Pushing Boundaries And Owning Her Truth: Taynia Vakapuna

12 April, 2021 | Rachita Sharma

“Have the courage to be disliked.” Despite what others might think, I have come to accept that there’s no harm and no foul when it comes to principles and pure intentions. I believe, it is our responsibility to ensure that those decisions are right for us, and that they genuinely support the well-being of our loved ones. Doing what is right is more important than being liked by every person that crosses my path.
Life is all about making tough choices: owning our truth, speaking it, and loving it.
Born and raised in Utah, I’m a first generation American with my roots in the South-Pacific. Luckily for me, my parents come from two different countries, my dad from Samoa and my mom from Tonga. Experiencing this diversity at home allowed me to learn and celebrate both of them. I was a pre-med student trying to major in Biology. Science, especially Mathematics, was a personal favorite, which eventually led me to what I truly love and enjoy – finance.
After my marriage and kids, I’ve tried to inculcate the best of both cultures in raising my boys. I’d elected to be a stay-at-home mom, as that was a priority for me. Interestingly, that’s when I found my skill and passion for finance. With my husband as the sole provider, I recognized the difficulties of sustaining a family with limited resources.
Managing personal finances and learning more about it piqued my interest. What began as simple budget handling, evolved into a long-term financial planning framework for working towards goals such as retirement planning or funding a child’s education. There came a point in managing my home where I realized I had pockets of time I could put to better use.
My industrious mind encouraged me to be productive and so I enrolled in a Certified Financial Planning program, which changed the course of my life. The goal was to complete my program and wait until 2024 when my youngest would start school, so I could pursue a career. But soon after finishing, I was sent a job opportunity from the director of my program. After applying I was doubtful they would work with me, considering my role as a new mom.
When I got selected at Everspire, I knew it couldn’t be a job where I had to fit into, but rather it had to be a place that shared similar values and would allow me to adapt my life and priorities. For example, I managed the kids while my husband was planning on switching careers and going back to school. Finding such a place eventually allowed me and my husband to swap responsibilities. He was in school full-time and took over our boys, while I pursued a career. And the beauty is that we were both doing what we loved.
My transition from a stay-at-home mom to a working professional came with its own set of challenges. I realized that there were some who probably didn’t approve of my move, and while I respected it, I believed in the power of financial planning to help improve the lives of families.
There’s so much I appreciate about my job. My favorite thing about being a member of the Everspire team is understanding how the personal information I collect is applied to make an actual difference in a client’s life. Extracting technical and sensitive personal information is not difficult. It’s the art of people that I find most interesting. It’s crucial to find a common ground with people to break down any barriers of trust when we meet someone new. When we personalize relationships and lead with the heart, everyone becomes more comfortable, and I am able to take a leadership role in helping others on their financial journey. It’s a steep learning curve. My experiences have taught me the value of money.
Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it is a powerful resource that can give access to more opportunities – less stuff, more experiences. I focus not only on our clients’ pecuniary or traditional interests, but also on their dreams and aspirations. I take these insights and formulate an action plan for their future. This process and the outcomes achieved from the planning bring me satisfaction and a deepened sense of purpose. To see how I can positively impact the lives of others gives me perspective and motivation in everything I do.
My advice to young women or new mothers who are ambitious is to follow your heart. When you find your passions and direct them constructively for the betterment of others, you love what you do and find peace on your journey. Pay attention to your natural talents and interests. I could’ve studied biology, but I didn’t love it. Finance, on the other hand, is a true love! It’s what I choose to do in my free time. Our choices and how we spend our time can redefine our capabilities, so begin with the end in mind. Why not choose to spend your precious time on something you love?