Starting With Why
“The Golden Circle” (Photo Credit to Simon Sinek, Author of Start With Why)
Many of you have probably already heard the big news… I started my own financial planning practice back in June, and now its time to kick off the blog.
While I had hoped to have this blog ready to go on Day 1, I just wasn’t ready to commit to publishing here on a regular basis while getting the first few clients onboard at the firm. Clients come first, always!
I want to use this blog post as an opportunity to share a bit more as to why I made this choice, and maybe even plant some seeds to think about your own career as you continue to grow.
One of my favorite and most impactful books I have ever read was Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why”, and that is exactly where I want this blog to start. If you like what you read today, feel free to get free, regular updates from us by subscribing at the bottom of this page. Let’s get started.
Reason #1: People, not numbers.
You’ve probably heard many people say this, or even seen a commercial or two about it, but I want to go a bit further.
Of course, there are the obvious points. My clients don’t need to have a certain amount of assets to work with me. They don’t need to have a certain amount of money to buy a product (we don’t sell any products anyways), or to get started. Their goals don’t usually involve having an astronomical amount of money either.
As much as I love digging through statements, optimizing the financial tools we have at our disposal, and running my software models… what I enjoy most is hearing the stories of how people came to be who they are, and how that shapes their financial goals.
I always use the line “I could have 3 people with identical net worth statements in back-to-back meetings, and those meetings would all be drastically different” to explain why I love what I do.
And it certainly is true. If you were to ask your 3 best friends what they would do with $1,000,000, you’ll understand exactly what I am talking about.
I actually asked this question on my social media accounts and these were three of the responses:
- “I would buy properties to turn into vacation rental income.”
- “Pay off medical debt from my past, payoff my car, donate to the human society and an orphanage I support, then invest the rest.
- “I’d buy a racecar, truck, trailer, and some toys for the lake. The rest I would live off of and not worry about having to go to work every day.”
The best part about financial planning is, all three of these answers are 100% acceptable and the goals behind them are likely realistic with a solid plan in place. They may not be funded with a total of $1,000,000 , but they are all certainly attainable.
Without asking any follow-up questions, you can get a glimpse as to what values drive each person’s financial choices. When we actually get to the why behind the what, money choices become rather simple.
Financial planning is about the person at the center of their finances, not the numbers or the money itself. What works for someone else, may not necessarily work for you. Just like the circle image at the top, the person is the why when it comes to any financial plan.
Helping people align their financial decisions, their career decisions, and their everyday life decisions with who they truly are is what I find the most exciting about my job.
We don’t all come from the same exact background. This point alone is why you should never feel ashamed about your past financial history, and it is exactly what makes my job as fun every single day I get to work with my clients.
Simply put… I like to work with people, not work on people.
Reason #2: Flexibility
Flexibility is something that in my opinion becomes more valuable with each passing year as we age. It also is a key feature of what wealth means to me.
Being able to have choice and choose a life that allows for minimal regret is the one of the most contributing factors to feeling satisfied in life. We were gifted free will for a reason, right?
It is also why I made the choice to be a virtual-based firm. Working virtually with my clients not only provides convenience to them in not having to drive to my office or make sure they don’t have conflicting work or travel plans; it also allows for me to help them wherever I may be on the day of a meeting. I promise not to be “that guy” who publicly broadcasts everything he is talking about while at Starbucks, though.
Having my own firm also gives me the autonomy to work with those who I truly feel I can benefit the most with my expertise, not just with any prospective client who has sufficient assets or is willing to pay a fee.
I love working with young professionals (Typically Ages 20-45) and small business owners, those who are passionate about the work they do or are ready to make the leap to more fulfilling work.
It is incredibly easy getting out of bed knowing I will get to help someone develop their ideal life and empowering them to design their financial plan so they can pursue their dream job, live a well-balanced life, and focus on their craft rather than stressing about money.
Flexibility to me also means being able to grab some fresh air during the middle of the day, clear my mind, and be in continual connection with my faith throughout my work day. I do my best work when I am best, and starting my own business was the most sustainable option for me.
By knowing what is enough and building flexibility throughout our lives, we can spend time on the relationships and experiences that really matter. It could be time with family, friends, or being able to take that trip or volunteer project you’ve always hoped of doing.
Flexibility helps alleviate regret in our decision making. It isn’t saying we can do it all, but it is accepting we have limited time and resources, and choosing to build around what really matters.
Reason #3: 100% Responsibility
I wanted to follow-up my flexibility point with this one for a specific reason. Being flexible does not alleviate the need for responsibility or accountability.
This may seem like a shocking one to most people, but I really do enjoy having the responsibility to make sure things are getting done properly, and on time.
Like I said at the beginning, clients always come first. If someone is willing to pay a financial planner good money to take care of them, I like to make sure they are well taken care of. Their wellbeing should be the first priority in my working hours, not something that comes after everything else.
I am sure we all have had that co-worker or boss who takes advantage of flexibility or being able to delegate so they can go do something else they would rather do rather than getting the job done. While there are plenty of risks in starting a business, this point alone made it worth it for me.
To me, this also means staying on top of the latest financial strategies, finding more user-friendly tools for my clients to use, or simply finding new ways to communicate complicated topics in a way each client will be able to understand. I find a lot of enjoyment in optimizing and iterating how I build the experience for my clients.
Our world is constantly changing and being the go-to resource when life is unsettled (2020 wasn’t crazy was it?) is a responsibility I am thankful to take on each day.
Reason #4: I'm Different
We each have our own unique journey and our own unique way of doing things. I am certainly not exempt from that fact.
My family never had a financial planner growing up. I grew up in a single-parent household where money was never really a topic of conversation. My hometown was only 2,000 people, and I was a first-generation college graduate. My graduating class was only 48 kids.
While I attended a 40,000+ student university, I spent most of my time with my 10 or so really good friends, each of whom I could call up at this very second and know they would pick up or call right back to see what was up.
I have no desire to be a massive firm where I don’t know half the people who call our firm their financial planner. I really value having deeper relationships with fewer people (and clients) because that is how I grew up.
Your story will probably be different than mine in most ways, but your story will be what shapes how we work together.
Going deep into fewer things is also how I typically like to express my creative side. I may not be creative in the traditional avenues such as music or art, but I always like trying new ideas, seeing what works or doesn’t work, and building a path of least resistance.
A lot of this stems from being able to have experience working in Tech Ed (shoutout to one of the best teachers ever, Mr. Russo!) classes as a high-school student. “What would happen if we tried it this way next time?”, and being able to actually do that in a contained environment was so much fun. Being able to fail and learn was such a valuable experience when learning how to build lasting pieces of work.
Like those projects, there is never a shortage of new ideas, new tools, or new scenarios to work through in financial planning. 2020 certainly provided plenty of examples of how rapidly and drastically our financial landscape can change.
While I certainly will never treat the finances or lives of my clients as “test lab experiments”, being able to stay curious and customize the approach for each client gives me a ton of energy.
Being different was also a main driver for my decision to join the Advisor Growth Community, which is a community of 100+ financial planners who are choosing to help each other be better planners for their clients.
Even though we are all technically “competitors”, the community knows we are all better together, and sharing our differing experience and knowledge makes us all better at our craft. Being around different people helps me minimize my blind spots, and the same is true by being an extra set of eyes for my clients.
This is just the beginning...
These are just the few most important reasons for my “Why”, and I will continue to share as my blog develops over the coming years. The posts coming will be far less about me, and more about adding useful knowledge to you, the reader, but I wanted to share where this journey of mine is coming from.
If you’d like to learn more about how I work with my clients or what it would look like to work with me, feel free to schedule a 30-minute call here.
While I don’t work with everyone, I do believe everyone could make use of a financial planner. If we can’t come to a mutual agreement that we are a good fit, I will do my best to find you someone who is.
Until next time.