For Ted Jenkin, work is therapy.
Every time he helps someone make educated decisions about their finances, he’s fulfilling a personal goal he set as a teenager.
“My father passed away when I was 18 years old, and we lived in the kind of house where Mom and Dad didn’t talk about the finances,” says the Chastain Park resident and CEO of Buckhead-based financial planning firm oXYGen Financial. “My mom was left with $100,000 of credit card debt. She was a fifth grade schoolteacher, and she didn’t make a lot of money. As a kid, you don’t really ask that many questions. So now, it’s therapeutic for me to be able to help families and make sure they don’t experience what happened to my family when I was growing up.”
When he began college, Jenkin had no idea that he could have a career in financial advising. However, his double major in finance and accounting opened his eyes to the possibility, and he launched his career as an employee of American Express Financial Advisors in 1991. He worked his way up through management and remained with the organization as it spun off into the publicly traded Ameriprise Financial. By 2008, he decided it was time to step out on his own. He founded oXYGen Financial that year. He also is the co-founder and co-host of The Shrimp Tank, a podcast that provides business advice to young entrepreneurs. Whether he is working directly with clients or sharing insights with listeners and viewers, his aim is to give people power over their finances.
What is your personal approach to helping clients with their finances?
I thank my mom for being a teacher because that’s what I am on a lot of days. I’m educating adults on how money concepts work. The key is breaking down very complex subjects into very easy-to understand terms. Nobody teaches you money concepts in high school or college, or even in your adult life. They don’t even teach you how to read your paycheck. My goal is to educate you about how all of this works.
You focus on specific age groups with your business. Why?
I saw there was a need to give financial advice to the X and Y generations. That’s why X, Y and G are pronounced in the company’s logo. I wanted to build a model that would help the next couple of generations— those people who are in their 40s and 50s and getting older. I’m 51, and I love working with people in my age range because I feel we can give them real-life financial advice. I don’t think a lot of the big banks and brokerage houses are in sync with those customers. We want to help people get over the fear of the unknown and empower them to be the CEO of their family finances.
Why was Buckhead the right location to start oXYGen Financial, which now has offices in Alpharetta, Boston, Sarasota and Boulder?
What’s not to love about being in the heart of Buckhead? Atlanta is the hub of the South, and Buckhead, to me, is the epicenter. Atlanta is a transient town. It has a growing population, and many people are looking for a new relationship with a financial advisor. Atlanta also is a great location for business owners; you don’t have to live here your whole life to be accepted into this business community. All of that makes Atlanta a great market for us. It was the ideal spot to start our business. W
hat is your favorite part of living in Chastain Park?
I think it’s the most beautiful place in the city. I walk the park three times a week, and I never feel like I’m in the city.
3060 Peachtree Road N.E.,
15 Minutes With columnist at Simply Buckhead. Freelance feature writer, children’s book author and President of Green Meadows Communications, LLC.