After more than 25 years in the industry, Cynthia O’Rourke now manages the finances of multiple generations of clients as a certified financial planner at Spinnaker Trust in Portland.

It’s a profession that emphasizes long-term relationships. As young clients age, get married, have children and ultimately head toward retirement, their financial needs and goals evolve. A financial planner’s job is to be a trusted adviser every step of the way.

“I feel like part of the family with a lot of people,” O’Rourke said.

Financial management, a career field that is growing in Maine as the state’s population continues to age, is focused heavily on ethics. Financial planners have a legal obligation to act only in the best interests of their clients.

O’Rourke works strictly on salary. She does not receive any incentives or commissions for advising clients to choose a particular investment vehicle or financial service.

“That would be a no-go for a certified financial planner,” she said.

A large part of the business revolves around planning for retirement, but O’Rourke said there are many other issues on which she advises clients: power of attorney, wills, trusts, life insurance, college funds and more.

“It encompasses everything that is important in your financial world,” she said.

The trick is to figure out what a particular client’s financial goals are, and then find the right instruments to achieve those goals. Another challenge is to master the art of talking clients down off the ledge when the major exchanges take a big hit as they did earlier this month.

“Probably the hardest part is keeping clients calm when the stock market is volatile,” O’Rourke said.

But financial planners help their clients understand that retirement planning is a marathon, not a sprint. If they stay the course, they will get to enjoy prosperity in their later years and help their children build their own nest eggs.

“It’s an extremely gratifying career in the sense that you are helping people,” she said.