Innovation embraces bravery, foresight, and a whole lot of spirit. The basis is simple — to push yourself to do things that have not been done before. Innovation inspires you to wipe out conventional things, be original, go against the grain, and think outside the box.
Riding on the wave of such innovation is an entrepreneur who is calm, unafraid, and knows what he wants. His ideals are based on three strands: honesty, integrity, and prudence, where he is committed to always put the people’s best interests first.
Emanuel Avina is the Founder and President of Avina Financial Group where he delivers the right strategy to realize your retirement dreams. As a trailblazer, he loves to refine his creative side by reading autobiographies, especially of innovative people and leaders.
He is particularly taken in by the enormous ingenuity of Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Elon Musk, and Abigail Johnson. He finds it rather interesting to see how their lives may have been different but their common threads— adversity, perceived failures, and ideas— in the journey made them remarkable.
However, there is a higher source of inspiration that permeates the California-based entrepreneur’s life. It is the realization to serve — serve a greater purpose than yourself. “That is the basis of every decision and action that I make,” he shares.
Emanuel Avina also confesses that “we are never a final product and there are times that we fall off the track or take a detour.” Having said that, if you have a clear North Star, it will always take you back to your core mission and purpose.
Enterprising Early Years
Growing up, Emanuel was an analytical and imaginative child. He recalls three of the most engrossing stories from his childhood.
The first story begins at the age of 5 where he lived in a two-storied house with his close-knit family. “My father made a fort of sorts under the stairs leading to the second floor. I would play in that fort for hours using every outfit and toy at my disposal,” he shares. While his siblings — a younger sister and elder brother — had different interests, Emanuel spent most of his time with his closest friend – his imagination.
Digging deeper into his childhood days, he says, “Looking back, I created so many adventures and games at a time. After breakfast, I would spend so much time with my imagination and wouldn’t come out until almost dinner.”
The next story comes a few years later, when he was eight and one particular tool caught his fancy — a measuring tape with a digital reader. Although it belonged to his father, he was immediately curious to know more about this ‘magical’ object.
“It intrigued me what its mechanism was able to achieve and naturally it became my mission to put it to test and figure out how it worked,” he recalls. Easily swayed by his curiosity (once again), he first tried to measure all sorts of things to see if he could find an error in the tool and surprisingly, he couldn’t.
Then, he went one step further to find out how it worked and took apart the tape successfully. But his victory was short-lived when he realized that he couldn’t re-assemble it. “I was never able to put that measuring tape back together and I dreaded having to tell my father about it,” he adds.
Before long, he shared the consequences of his new adventure with his mother. She gently told him to confess the mishappenings, despite being afraid of his father’s reaction. To his surprise, instead of punishing him, his father chose to respond in a calm manner as he wanted to encourage Emanuel’s inquisitive mind.
To this day, he holds this powerful lesson close to his heart and uses this in his professional and personal life.
His final story comes from his early teenage years where he decided to save up for not only his college but also his rent, groceries, and other necessities. He started creating a budget by considering the cost of the college, using the grocery advertisements to budget for food, and relying on PennySaver to figure out the rent.
“At that time there was no internet, or it was in its infancy, so I had to use what I had. And sure enough, after a couple of days I had completed a budget!” he shares. At the age of 12, he researched important things like “what degree I would need to obtain, what school I would go to, what licenses I would need,” and set his eyes and heart on becoming a financial advisor.
Emanuel also found great role models in his cousins, Paul, and Jose, who made him more confident and optimistic about his future. He shaped his destiny by learning from all of these stories and it finally led him to the financial services industry. He found his calling by combining his imaginative and analytical side along with his core mission of serving others.
“I guess I never really thought about it until now but since I was a kid there were these breadcrumbs that were leading me on this way from my natural tendencies to my environment growing up to my circle of influence – it all pointed here,” he concludes.
Introducing ‘More’ To More People
Emanuel Avina’s passion project, Avina Financial Group, was a result of his decade-long experience in the financial services industry. It wasn’t divine intervention or an unexpected “aha” moment that led him towards this unique journey.
It was his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to be a leader everywhere he went — amongst his group of friends, in a club or sports team — that snowballed into his next exciting venture.
In fact, his motivation was to get the best results for his people. He says, “I felt a strong calling to start something that was different, independent and without limits for my clients.” He made this possible by using cutting-edge technology and right strategy which was earlier not possible by just being a part of a simple broker-dealer dynamic.
Later, he started researching the best way to deliver the results and it suddenly became apparent to him that establishing a Fiduciary Registered Investment Advisory Firm and operating as an Investment Advisor was the ideal way to succeed.
Since his firm’s inception in 2016, he follows a clear mission statement, “To be excellent in everything we do while making a difference in the communities that we work and live in by providing a quality financial plan that helps our clients Retire with More.”
The intrinsic concept of Retire with More is based on the fact that everyone, by our choice or life’s choice, will retire to do more of something — spend more time with family, find more peace of mind, have more time to travel, or have more time to just be. “Whatever that more is, we want to plan and prepare to Retire with More,” he concludes.
Staying Consistent with Your Vision
Emanuel’s commitment as the Founder and President of AFG along with his team’s experienced advisory services has truly transformed the lives of many people.
While he does not endorse any form of micro-management, he finds it important to mark his presence, his touch, and his feel in every aspect of the business. He looks up to Jim Singega — former CEO and Founder of Costco — for his business management strategies.
“Mr. Singega would visit every Costco at least once a year to make an appearance, see how the business was running and ensure that this brand was keeping up to their reputation. That has very much inspired me to do the same,” he shares.
Moreover, Emanuel’s passion for evolutionary action stems from his experiences. He personally advises most of his clients to this day. Besides this, he also holds another facet close to his heart: reduce the distinctive gap in financial literacy and aim to resolve it in two ways.
The first way is to organize education workshops at non-profits and also at schools to ensure that many people have access to financial literacy resources. The second way is to ensure all clients and prospective clients receive a written retirement income plan. He finds that in doing this, his team has provided a solid foundation to make people more financially aware.
Confidently Finding Yourself
Looking back at his journey, Emanuel finds it very difficult to discover areas where he would have done anything differently, but this doesn’t come out of complacency or ignorance.
He is self-aware in his accomplishments as he feels that he “did not do everything perfectly as we are a sum of everything that we have done beforehand.” In other words, if he were to change something, he would also be changing the experiences and knowledge that he derived from that.
However, if he could have the knowledge and experience regardless, then the biggest thing he would have done differently is: “Worry less. Worry is such a wasteful and debilitating disease that can take a hold of you.”
He also feels that worrying changes the way you would ordinarily do things and leads to mistakes. “You cannot always worry about the market, about your clients, about the success or failure of your business,” he points out.
Making Bold Decisions and Carving Your Path
As a young entrepreneur, navigating an ever-changing industry can be strenuous.
Emanuel Avina urges aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders, especially in the financial space, to “have a solid foundation on a higher power.” He also recommends knowing and understanding your mission statement and to follow it in every decision.
While it’s true that great leaders uplift the greatness in their people to achieve greater business results, Emanuel agrees on making the best out of the people around you.
He feels having the best people surrounding you— to challenge you and grow with you is an exceptional and rare gift. “You are truly fortunate if you can also manage to find yourself a mentor(s),” he agreeably states.
Serving clients in over 50 states, Emanuel is hopeful of a brighter and sustainable future. He believes that Avina Financial Group will outperform as a premier, personalized, and curated financial services company in Southern California.
“I will continue to work with the clients that I have and will have in the future. I’ve been asked before, if you were to win the lottery, what would you do – and God’s honest truth – I would be doing what I am doing right now,” he happily shares.
While he may have the ability to do it on a bigger scale, the nuts and bolts of what he does —both with AFG and on a personal front— would be the same.