Sabina Khoja: Experienced Beyond Her Years
By Gary Kauffman
Born and raised in Georgia by immigrant business owners, Sabina Khoja has participated in budget and other financial discussions since her early teen years. It seemed natural, then, that when it came time for college she would attain a degree in business administration, with a concentration in finance, from the Hull College of Business at Augusta University.
That led to a chance to intern at Northwestern Mutual, which led to her full-time job there as a financial planner.
“Everyone in my family is in business as owners or financial planners,” she said. “Finance was always the common denominator for us. It’s truly in my blood.”
In a world where the average financial advisor is 51 years old – according to Cerulli Associates, only 10 percent are younger than 35 – Sabina sees her youth as an advantage, not a disadvantage. As a Millennial, it gives her insight in how to help them plan for the future. Many studies have shown the huge advantages of creating financial plans before age 30 to have maximum impact for funding college and retirement expenses.
“Millennials are not lazy,” Sabina said. “They want a comprehensive plan and want to follow through on that plan. You’d be surprised at how many Millennials want to talk about money.”
Her youth also gives her another advantage, she believes – longevity. That can be important when a person is ready to retire. For example, she said a 45-year-old may feel confident talking to a 60-year-old advisor, but when the 45-year-old client is ready to retire, the advisor likely will be long gone in retirement.
“But I have a long career ahead of me,” Sabina said. “When that 45-year-old client is retiring, I’ll still be here.”
All of that, she believes, will help her reach her goal of making an impact.
“Impact is the key word,” she said. “It’s what drives me personally.”
That’s also why she is so pleased to be part of the Northwestern Mutual team. According to Forbes, Northwestern is one of the most admired financial companies. Its products, services and financial soundness have been ranked No. 1 in the industry, it ranks in the top 10 in internship programs and is among the leaders in management.
“Cheesy as it sounds,” Sabina said, “what attracted me to them is that they truly put their clients first. Every year I get that reassurance that Northwestern is the best company for me.”
Part of her reassurance is in the team concept at Northwestern, where she can draw from the expertise of other advisors. But she also knows that her contributions are valued by her fellow advisors.
On a personal level, Sabina is also in tune with Northwestern’s emphasis on community involvement. Charitable work has always been part of her life, with her family helping raise funds to combat global poverty. Although Northwestern’s primary emphasis is on cancer research, Sabina can relate to that spirit of giving back.
She is involved in the local community through the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce. She serves as the vice chair for Chamber’s ambassador committee, participated in the 2018 Leadership Columbia County class and in Women on the Way, where she was named Woman of the Year for 2017. She was also Financial Representative of the Year in 2017. She is also a part of the Junior League in Augusta.
Sabina also believes she will be able to help women meet their unique needs for the future. Financial advising has traditionally been seen as a male role.
“When I got into the industry, I didn’t know how large the gender gap was,” she said. “I was never raised to think of it as a man’s job. There are thousands of women business owners in the community and state; why would they want to work with other women?”
Her diverse, multicultural background (Khoja is bilingual) and growing up as a child of immigrants give her unique insight into the needs of various ethnic groups that may be underserved in financial planning.
“People want to work with people who understand them,” she said. “Why would they not want to? It’s important to relate to your clients’ needs.”
Seeing the hard work her parents put into their financial success motivates Sabina to help others to have a successful financial future.
But whether man or woman, Millennial or Baby Boomer, immigrant or longtime resident, Sabina has one goal – to help her clients reach their goals.
“At the end of the day, what is someone’s why?” she said. “Everyone’s so scared to talk about money, it’s very emotional, but when you open the conversation, that’s where it all starts. When you figure out their why, you figure out what really matters to them and you develop the solutions to get them to their goals.”
That happens regardless of a person’s income level.
“Whether it’s $30,000 or $5 million, everyone needs a plan,” Sabina said. “Our advantage is our unique individuality of the plans. We’re not focused on just one solution – there’s one goal but many solutions. We take a holistic view.”
“Another advantage is that I’m not a fee-based planner,” she said.
Sabina spends the first 20-30 minutes of the conversation talking about a variety of subjects other than money because she wants to understand what’s truly important to the client. That has led her beyond just client relationships to friendships with her clients.
“It’s not a transactional company – everything is relationship based,” she said.
“I look forward to connecting with many more women and continuing to impact their families by providing financial security,” Sabina added. “You can contact me at 404-988-4690 and set up a consultation at no cost. Let’s start planning for your financial success today!”