Susan Freed, CFP®, Managing Director
In April 2014, Susan G. Freed, former President of Freed Advisors, and her firm joined the Chevy Chase Trust team. A highly-regarded financial expert, Susan has advised high net worth individuals and families for more than two decades. Read our interview with Susan to learn more about what compelled her to pursue a career in investment and financial planning and who has inspired her along the way.
Please tell us about your background.
Growing up, I was the youngest of four children. We were a middle class family with strong traditional values and an emphasis on paying it forward. My parents owned a movie theater in Tidewater Virginia. I had a free pass to every first run movie in town. For the past twenty five years, I’ve dedicated my professional career to helping clients achieve their financial goals. Although it sounds lofty, I’ve come to appreciate that it’s the small, mundane decisions that make a difference in people’s lives. This can range from helping a client treat children equally when they have unequal financial needs, to keeping cash flow on track.
When did you first have interest in a career in finance?
I became excited about a career in financial planning in my twenties. The combination of problem solving, people skills and analytics was intuitively appealing as I wanted to develop long-term client relationships and allocate financial resources to help people achieve their life objectives. There’s nothing better than when the light bulb goes on as a client realizes he can do something better or more effectively than he thought. I love to share an idea that gives rise to a ‘Eureka’ moment.
Did investment management or financial planning pique your interest first?
I’m a planner by nature and profession. The investment and asset allocation pieces are the engine that drives the success of the plan. But it is the plan itself that provides structure, meaning and framework for the entire financial effort. I am privileged to advise on legacy planning for heirs, securing clients’ lifetime goals, and assisting with planned giving for charitable causes.
Who was your mentor?
I didn’t have a mentor per se, but several people inspired me and served as role models such as Alexandra Armstrong, because she is one of the most respected financial planners and one of the most prominent women in the field. I believe she was in the first class of CFP®s who received the designation. Alex has always been a generous supporter of professional women achieving at the highest levels. I admire Stef Tucker for his intellect, compassion and what I call his client bedside manner. Stef can distill complex financial strategies into bite size pieces, and his delivery is almost a homily. He enjoys a respect and love of his clients that is legendary. I always learn something when I am in a client meeting with Stef.
What would you say to someone considering a career in wealth management?
You enjoy a position of respect and trust. You have the ability to educate, inform and empower clients. You work collaboratively and at a high level with your peers. You develop long-term relationships and get to see the results of your work enriching the lives of your clients, their families and communities. This is one of the most rewarding professions imaginable, and the sky is the limit.
What book have you read recently that you recommend?
I love The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard. This was recommended by a family friend who is a former theater critic for the New York Times and literary critic for the L.A. Times. Her choices are always fabulous. This is a very powerful romantic story and a feminist tale about a remarkable woman. I won’t give the plot away but suffice it to say her journey is arduous. The woman, not the men in her life, is the central character. The book came out in 1980; the story is timeless; the writing is beautiful, and it’s available through Amazon and bookstores.
What are your interests outside of work?
Yoga, community involvement in the Greater Washington, DC area, and trips to Kiawah Island to relax.