The Importance of Planning Ahead
Deb Pajak didn’t set out to become a certified financial planner, but she did always have “a desire to help people,” she said.
A graduate of Penn State with a degree in counseling and social work, her initial career was not in insurance and finance.
“My journey to becoming a CFP was rather circuitous, as is the case with many moms who step away from the workforce for a period of time,” Pajak said.
After staying home until her boys were a bit older, she was ready to reenter the workforce, and that was when she “realized that I could combine my love of finances with my love of being of service, so the financial planning role seemed like a perfect fit.”
Pajak holds a variety of designations in the field of financial planning and is a registered representative for MML Investors Services LLC. She is also a partner in her firm, uFinancial Group, where she focuses on estate planning, investment/portfolio analysis and design, asset allocation strategies, and other financial services.
Her days are full with client appointments and planning sessions.
“I do a great deal of my business in the area of retirement planning,” Pajak said, “both the accumulation phase when clients are still actively working and the distribution phase when clients want to make sure their assets will last and provide adequate income for their golden years.”
Pajak works hard to make what can often be a very complex process as simple as possible for her clients, helping them understand how to accomplish their individual retirement goals.
“Seeing someone benefit from our planning and truly enjoying their retirement is the best outcome and compliment for my work,” she said.
Of course, there are days, particularly when the market “swings in both directions,” that can be stressful for her clients, and although she makes it clear that it’s a natural part of the market cycle, it isn’t always easy for her clients to accept.
“Helping my clients stay focused and committed to the plan we have put into place is sometimes challenging,” Pajak said.
Pajak is fortunate to have a dedicated staff, and that, she said, makes “all the difference” when it comes to great customer service and satisfaction. Her son, Chris, is her fulltime business manager and partner, something she considers an added blessing.
“Being able to rely on staff is certainly one of the secrets to success,” she said.
As a woman in the financial planning business, Pajak is aware of the positive traits that women are often known for, such as attention to detail, empathy, intelligence, and a great capacity for caring.
“These traits are those that clients may want to have in their financial planner,” she said. “While the industry may be a ‘man’s world,’ I find that many people may choose to work with a woman, and I feel that my gender is a strength.”
Pajak gets great pleasure and satisfaction from helping others, and in her position as a financial planner, she truly enjoys the opportunities to celebrate with her clients.
“I have helped orphaned young people navigate very difficult times, assisted widows and widowers in putting their financial lives back together … and experienced myriad joys when clients have new babies, get married, and enjoy their retirement,” she said.
A firm believer in giving back to the community, over the years Pajak has served on the boards of the YWCA and Wildwood Lake Environmental Center. She is also a member of the Mechanicsburg Chamber of Commerce and a past member of the West Shore Chamber and the Mechanicsburg North Rotary Club. She has also served on the national board of Women in Insurance and Financial Services.
As someone who spends her days helping others plan for the future, what kind of impact has that had on her own personal philosophy? For one thing, she is very aware that there are no guarantees in life.
“I have learned that life is precious,” she said. “With all the planning that I do every day, I am still amazed at how often our plans get unexpectedly altered, for good or bad.”
Because she is so intimately connected to her clients, Pajak feels blessed to have the opportunity to help her clients through the joys and the sadness that life can bring.
“I count myself as extremely honored to serve my clients and my community in my role.” BW
MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. Deborah Pajak is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory, and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. www.SIPC.org. Estate planning services are provided working in conjunction with your estate planning attorney, tax attorney, and/or CPA. Neither MML Investors Services nor any of its employees or agents are authorized to give legal or tax advice. Consult your own personal attorney legal or tax counsel for advice on specific legal and tax matters. CRN202004-229789