When I was in junior high, my older brother was a stock car racing prodigy. I watched with admiration as he became one of the youngest stock car drivers in the United States to sign with a professional team. His dreams were on the fast track to coming true.
And then the financial crisis of 2008 happened. His team shut down, and I watched his racing career go from right there to gone in a heartbeat. It was that experience that taught me how quickly everything can go away and how important it is to plan not only for your ideal future but also for alternate scenarios. It sparked my interest in the financial industry, too.
Shortly after graduating college, I joined Wymer Brownlee Wealth Strategies as a financial strategist. Over the past year, I’ve learned the technical side of what we do – running analyses, picking stocks, building plans. However, I’m most excited for my next chapter because I’ll get to help people more directly. As I transition to the role of a wealth advisor, I’ll spend the next few years training under our CEO Kyle Brownlee – learning to deliver great client service and holistic advice from one of the best in the business.
In the short time Kyle has mentored me, I’ve learned four critical things that make a wealth advisor great:
They build trust. Few things are more personal than money. For clients to be receptive to advice, there must first be a relationship built on trust and respect. Kyle is exceptional at building trust quickly by listening intently and being willing to be vulnerable first. Watching him model this is arguably the most important lesson in my career thus far.
They hold clients accountable. Advisors must give their honest opinion rooted in the facts of clients’ circumstances. It’s tempting to gloss over hard topics – like spending habits – or not address when something’s a bad investment – like that business your child wants to start. However, helping clients make progress toward their long-term goals is our primary job, and sometimes, that can mean saying ‘no’ to other distractions along the way. Kyle has shown me how to do this in a kind but firm way.
They focus on financial independence. Many people come to us with financial goals that are important but not critical. Parents’ top concern is often funding college for their kids. Entrepreneurs want to invest in a new business venture. Some families want to finance that vacation home before they’re financially ready. None of these are bad goals, but they should take a backseat to securing financial independence. You can take out a loan for most of these, but you can’t take out a loan to retire. I’ve learned that everything must start there, and we work backward toward reaching other milestones.
They look at the bigger picture. Kyle’s depth of tax knowledge is a huge asset for our clients. Financial decisions have a number of implications and cannot be truly strategic if they ignore potential taxation. I now understand that to be a great wealth advisor, I must grow in my understanding of tax law and accounting best practices. Because looking at the bigger picture is what offers our clients the greatest financial advantages.
As a financial strategist, I built a strong foundation of basic financial planning and best practices. Every situation is unique, however, and I’m eager to continue learning from Kyle as we address more unusual or complex cases. Whether you’re a young man on the cusp of a stock car racing career or an executive at one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, we all need a plan to prepare for an unpredictable tomorrow.
Blog by Colin Feller, Wealth Advisor.
*Colin Feller, Wealth Advisor, Securities offered through HD Vest Investment Services® Member FINRA/SIPC Advisory Services offered through HD Vest Advisory Services® Wymer Brownlee Wealth Strategies is not a registered broker/dealer or registered investment advisory firm.
Category: Financial Service Team