February 15, 2024 | Spotlights

Brad Clinard, High Point Financial Design

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Supporting women by listening

Brad Clinard has a mind built for numbers, spreadsheets and financial planning, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t also approaching his professional relationships with empathy and a listening ear. It’s a large reason why he and High Point Financial Design have been involved with WithIt for years now. Brad understands the importance of listening to women in the home and furnishings industry so that he can help them succeed.

He does this through his family-owned business, which supports interior designers in creating financial independence and building wealth. He treats all of his clients like family, and this approach shines through all he does with WithIt as well. We sat down to chat with him about his passion for the interior design industry, why he’s a proud member of a primarily woman-focused nonprofit and how he supports women on their financial journeys through his career. Read the full profile below.

Q&A: 

How long have you worked at High Point Financial Design? What led you to the role you’re currently in? 

Brad: My family has been in financial planning for over 35 years. Growing up, we would often travel to see clients and I was able to see how much of an impact my parents’ work had on these families and the close relationships they shared. Therefore, when an opportunity presented itself after I graduated college, it was natural to join them to find out if I would enjoy the business. One of the best parts of a family business is being able to control our own destiny, so in 2018, we decided  to take the practice in a different direction by declaring a national niche focused on supporting the interior design industry. 

Tell me about High Point Financial Design and what y’all do.

Brad: High Point Financial Design has become a go-to financial planning firm for interior designers across the country. Our focus is supporting designers with profitable businesses to create financial independence and build their personal wealth. This includes helping clients with everything from investing, setting up retirement plans, getting the right insurance, making retirement and income projections, implementing strategies to reduce taxes and setting up family legacies. Talking about money can be uncomfortable, but I use my background in both economics and psychology to make money more approachable. We aim to empower clients to take control of their future while also living an abundant life today.

What does a typical day look like for you?  

Brad: My first reaction is to laugh at the question. There is no typical day in my life. Some of my work is seasonal and predictable based on calendar deadlines. However, most of my work comes from what I call the “certainty of uncertainty.” Life happens and often money is associated with these moments, whether it’s navigating a health diagnosis, a shift in employment, buying a home, deciding when work or money has reached the point of being enough or helping aging parents navigate healthcare. I often say that in an ideal world, my job would not be required. Finances should be simple, but the world is becoming increasingly complex, and the rate of change is only going to continue to increase, leading to more planning opportunities. 

What makes you passionate about your work? 

Brad: My work is all about relationships. One of my core beliefs is that personal finance is more personal than finance. Many financial advisors work for big companies and at the end of the day, treat their work as just business. Owning a family practice, we have decided to operate with the belief that the clients we work with are a part of our chosen family and that brings a sense of love and deeper connection. We have chosen to keep our practice at a size which allows us the flexibility to spend more time and build deeper connections with the goal of loving all the clients we work with just like family. We believe this is important because when change and challenge inevitably surface in life, we have a foundation to walk together through difficult moments and help keep their financial foundation in order. 

How did you learn about WithIt? How long have you been involved in the organization? 

Amy Van Dorp and I were in a yearlong leadership program in which we got to know each other prior to my joining WithIt. She has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know and seems to always be focused on making the lives of those around her better. When High Point Financial Design began to focus on working with women in the design industry, it was a natural extension to find ways to support the work that WithIt is doing to empower the current and next generation of women leaders.  

WithIt is a woman-focused organization – why do you find it important to support something like this?

Many women have an aversion to money that often was formed at an early age. It’s not uncommon that a certain generation of fathers taught their sons about how money works while telling their daughters to just be careful not to spend too much.  For men, money is often subconsciously about ego, status, power, and comparison. For women, there is often more emphasis on providing for the family, respect, safety and a desire for clarity and comfort in their own personal plan. This seems to be a natural result of the different social challenges that women often face. Just to think of a few examples, women often outlive men, are more likely to have lower lifetime earnings, often carry the weight of raising kids, juggle to balance work and maintain a household, are more likely to be caregivers and more likely to need extended care at the end of life. All these dynamics have important implications to the financial planning process, which I feel my industry generally has overlooked or minimized. Women often must overcome negative mental narratives which prevent them from openly embracing their personal financial wellness and success. With the right mindset and tools, I believe everyone can feel both seen and heard, which creates the foundation to feel empowered about making wise decisions. 

What are some of the things you do at High Point Financial Design to support women in this industry? 

We have talked about how women often look at their finances very differently than men. This can have real impacts in a relationship, as often communication gaps can happen between spouses around money even after years of being successfully married. Often couples benefit from having a more formal structure around financial conversation. I often also see that some of the most important choices people make around their money occur at times of maximum stress. In 2020, I obtained a designation as a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist and believe those skills allow me to help women in moments of transition, whether they are recently divorced or widowed, maintain their financial foundation even in the midst of personal crisis. 

What are some of the things you’ve gotten out of your WithIt membership? 

It has deepened my respect and insight for the challenges that women face in business. I tend to lead with my heart and approach people with compassion and curiosity. It is a deep honor to be one of the few men in a room which gives me an opportunity to listen and learn.  My relationships with members of WithIt have helped me increase my awareness across the board. I hope this helps me as a leader, have better discretion for when the right time is for me to step in to serve but just as importantly when to step back and let others shine.

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If you’re considering WithIt membership for your professional journey, find out more about WithIt’s mission here or join today.

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