10 Questions with Tim Farley, Financial Planner at Skylight’s Cleveland Office


In the latest of our “Making It Personal” Q&A series, we catch up with Tim Farley and find out all about our Rising Leader of the Year 2015.  Everything from his journey to becoming a financial planner, his complete admiration for his dad, to his lesser-known psychic powers and quirkiness when it comes to setting alarms.

1. Could you tell us about your journey to becoming a financial planner?

When I studied for my Bachelors in Industrial /Organizational Psychology at John Carroll, I completed an internship at an executive search firm and ended up staying there after I graduated.  My job was to help our clients fill critical senior executive level positions within the title insurance and real estate industries and my knowledge of business psychology came in pretty handy.  Not only did I become more experienced at matching the right people to jobs but I also became more self-aware of what kind of job I wanted and would be best suited for.  So when the executive search firm closed in 2008 during the real estate crash, the one thing I knew was that I was ready and wanted to work for myself.  I explored options that would appeal to my entrepreneurial spirit and was excited by the financial services industry.   I knew I didn’t want to be viewed as a product salesman (insurance, investments) but rather I wanted clients to view myself, and the firm I’m a part of, as a trusted advisor that could provide them with a holistic and comprehensive approach to financial planning. This led me to Skylight where I have been working now for over 6 years.

2. Has it lived up to your expectations?

It’s hard when you first start out – it’s a lot of long hours and with that comes sacrificing evenings and weekends to study for licenses and designations, in addition to building relationships.  But for me, I was always fixated on the goal of building a business from the ground up, and seeing that growth year after year and setting goals for each year. Now that I’m past those first few years, I can honestly say that it’s exceeded my expectations.  I have flexibility in nearly all aspects of this job and it’s directly attributable to the work we, as advisors, do for our clients and the value they see from the process on an ongoing basis. It’s very rewarding when you finish the planning process and your clients thank you.  Sometimes you can actually see the sense of relief on their faces. On top of that, your relationship with them has also strengthened.

3.  As a millennial, what matters most to you in your career?

Building something that lasts.  I’m only 30 but being in this industry it’s second nature to me to focus on the next 20, 30, 40 years out and figure out where I want to be both personally and professionally. The financial industry is shrinking as older financial advisors are retiring and I want to help younger individuals join this profession and help them grow.  And I think that’s because I was lucky enough to have people within Skylight that did the same thing for me and took me under their wings.

4.  Who do you most admire and why?

My dad.  He’s the most selfless person I have ever known. He was diagnosed with a rare and progressive form of cancer in 2008 which led to him losing his left hip and leg.  Yet despite his ongoing battle he continues to maintain a positive attitude day in and day out and always shows more concern for his family and friends than for himself.

5.  What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

It’s from my old high school football coach who I’ll always look up to. He used to always quote John Wooden and say “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

6.  What do you like to do outside of work?

I was very competitive and played football at high school and college levels.  So I still enjoying working out and trying to get better every day. I also play golf which I find both rewarding and frustrating in equal measure (anyone else feel my pain?)!

To relax, I like to spend time with my fiancé (my big news is that we are getting married later this year!) and my family.  Nearly all my family are still in Cleveland which is great.  And my closest friends are the ones I’ve grown up with since age 5! 

7.  Do you like to travel and what’s the most interesting place you’ve visited?

Yes, absolutely but there’s always the problem of having enough time!  I like to go to relaxing places where I can lie on the beach and also play a couple of rounds of golf.  Myrtle Beach is one of my favorite spots.

8.  What’s it like working in Ohio City?

I love it.  I not only work here but I’ve been a resident for almost four years.  My fiancé and I built a town house about a mile from the office.  We fell in love with Ohio City for its atmosphere, diversity, accessibility and sense of community.  It’s a really charming district and we like hanging out at the many wonderful restaurants and bars.

Our office being located here is awesome and our clients love visiting us.  Some clients even book a late afternoon appointment so that they can head out afterwards and enjoy our beautiful neighbourhood.

9.  What’s your secret superpower?

I’d probably say my ability to read people.  It must come from my background in psychology. So be afraid!

10.  Any little known fact about you – cringeworthy or otherwise?

I can never set an alarm for an exact hour or time.  I have to set it one minute earlier.  For example, I’ll set it for 5:59 or 6:29.  It’s weird, I know.  And I can’t explain why I do it but it probably has to do with the fear of being late. 

Thanks Tim for sharing! (Tim's the tall guy on the far left in the picture below).

Timothy Farley, Jr. is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC Member SIPC Supervisory Office: 2012 W. 25th Street, Suite 900, Cleveland OH 44113. 216-621-5680. CRN201805-202031

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