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Financial adviser Colleen Farley is making investments in her community

As a financial adviser, Colleen Farley knows the importance of making sound investments — and investing in your community is advice she would offer anyone.

At 28, Farley is already a second vice president and partner at the Robbins Farley Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Manchester — where she began her career at the entry level.

&#';I began working at Smith Barney as an intern the fall semester of my senior year at Saint Anselm,&#'; said Farley. &#';It was near the close of that internship that Bob Robbins, a financial adviser at Smith Barney, asked if I'd like to do some marketing work for him, so I began working for him 20 hours a week while I finished school. As I neared graduation, Bob asked me what I wanted to do for a living, and I said I wanted to be a financial adviser but had been told that Smith Barney didn't hire students right out of school. He gave me an offer to join him as an investment associate, go through training and licensing, and then become registered as a financial adviser within a few years. So, I graduated college on Saturday and began my career on Monday. Within one year of graduating from Saint Anselm, I was a financial adviser, and Bob and I formed our team.&#';

Despite the struggling economy, Farley's firm has experienced success guiding their clients through tough financial times.

&#';Our approach to wealth enhancement and wealth preservation is to construct investment portfolios in a manner like our clients run their businesses — to generate growing income,&#'; said Farley. &#';We use equity investments as &#';divisions' of our portfolio. When a &#';division' doesn't meet its forecasts, we sell that one and purchase another.&#';

At work Farley may specialize in wealth management for manufacturing and technology business owners, but saw an opportunity for investment in her adopted community of Merrimack, after she joined the local Rotary Club.

&#';I had been a member for several years when one of the Rotarians announced an initiative to renovate the local playground, Kids Kove,&#'; said Farley. &#';The Rotary Club had actually built that playground 20 years earlier. I brought my niece and nephew to that playground whenever they came up to visit — I knew it needed updating.&#';

She volunteered to help with the effort, but soon took on organizing the entire project.

&#';I stepped up early on as the chair of the fundraising committee, but a few months into the project the project chair had to relocate due to a job change to central Massachusetts and resigned from the position,&#'; said Farley. &#';At that time, the club wholeheartedly supported the future of this project and I volunteered to keep it running forward. We organized an amazing group of folks that were as passionate about the project as we were and collaborated with many of the other local organizations, the police and fire department, schools, and town officials. Even though I don't have children of my own at this time, I knew it was important to the community and so it became important to me.&#';

She watched as the two-year, $105,000 renovation project resulted in what has become a popular program for those living in Merrimack, as well as surrounding communities. She organized over 750 volunteers, and personally contributed more than $3,000 of her income and 300 hours of her time to see it through.

&#';Volunteering is a high priority for me as well as my business partner,&#'; said Farley. &#';Since high school, volunteering has been of particular interest to me. I was introduced to it through my school, where &#';Love in Action' was a mandatory course. We had to pick a local organization and volunteer for 20 hours over a semester. I volunteered at a local nursing home, and I loved it. It was life changing. That was just the beginning of getting involved in the community.&#';

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