February’s “Ask Away” Advisor Spotlight

Featuring Walter Woodrick CFP®, Founder of Woodrick Financial

Introducing our “Ask Away” Advisor Spotlight Series!

Say hello to our brand-new “Ask Away” Advisor Spotlight Series launching today! Learn more about some exceptional LPL Financial advisors partnering with Financial Resources Group — incredible minds with interesting backgrounds. Discover their unique insights, strategies, and personal stories that have fueled their success.
 
Each month, we’ll cast a spotlight on a different advisor, unveiling what makes them stand out in the competitive financial services landscape.

The series begins with Walter Woodrick, CFP®, Founder of Woodrick Financial and a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner in Port Saint Joe, Florida. Explore Walter’s profile from this Q&A, and be sure to watch the short video below where he personally introduces himself!


Q: What is your background and how did you enter the financial planning and investment industry?

A: I currently practice out of Port Saint Joe, Florida — a beautiful coastal town near Panama City – but I’m from the great state of Mississippi! My parents divorced when I was eight, and we went through financial struggles.  Despite challenges, I received support for private high school and a needs-based scholarship to Vanderbilt. There, I earned a Bachelor’s in Economics and a Minor in Communications. I delved into commercial real estate in Tulsa, where a deal with an investment professional ignited my interest in finance.

In 1997, I moved to Panama City, joining First Union Bank, where I honed my skills in detailed client profiling. My responsibilities at the bank included managing loans, accounts, mutual funds, and fixed annuities. Whether bank clients wanted a $50 checking account or a $300k loan, I completed a 3-page questionnaire for basic information, financial information, and investment risk tolerance. I earned recognition from higher-ups for diligently following processes and asking all the right questions.

So fast forward…I moved to AG Edwards when First Union backed out of the market in Panama City and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner in 2001. So I’m in now my 23rd year of being a Certified Financial Planner practitioner, and I have been with LPL since 2008.

Beautiful sunset in Port Saint Joe. Photo Credit: Walter Woodrick
Woodrick Financial, Photo Credit: Walter Woodrick

Q: What drove you from being in the bank environment to move toward an independent financial planning practice?

A: I knew I wanted to be a financial planner, and AG Edwards, at that time in Panama City, had the best reputation and the best training ground, and the people that I respected in the business. So I started there, and I was at the top of my class in the country in new accounts and assets gathered.

My wife, Wendy, came in, and started cold calling for me 3 days a week for 3 years. She would spend 2 hours a day, calling to say, “Hi, my name is Wendy. I work with Walter Woodrick. He’s a financial planner here in town at AG Edwards. Just calling to see if you’re open to good ideas every now and then.” People would either say yes or no and move on. I still have clients from those calls today!

Q: What is the driving force behind your passion for the financial planning industry, your primary motivation, or your significant “WHY”?

A: My “WHY” stems from my childhood experiences of financial hardship. At Vanderbilt, while driving an $800 car, I observed my peers enjoying luxurious lifestyles. Determined to change my circumstances, I delved into researching ways to build wealth. Starting with a role in commercial real estate as an analyst, I gained insights by observing the sales process. The desire to accumulate wealth aligned with my innate teaching background, influenced by both my family and my wife’s. I realized that being a proficient financial planner involves simplifying complex subjects to make them accessible to everyone, combining my passion for teaching with the pursuit of personal financial success.

Q: What unique approach or strategy has contributed to your success – your “secret sauce” in this competitive industry?

A: What sets me apart from other advisors is my distinctive approach of thoroughly questioning everyone. It’s rare for me not to have a complete understanding of a client’s situation. I’ve encountered instances where individuals present account statements from a specific firm, and I ask, “Has your advisor ever delved into other accounts or proposed a comprehensive financial plan?” Surprisingly, many respond with a “No,” mentioning that their advisor simply managed the existing account.

This lack of due diligence by competitors surprises me. I humorously ask clients for permission to pose some probing questions, explaining it’s to either help them save money or make money. Most are open to it, allowing me to inquire about their home value, typical bank account balance, and probing into their sources of happiness and concerns.

Q: Who has shaped, inspired and influenced your career as a financial advisor?

A: Early in my career at AG Edwards, a seasoned advisor shared valuable advice with me. He emphasized the importance of making sure people knew I work by appointment only, not trying to cater to everyone, and focusing on a specific expertise. These insights shaped my business strategy, freeing me from market fluctuations and allowing me to avoid spreading myself too thin. I am grateful for this guidance over the past 20 years.

Additionally, my father’s career as a catastrophe insurance adjuster taught me the significance of family commitment. From 2010 until my youngest graduated high school, I prioritized being present for my children. Now, as they’ve moved on, I’m eager to reinvest in my business and excited about future prospects. I maintained my practice while investing in my children because I knew I had the rest of my life to invest in my practice once the children flew the coop.

Q: Although you’re based in Florida, you have pulled up and traveled across the country for an extended period. Describe how you were able to do this!

A: In 2015, considering our children were at an age where they could manage themselves, yet still willing to embrace family plans, we embarked on a year-long RV journey across the country. We meticulously addressed 13 key points — from leasing our home to ensuring my work was LPL-approved for remote operation. Within two months, all logistics were sorted, allowing us to explore the country for 7 months. A highlight was spending two months on a Montana ranch, an experience that brought great joy to our family. The flexibility provided by this profession and industry allowed me to seamlessly work from picturesque locations, creating lasting memories for our children. So we were super thankful for that and the flexibility that we had through this industry, through LPL Financial and through this profession.

Walter’s beautiful view from his travels, pictured here in Montana. Photo Credit: Walter Woodrick

Q: Do you have a particular niche?

A: My client base spans a diverse range – physicians, attorneys, teachers, plumbers, business owners…. It really is the full gamut. The majority of my business originated in Panama City in the early 2000s and has expanded nationally through referrals and connections with relatives. I take pride in having clients from coast to coast. My approach involves working with individuals I genuinely trust and enjoy interacting with, and who, in turn, appreciate working with and being able to trust me.

Q: How have your experiences been enriched through the process of writing two books?

A: I authored my first book, Finances, Family, and Faith, in 2003-2004, presenting it as an understandable guide to life’s priorities. This book served as a valuable marketing tool, allowing me to speak at churches, libraries, and approved seminars, building credibility in the process.

In 2010, I wrote a second book, Seven Steps to Serious Money, a thinner paperback. This book was used more as a giveaway and contains insights from my wife, offering a glimpse into our perspectives. It has proven to be a valuable tool, providing readers with insights into my character and communication style. Many have approached me, expressing interest after receiving the book as a gift.

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Q: What are your personal interests and how do you like to have fun?

A: I have a passion for crafting books and might have a third book on the way! Beyond my writing endeavors, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Wendy, my partner since 1996, and our three adult children, Whitney (23), Ashley (21) and Mason (19), who may have an interest at some point in joining my practice! Whitney is in sales and Ashley and Mason are students at Ole Miss.

On a lighter note, I’ve developed a deep love for pickleball, so much so that I’ve taken up coaching recently. Additionally, I indulge my musical side by playing the guitar and singing at local hangouts in Port Saint Joe.

Walter in action on the pickleball court
Walter playing the guitar
Pictured from left to right Walter, Ashley, Mason, Whitney and Wendy

Q: How did you learn about Financial Resources Group and what has been your experience working with our firm and LPL?

A: I was introduced to Financial Resources Group through a contact in Nashville who highlighted the benefits of alignment, including compliance support, a more personable image for LPL Financial, and marketing assistance. I was impressed by these advantages, so I decided to align with the firm.

Working with them has been excellent, and I’m grateful for the support provided by Gloria DuBose, my Practice Management Consultant. She has been instrumental in directing me to the right individuals or departments to address any concerns.

The technological advancements at LPL have been noteworthy, making my experience highly positive. The research department’s ability to present information in an understandable language is also commendable. While occasionally asked if I’d consider other firms, I have no desire to leave. I am content here, and my clients share the sentiment. I express gratitude to the partners at Financial Resources Group who contribute to making LPL feel like a smaller, more personal entity.

Meet Walter in this brief video below!

Video created by Jennifer Hallmark

Picture of Jennifer Hallmark, Director of Marketing

Jennifer Hallmark, Director of Marketing

"What sets me apart from other advisors is my distinctive approach of thoroughly questioning everyone."

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