Filed Under:Your Practice, Practice Management

"I'm not who you think I am"

Photograph by Craig Mitchelldyer

If there's one thing that 33-year-old Koko Hunt of Lake Oswego, Ore. is not missing, it's ambition. The former star college athlete and model has modestly set himself goals including a Ph.D. and, somewhat surprisingly, an early retirement from the profitable life insurance career he began in his very early 20s -- his larger aims being to spend more time with his family and in his community, he says. In the meantime, as a top agent with the Portland-area Oak Tree Insurance and Financial Services, the young star continues to shine, selling a mixture of LTCI, group and individual life and annuities.

Q: What did your time as an athlete do to prepare you for the financial planning world?

KH: I'd played football and baseball and been on the track and wrestling teams in high school, I was senior class president and went on to study at Lewis and Clark College, where I was a four-year starter and captain on both our football and baseball teams. I had tryouts with lots of Major League Baseball teams but I was better at football and I had chances with both the Vikings and the Seahawks. But I also realized my body was tired because I never rested, and I needed to do something to use my brain. So I'm glad I did a double major in business and communications, as that helped get me going in this business. I landed a job with New York Life after college, and gradually went on to do full financial planning.

Q: Does your age help or hurt you in your relations with clients and even your business peers?

KH: My motto is this: "I'm not who you think I am." I've faced challenges my entire life -- I grew up in a small town and there were a lot of racial issues, as I'm an Irish, Samoan, Native American and African American blend -- so I've learned to deal with people's expectations of me. I started out at 23, back when I had long hair, and I worked with a lot of tenured advisors who were probably asking, "Who is this kid?" But I've shown them my skills and I gained a lot of confidence along the way. And I want to be considered one of the best, so that's why I keep ramping up my education -- I've got my Series 6 and 63, 7 and 65 licenses, and I've started working on my CFP. I also speak from experience. Despite my age, I own a house, I have kids, I've got a 401(k) and LTC already.

Q: How do you fit all of this into your schedule?

KH: My life is very busy, with classes three days a week and some 14-hour days, but I'm still able to get my second wind and play with my kids, and also play softball and coach football on the weekends. I really try to create a balance of work and family, and that's why I got my career going so early, rather than having to be worried about working in my 60s. I just don't take any of this for granted. <<

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