Content provided by Robyn Murray, Freelance Writer
Paula Wieck began her career in nutrition science. She specialized in obesity and diabetes – two of the nation’s most prolific ailments. But for her, the interest was personal. Her parents suffered from the diseases, and as a child, she did too.
“I lost probably 40 or 50 pounds before my junior high years,” Wieck recalls. “I was considered an obese child, and I think [my interest] stemmed from that.”
In college, Wieck was determined to leave those years behind. She took a job as a personal trainer and studied nutrition science at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO). She wanted to transform her understanding and take control of the health issues that had plagued her childhood. But as a trainer, Wieck started hearing her clients discuss subjects she’d never thought about: managing money and saving for retirement.
“Growing up I had to pay for everything myself,” Wieck says. “I had to help my mom out because she was a single mom, and so I had to work full-time.” In high school, Wieck managed a coffee shop, and she continued to work there through college. “I didn’t get home until 10 at night and would stay up until about two or three in the morning studying or doing homework,” she says. “Luckily my grades were good, but my sleep habits were poor!”
Wieck’s interest in finance was piqued further during a business class at UNO when a guest speaker came in with a simple message: invest today, and your money will grow. He presented an example that stuck with Wieck. If someone invests $3,000 today, he told the class, in a few years they could buy a brand new Mustang. Stuff it under the mattress, and they’ll never get there.
Perhaps it was the visual image that stuck or simply the sense of financial freedom and control, but Wieck was hooked. “That concept really struck me,” she says. “I remember that was when I first got really excited about investing.”
Wieck switched her major to business, began studying the market, and quickly found that’s where her true passions lay. “I love the fact that the market is a moving, breathing thing,” she says. “It’s completely evolving, so it’s always a challenge.”
In 2004, Wieck graduated with her bachelor’s degree in business and soon landed a position at CLS Investments. She now manages over $1 billion in assets and provides guidance to financial advisors. As an investment strategist, her financial philosophy is still rooted in health and well-being. “I think that so many people are forced to be aware of their health because they have to have regular physicals or health insurance,” she says. “But people aren’t necessarily forced to confront their finances, and I think that’s where they get into trouble.”
“Just like it’s important to have physical health,” she says, “it’s very important to have financial health as well.”
Wieck says she loves being able to share the knowledge she’s gained and help people take care of their futures. “Being able to help clients reach their long-term goals,” she says, “I want to counsel people so they don’t have to endure so much in order to get ahead. That motivates me both professionally and personally.”
Today, as a married mother of three, Wieck’s motivation is still personal. “I never want my kids to have to worry like I’ve had to worry about money,” she says. “We are taking care of our financial future … for our children.”