From an early age, Sergio Campos saw firsthand how to be responsible with money and work to gain financial security. Sergio’s mother, Lupe, has been his greatest influence for working and studying hard.
“I was born in San José, Calif., but shortly after, my mom moved to Modesto, Calif., where she single-handedly raised my two brothers and me,” he says. “For the first few years in Modesto, my mom was commuting over an hour to work at a Lucky’s grocery store. She then enrolled at a local trade school and earned a certificate in paralegal studies in the hope of getting a better job with better pay. After earning her certificate, she was hired as a paralegal at a bilingual Spanish law firm in Modesto. She’s been working there for the past 28 years.”
When it came time to apply for college, Modesto Junior College (MJC) was the natural choice for Sergio. There, he earned an associate’s degree and then transferred to San José State University (SJSU) to continue his undergraduate education in the field of economics.
Working in Financial Planning
Since graduating nine years ago, Sergio has held various positions in the wealth management field, including as an associate advisor, an operations manager and a director.
“I’ve now worked in different roles at three great Bay Area firms: Half of my career has been working directly with financial advisers and their clients, the other half has been focused on technology and operations projects,” he says.
“Because I've worked at smaller companies, I've often helped with duties outside of my official roles, such as preparing advisers for meetings and helping them understand reports being presented to clients, as well as updating financial plans in MoneyGuidePro. I’ve enjoyed my career so far and am thankful for the job opportunities I’ve had.”
It was due to his varied work experiences that Sergio decided to register for our Certificate Program in Personal Financial Planning.
“Working directly with financial advisers, I became very interested in financial planning early on,” he recalls. “San Francisco had a few programs I could attend in person, but the UC Berkeley Extension personal financial planning program interested me the most. Given the UC Berkeley name, I knew it would be a top-tier program. The courses were also next door to the Parallel Advisors office building in San Francisco, where I worked at the time.”
Of the courses he completed for the certificate, Survey of Personal Financial Planning made the biggest impact on his career path today.
“Survey of Personal Financial Planning was the best course because it was an introduction to all the financial planning topics covered in the entire program—income tax, investments, insurance, employment benefits, estate planning and behavioral finance,” he enthuses.
“The breadth of information learned in the program has made me better at my job and helped me advance my career.”
But it wasn’t all about the coursework. The people made a difference, too.
“I met a lot of great people in the program and had a familiar face in every course I took,” he says. “Meeting others through the program was one of my favorite parts. The instructors are also great and very friendly.”
Serving Clients’ Needs
“My current role is director of Client Services at Relevant Wealth, where I serve as a primary point of contact for all of our wonderful clients,” Sergio says. “Relevant Wealth is unique because we serve a select group of charitable foundations and individuals nationwide. Serving foundations makes my job even more rewarding, and I’m grateful to support the charitable giving of our clients.”
Since completing the certificate in 2021, Sergio continues to incorporate lessons learned and skills gained to his daily work.
“Every day I apply the information I learned during the personal financial planning certificate program,” he relates.
Estate Planning: “I attended a series of meetings with Relevant Wealth’s owner, a client and the client’s estate attorney to coordinate a series of changes to the client’s estate plan. The lessons learned in the estate planning class helped me with this.”
Income Taxes and Personal Financial Planning: “Most of our clients are charitable foundations, and I communicate daily with foundation board members to provide them investment reports, assist with their annual audits, and coordinate their cash needs for their charitable giving and operational cash needs. The tax planning course taught me about charitable giving and the tax benefits.”
Insurance in Personal Financial Planning: “I recently assisted a client who wanted to surrender an annuity she had. I worked with her insurance company to find out what was needed to surrender the annuity and direct the funds to her retirement account that we manage. The insurance class was a great introduction to understanding annuities.”
Investments in Personal Financial Planning: General Principles and Methods: “As primary manager of the investment reporting system that reports on all of our client assets, I require a good understanding of different types of investments. There is a lot of accounting involved, too. The investments course taught me a lot about different types of investments which helps me understand the reporting better.
“I also communicate directly with our client CPAs, estate attorneys and other financial professionals. The breadth of information learned in the program has made me better at my job and helped me advance my career.”
With the certificate providing a big boost to his career, Sergio looks forward to his future in the industry and to also applying his skills towards other self-interests.
“I am very happy with my current role at Relevant Wealth and my career trajectory,” he divulges. “I look forward to working in the Bay Area wealth management industry for many years to come.
“I am also applying my experience and education to create a web application focused on improving personal financial decision-making. My app analyzes and provides insights on your personal finances.”
The app is a culmination of the knowledge gained from our certificate coursework, fellow classmates and industry—something he may not have discovered an interest in or need for had he not put the time and effort into continuing education.
“I highly recommend the personal financial planning certificate, whether you are interested in or currently working in finance. It has boosted my financial career, and I met a lot of smart and friendly people in the program. It’s also a great program for anyone who wants to learn and improve their own personal finances.”