When many people look back on their lives, they can usually identify at least one person who helped them not only face life's challenges, but helped overcome them - someone who helped mold them into the person they are today through advice, encouragement and understanding.
When adulthood is reached, life has many more challenges at the ready. Many of the most stressful of these challenges are financial in nature. So why does the mentoring need to end?
The good news is, it doesn't.
In my opinion, the best financial advisors out there today are often viewed by their clients as trusted mentors. If you do not currently have a financial advisor that you view as a mentor, how do you find one?
Ask yourself what characteristics the mentors from your past possessed that made you trust in them. A few examples could be:
• They put your interests first. The best mentors make you feel like they have your best interest at heart and care about what you need, not vice versa. The strategy or product they recommend is in your best interest and not theirs.
Fortunately, in today's financial world, financial advisors have an obligation to do what's best for his or her clients.
• They help you make decisions; they do not make them for you. Mentors empower by giving you the confidence to trust in the decisions you make, not by relying on them to make the decisions. They teach you to look at your options and calculate possible outcomes.
Having a good idea where a choice will lead helps produce the confidence needed to make one.
A financial advisor might do this by not simply investing your money into an exchange-traded fund (ETF) over a mutual fund or unit investment trust (UIT), but by explaining how the ETF is more cost effective and tax efficient and how those qualities make it the best option for your strategy.
It is the understanding of why a decision is the right one that builds trust between clients and advisors.
Financial success is a life-long challenge that seems to become more complicated with each passing year.
Identify the qualities you think are important in a mentor and use that knowledge when choosing an advisor to help you achieve your financial success.
Luke Gawronski, a financial planner with Barnum Financial Group, is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. firstname.lastname@example.org