How Amy Novakovich Is Making the Financial Industry More Transparent
In this series called Member Showcase, we publish interviews with members of The Oracles. This interview is with Amy Novakovich, CFP®, CRPC®, and CEO of Nova Wealth Management, which serves businesses, families, athletes, and entertainers. It was condensed by The Oracles.
What was a defining moment early in your life?
Amy Novakovich: At age 11, I had the opportunity to sell ice cream at a rodeo in my small town in Wisconsin. I remember thinking, “Wow, I can have all the ice cream I want!” After a few hours of being on my feet in the heat and loud noise, I was so miserable that the immediate gratification of the ice cream wore off. I remember feeling like it would never end.
When I was done, I found out that I made over $200. That moment, I learned it's not the immediate payoff that should determine my decisions, but the result. Today as a business owner, I want to focus on the business all day, every day. But I’ve realized that if you want to retire, every dollar you make is not for today. So, you have to decide to invest in your future.
What is one of your proudest moments?
Amy Novakovich: One of my proudest moments was taking in our 16-year-old nephew the same week we gave birth to our fourth child. It was a difficult decision for my husband and me. We didn’t know what to expect from this teenager who had been through a lot and just moved to a different state.
Since I’m an only child, it was a challenge having raging teenage hormones, toddler tantrums, and a newborn all in the same home. But it was a challenge I wanted to accept if we could make a difference in his life. I have never once regretted it.
How did your business get started?
Amy Novakovich: At the last financial firm I worked for, I had more than 1,200 clients. I realized the advisor’s job was not as much to manage accounts but instead, to bring in new clients. The portfolio managers were the ones running the accounts, and they didn’t know the advisors or the clients.
I realized each client was just a number. Thousands were categorized together as if they had the same lives and aspirations. But no two families are alike, so they shouldn’t be managed that way.
I didn’t feel as though this was truly helping anyone, so I began looking for jobs. I realized most firms did business in this same way, so we created Nova Wealth Management.
What book changed your mindset or life?
Amy Novakovich: The Bible is the only book that has truly transformed my life. I grew up in a church with stringent rules to live up to and judged those who didn’t. After my parents left the church when I was 13, I didn’t know what to do. I always tried to be in control—but life doesn’t work that way.
When I started reading the Bible for myself, I learned that Jesus already won any battle we might face. I’ve let the Lord lead me since then, and the rest is history!
What was your biggest challenge starting in business? How did you overcome it?
Amy Novakovich: Deciding to start the business in the first place was the biggest challenge! Leaving a six-figure job with benefits to go out on my own created feelings I didn’t know existed.
To overcome them and make the decision, I first weighed the risks and benefits. I like to play the “What hurts worse?” game. Is it worse to stay at my job, not help people, and be miserable? Or is it worse to go, help a lot of people, but possibly make less money?
Then I calculated the financial risk. My husband and I laid out a plan, including how many clients we’d need, what we’d need to charge, and what expenses we’d have. Then we made the decision.
How do you define great leadership?
Amy Novakovich: A great leader helps others find their purpose and the power of their voice. When you know your purpose, you are more productive. When you understand the power of your voice, you have more positive energy and motivation to be better than you were yesterday. You’re also a resource to those around you.
How do you evaluate a good business deal?
Amy Novakovich: You have to estimate the return on investment, or how much you expect to make after costs. These include not only monetary costs but also things like human capital and time.
Each part of the deal can go one of two ways—good or bad. So, evaluate the likely results for every part of the deal. If the most likely outcome is positive cash flow, it’s a deal worth considering.
And remember: It’s not a personality contest, so don’t just take someone’s word because you like them.
What’s your daily routine for success?
Amy Novakovich: With four children, my days are often interrupted unexpectedly. Instead of trying to stick to a strict schedule, I mentally prepare for each day and give myself plenty of time to get things done.
I take five minutes in the morning to run through different scenarios I might encounter in my day. Then I envision how I will react, commit to the reaction I want, and pray. For example, if I hit a roadblock while preparing for a big meeting, I may get overwhelmed. So, I recognize that this may happen, then decide that rather than get frustrated, I will look at alternative options. This way, I stay on task, clear my mind, and let the energy and creativity flow.
What are you working on right now?
Amy Novakovich: Education! I’m passionate about transparency in the financial advisor industry. My husband and I are releasing a book and seven investment courses. We also plan to continue our live social media shows that explain finance in understandable terms. By educating others, we can minimize the chances they’ll be taken advantage of.
I have experience with almost all kinds of financial advisory firms. I know banking, budgeting, lending, insurance, business, financial planning, and investments. So, I can see things differently from advisors who focus solely on investments and financial planning.
What is the most exciting question that you spend time thinking about?
Amy Novakovich: How can I make a difference today? Whether we like it or not, every word, smile, gesture, and interaction with others will have a positive or negative impact. Every day, we can make an impression on our spouse, kids, coworkers, and strangers.
You never know when someone is at their breaking point. Giving a compliment can change someone’s entire perspective. I’ll never understand why my child remembers some silly moments and not others. So, I hold myself accountable to making a difference every day—no matter how big or small.