Financial Planning Is About the “Why”

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Published by Brad Dillon

Many of my clients and prospects confuse financial planning with investment management. There are countless financial professionals touting their expertise regarding investments, and in my 20 years in the profession I have had many conversations with prospective clients that have begun:

  1. What were your returns last year? “So and so returned 20%.” 
  2. What type of stocks do you like right now?
  3. And the list goes on and on…

I always stress diversified investments are a tool to achieve financial results. When thinking about the decision to partner with a financial planner it is crucial to know your “why”. Why are you looking for help and what do you hope to achieve? Are you seeking the Value of Relationship? Most importantly, you should ask your prospective partner to explain their why.

Financial freedom is more than the accumulation of dollars. It is the pursuit of living a life of purpose and fulfillment. It is highly individualistic and takes deep self-reflection in pursuit of your why. My why moment happened in 1996. I was fresh out of college with my shiny new degree, but unfortunately I was struggling with life decisions and my financial health. Should I go to law school to pursue a vocation that I wasn’t passionate about and would further burden my financial situation by adding $60,000 worth of student loans?

Then out of the blue I got a call from an old high school friend. He asked me if I was interested in interviewing with a firm he had recently joined. They were looking for individuals to join them on a journey, a journey to help people navigate their financial path and make smart decisions with their money.

I was intrigued, but a little perplexed. I knew very little about finance, as a matter of fact I came out of college with student loan debt, credit card debt and a simple philosophy, spend whatever was in your bank account and then work to replenish what was spent. It goes without saying I was a financial novice from a working class background. Managing my finances was not only difficult, but downright scary to me. It was a major pain in my life. But, something in my soul told me to go to that interview. It was the single best decision, besides marrying my wonderful wife Shannon, that I ever made.

That phone call from my high school friend led me into a vocation with top investment firms where I could truly make a difference in people’s lives, and led me on my own journey of living a life of purpose and fulfillment. As my mentor and friend Ron Carson often says, “I want my clients and my family to live their life by design, not by default”. At age 23 I was on the path to default, but that phone call 20-something years ago changed my direction and provided me with my meaningful purpose.

So, as you contemplate your financial future and the partnerships that will help you navigate an everchanging financial landscape, make sure you know your why and just as importantly the why of your trusted financial advisor.

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