Working toward a better Fresno
By ELISA NAVARRO, Student Writer
“I knew I wanted to be a financial planner and I was going to make my plan A my only plan,” said Justin Vartanian (2009).
Vartanian is a Financial Planner at Ameriprise Financial Services, one of the largest financial planning firms in the country with over 5,000 certified financial planers. Working with 125 local clients, Vartanian enjoys helping people put their financial dreams within reach.
“I personally just like helping people achieve their goals and dreams and that’s the most fulfilling for me, when somebody sets out to do something and through our help and advice they achieved it that much faster.”
Vartanian helps guide people with different goals like paying off school loans, saving more money for retirement, protecting their families, and others who want to invest more in their community.
“Last year I helped a client over a 19-month period accumulate enough cash to eliminate all of their student loans. That was around $40,000. So for people in their twenties to think that they can be student loan free, it is a big mountain to climb and they were up for the challenge. So we took 19 months and a lot of discipline, but we got them to get their student loan wiped out before having their first home.”
Throughout his career, he found himself coming across a lot of 20 and 30 year olds who were making a good income and who cared about the community but were not necessarily being asked to give their time and their treasure.
That’s when the big idea and the beginning of Next Generation Philanthropy began. Next Generation Philanthropy is an extension of the Central Valley Community Foundation, where Vartanian also serves on the board of directors.
“To me, a community-benefit organization is the best place for people to invest because these are the people on the ground floor. I’m good at gathering people towards a common goal, so that’s what I did.”
“Three and a half years ago we started our first class with 16 people and we gave away $15,000 our first year, $22,000 our second year, $30,000 our third, and we are hoping to give away $50,000 this year.”
Vartanian says that he wants to raise the bar for smart philanthropy within the community and hopefully attract millions of dollars from local philanthropist and from the state or federal associations.
“It’s something that I am very passionate about, helping people achieve their financial goal and getting them to also give back.”