Is there a greater honor than having a significant influence on someone’s life? I don’t think so. Thus, I was honored and touched when my nephew, Wil, named me #3 in a school project focused on the biggest influences of his life — right behind his parents.
When I started thinking about writing this article, I asked him to elaborate on why I was so high up on his list, and what he said was illuminating.
“You’ve served as my mentor in many ways, keeping me accountable, building who I am and helping me shape a lot of the views I have on life. You’re one of the few people who loved me enough to tell me the truth, which often came with some hard advice. For instance, when I was struggling with body image issues as a freshman, you told me that to feel good, I needed to become the person I wanted to be. I’ll never forget that. I honestly wouldn’t be the same person without your help.”
I admit to having a few tears in my eyes after hearing that, and it confirmed my beliefs about the commonalities between mentoring and the financial planning process. The definition of mentor is “an experienced and trusted advisor,” and that’s what I consider myself as a wealth manager.
While mentors provide support that helps mentees successfully move forward in any number of areas — personal and professional — wealth managers are tasked with assisting clients plan financially for the long term, which includes defining where they want to go and what’s most important to them. It’s our responsibility to help clients “become who they want to be,” at least from a financial perspective.
Mentors and wealth managers can play a significant role in mapping out people’s futures, just in slightly different ways. As Wil’s mentor, I help him deal with the many issues all young people face on the road to growing up, serving a complementary role to his parents. As my clients’ wealth manager, I help design financial plans that will allow them to live life on their terms. In both cases, accountability and telling the truth are important, as is providing “hard advice” at times.
Would you like to learn more about the financial planning process from me? I’d love to sit down with you and explain how I can help you plan for the future you desire — and you won’t have to call me Uncle Josh. You can reach me at 800-620-4232 x723 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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