Theresa M. Mayes and the Financial Services Sector in Georgia, USA


As a licensed financial advisor at First Command Financial Services, Theresa M. Mayes is focused primarily on the needs and unique financial concerns of military members and their families. While serving as an Army medic at Tripler Army Medical Center, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Chaminade University. She later earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Walden University. In 2013, she joined First Command, attracted by the opportunity to put her skills and experience to work in making a positive contribution to the military community. Here she talks to Finance Monthly about financial planning, the financial services sector is Georgia, USA and the challenges that US financial advisors have been faced with recently.


As a professional with a wealth of experience in the sector, what is the current state of the financial services marketplace in Georgia?

Georgia has a booming business economy. According to Site Selection Magazine, it has been the number one state for business, four years in a row. This, of course, brings both an influx of workers and a need for financial planners. The number of FinTech companies across the state is growing; not just in Atlanta, but in Savannah, Macon, Columbus and Athens, too. This is definitely changing the way advisors and wealth managers are conducting business. There is definitely a need for younger talent and a focus on growth and retention.


What would you say are the specific challenges of assisting clients with financial planning?

At First Command, we believe that one of the most important contributors to a healthy financial life is behavior. And sometimes helping clients understand that and stop bad habits can be challenging.  On top of that, we have to constantly evolve our practice to match the industry’s technological advancements and changing regulations.


What are the most important aspects that need to be ironed out in order to achieve satisfactory result and a well-organized financial plan for your clients?

The golden rule of financial planning is to know your client. By actively listening to clients, you’ll gain a much better understanding not only of their current circumstances, but also of their risk temperament and how committed they are to doing  what is necessary to reach their goals. Having that knowledge puts you in a better position to recommend products that are appropriate for their unique needs and objectives.


What are the particular challenges that financial advisors in the US have been facing over the past year in relation to changes in what customers expect in terms of products and services?

Some clients have fast-food expectations: they want it their way and they want it fast. But taking the kind of cookie-cutter approach that calls for is not generally in their best interest.  As professionals, our job is take the time to fully understand each client’s circumstances, temperament and goals before making specific recommendations. Another challenge these days is the abundance of sometimes conflicting, not always accurate information that is available online. I may be biased, but I can’t help but think that there’s a benefit to having a personal financial coach who is willing to sit down with you, listen to what you’re saying (and not saying), answer your questions and explain their recommendations. And I’m not sure a robo advisor is capable of doing all of that.


Can you tell Finance Monthly about your involvement in the community and its impact?

I am currently involved in the Leadership Columbus Class of 2016 – 2017, and it has been an extremely rewarding experience. I’ve been able to meet a lot of great people and learn more about the community than I would have otherwise. I’m also a sustaining member of the Junior League of Columbus and have coached long jump and sprint with a local youth track and field team. It’s been a pleasure to watch all the young athletes grow up and compete in their class state championship meet.