Education is the key to a successful retirement, and Kamila Elliott, CFP®, CEO and founder of Collective Wealth Partners in Atlanta, is on a mission to spread the word to diverse communities. As the first African-American woman to serve in the prominent board chair role for the CFP, she aims to increase diversity in the industry, as well.

Kamila found her calling early on when working at a bank during her college years. While she had initially intended to pursue a job in the field of public relations, she was dissuaded by the fact that the majority of those internships were unpaid. A paid job at a bank was the first step toward her current path, where she now has nearly two decades of experience helping clients grow their wealth through comprehensive financial planning.

“I started Collective Wealth Partners, which is 100% Black-owned, to serve my community and help them build wealth they can then pass on,” Kamila says.

Researching the reasons for the wealth gap in diverse communities has been eye-opening for her, and she recently shared her findings in a whitepaper co-written with fellow CFP® Brent Kessel, called Two American Financial Plans: The Next 50 Years of the Racial Wealth Gap and What You Can Do About It, which explains the cultural and systemic issues perpetuating the racial wealth gap.

Kamila stresses the importance of leading with education. “A comfortable retirement should never appear out of reach,” she says. “We want to show people how they can reach their goals with incremental changes.”

Kamila is used to being the “only” person at the table in many contexts – being a woman, young and Black. That perspective allows her to be a dynamic member of the CFP board, where she represents all those different populations, with the goal of increasing diversity in the advising space, where demand is on the upswing.

“We need to develop a diverse pipeline of talent. That will only happen when we introduce kids to the possibilities at a younger age and change some misconceptions there might be about the profession,” she says. “It’s a rewarding field where you can do well for yourself and others.”

In today’s episode, Kamila talks to Ana about misconceptions regarding the racial wealth gap, her vision for the future of the profession and why it’s critically important to negotiate your salary from the first offer.

Key Takeaways

  • Help clients budget throughout their journey. They need to guard against lifestyle creep and instead keep raising the amount they invest.
  • Show the benefits of compound interest. Starting a savings plan at a young age gives people a leg up to help support long-term goals.
  • Salary negotiation is critical to closing the wealth gap. Initial compensation affects earning power throughout someone’s tenure, because raises, bonuses and 401(k) matches are all typically based on a percentage of that number.


“Through my pro bono work, I have seen many families who didn’t have the financial means to support the retirement of their dreams – not because they didn’t work hard, but because no one had educated them on retirement planning and how to save and build wealth.” 


Sharing your expertise in retirement planning can make a lasting difference to your clients and their families. Carson Group can help you build a solid advising plan. Schedule a consultation to start tapping this resource today.

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