Cortlon Cofield, the founder of Cofield Advisors, is a man on a mission to help young people plan for their financial future.
Ever since he was a young boy, growing up in Chicago’s South Side, Cofield was always good with numbers. He recalls doing his sister’s senior math homework while only in eighth grade himself.
As a 16-year-old, Cofield, then a student at Thornwood High School, had lost both parents. However, Cofield did not let this deter him from making something of his life, instead, he used their death as a motivation to keep moving forward.
“Life is not about what happens to you, it’s about how you respond to it because you can’t control circumstances, you can control how you respond to circumstances. When my parents passed, I was forced to grow up way earlier than my peers, like when I went to college it wasn’t time to party because I didn’t have a fallback plan, it had to work,” he says.
He then lived with an aunt and his older sister – bouncing around homes and apartments. His family took a hard financial hit during the 2008 financial crisis, which pushed young Cofield, who was only in high school at the time, to research jobs that could make his family money, no matter what the economic situation was. Here, he decided he wanted to become a Certified Public Accountant because, as he says, “everyone needs someone to look over their books.”
However, while shadowing an actual CPA at a dream firm of his, he heard the story of an older woman that would change the course of his life forever.
“I went to go shadow a financial planner at a firm, that I wanted to work for. He had a meeting with an older lady who wanted him to look over her retirement plan, because she wanted to retire in five years. I watched him tell her that if she wanted to retire comfortably she would have to work for at least 15 more years.
So at that moment I knew I wanted to do financial planning but with younger people. She kept saying in the meeting, ‘where was this help when I was young?’ ‘Where were you when I was 30 making all these decisions, and now it’s too late?’ I don’t ever want to see that again. That’s why I started my firm and work with young people now.”
In his first year of opening up his own firm, Cofield Advisors, Cofield has helped over 50 Millenials change their mindset and think about their future.
“The biggest thing is the mindset, its hard to tell a 30-year-old to save for their 65-year-old self, they cant see that person, they don’t care about that person, they don’t know that person. So I try to just get them to make decisions that are in that person’s best interest.”
Check out SCENE Chicago live stream on Monday @ 3:30 where we will be talking to Cofield about strategies for saving, budgeting, and ways millennials can really have a millionaire mindset!