published Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Planner says conditions right to start business


by Brittany Cofer

A stock market decline followed by a deep recession and staggeringly high unemployment is the crash course through which Carrie Streets has navigated during her time as a financial planner.

"I've been in the business since about May of '06, so I got in just in time to experience a year-and-a-half of good market, and then of course the recession that we all suffered through," she said. "And I just kept telling myself through the recession, 'If I can make it through this, I can make it through anything in my career.'"

Now that some of the market's volatility has subdued, the third-generation financial planner has started her own firm, Crest Financial Strategies.

  • photo
    Staff photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press In the Terrace building on Frazier Avenue, Carrie Streets talks about the new office space for her financial planning business, Crest Financial Strategies. As a result of the tough economic climate, she said more people are seeking financial planning services.

And she said the rough economic climate makes now the perfect time.

"People need us more than ever," said Streets, who started Crest in July within the Terrace at Frazier on the North Shore. "After what the market has done, a lot of people discovered they weren't getting the attention they needed, so their portfolios weren't allocated properly ... and I'm very fortunate to work in a business that even in terrible economic times I can say I'm needed, and even more so because those times are so bad."

That's exactly what led Dixie Andrews to seek financial planning advice nearly two years ago. The 58-year-old heard about Streets through a friend and decided to seek her counsel after losing money in the stock market in 2008.

"I was realizing I needed someone to help me as I was approaching retirement, and I was trying to recoup what I lost during the crash," Andrews said.

Since receiving financial advice for retirement planning and the right funds for her portfolio, Andrews said she now feels secure because she has someone she can trust.

And in the financial services field right now, that's a big deal, Streets said.

She said one of the biggest hurdles in the business is gaining clients' trust.

Brice Holland, Streets' grandfather who spent 45 years in the accounting and investment industries, said he tried to instill in her the same values he followed during his tenure in the business. He said when dealing with people's finances, it's important to pay attention to the big picture.

"You have to find out what they want to accomplish, in what sort of time frame, what kind of expectations they have about their returns, what sort of risk tolerance they have," he said. "Then, when we got the whole picture, we tried to tie in everything together so it encompassed all their goals."

Streets said she hopes her experience and growing client base will continue to serve her well in her venture. She'll move down the hall from a temporary office on the second level of the Terrace building early next year to fill out a 2,200-square-foot office that has plenty of room for her business to grow.

"I don't want to rush into anything," she said of her plans to expand. "I don't want to affiliate with someone just because they're available, but I'm hoping to meet people and would like to be able to grow and add a partner or two."

Contact Brittany Cofer at bcofer@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/brittanycofer.

about Brittany Cofer...

Brittany Cofer is a business reporter who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press since January 2010. She previously worked as a general assignment Metro reporter. In the Business department, she covers banking, retail, tourism, consumer issues and green issues. Brittany is from Conyers, Ga., and spent two years at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., before transferring to the University of Georgia. She graduated from the university’s Grady College of Journalism in December ...

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