are worth, or what they are entitled to when going through a divorce. She utilizes her skills and vast experience in the field to help those facing situations similar to the one she faced in 2005 when she went through her own divorce.
Her goal is to help women realize their worth and understand their finances. Ensuring that women are taken care of, especially women who have special needs children, is more than a job to her – it’s a passion. While most financial advisors focus on general services, Smith’s niche specific practice offers a unique service that fills a growing need.
While passionate about her work, Smith also gives back to the community and is a co-founder of the Manhattan-based IDEAL School, which she helped get off the ground by helping to raise more than $20 million.