Financial Fitness

When I first began working in the financial field I was a trader. In fact, my career was built around making money. I was good at it. So good at it, in fact, that I did trading for 28 years.

But somewhere along the line, I realized that my true goal was to help people on a more personal level. I always felt that money gave me confidence and security, which is why trading appealed to me. But after weathering tragedy after tragedy I reevaluated my priorities and reached a different conclusion. I saw the people around me, what they were going through, and how it compared to what I went through. I thought about what I had needed during those difficult times and wondered if I could provide the same help to others.

That’s when I realized that I absolutely could. I knew how it felt to have no control. I knew that if I could help my clients be in control of their financial situations—and give them peace of mind about at least one thing—that would be a worthwhile goal. So even though I may not have a counseling license, I’ve become a “financial therapist” of sorts. My clients know I’m with them through thick and thin. I love to build those relationships; I truly want to be their advocate and help them achieve their financial goals.

Trading brought instant gratification; financial planning brings lasting gratification. It’s more fulfilling than simply making a lot of money. Of course, I still make sure their money is safe, but I also make sure that they have a great team behind them and a solid plan for the future.

When choosing to work with your own financial therapist, one of the most important things to look for is a good listener. You want someone you feel comfortable building a relationship with. After all, this person is going to help you dispose of one of your most important assets: your money. Your financial planner should listen to what you want, then ask probing questions to figure out the best way to achieve your goals together. You know you have a trusting relationship when you feel you can call your planner about anything, no matter how small. For example, I recently had a client ask me the difference between leasing and buying a car and what my thoughts were. I was happy to have such trust.

Once you find a financial therapist you can trust, then you’re ready to work together on your financial plan. You need to be open, honest, and up front about your financial situation. The more information planners have, the better they can help. Withholding information, no matter the reason, keeps your planner from doing his or her very best for you.
It’s important to realize that sometimes, just like in every relationship, you’re going to disagree. You may even get upset about some of your planner’s suggestions. But if you’ve found the right person, they’ve got your best interests at heart, and will give you the help you need to achieve your goals.

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