Why You Matter: Embracing the Difference Financial Advisors Make in People’s Lives
Allow me another movie reference because it’s crucial for the point I want to make. If you haven’t seen the movie, Oh God! or if you haven’t seen it in a while, I encourage you to track it down. The film is excellent – funny, full of life’s lessons and a joy to watch. But it’s the last ten minutes that is worth 100 times your time and effort in trying to find it.
You remember the story: Jerry Landers, an assistant manager of a supermarket played by John Denver, is convinced he has visits from God, played brilliantly by George Burns, who asks him to take on some worldly responsibilities.
Now, imagine telling your spouse, friends, and co-workers that you’ve spent a few hours talking with God, and you describe him as Jerry did, as a short, old man wearing sneakers, a fishing hat, and smoking a cigar. That his wife threw him out, his friends ostracized him, and his boss fired him shouldn’t surprise anyone.
So, riding out of town in his AMC Pacer, an emotionally distraught and financially devastated Jerry turns to God who’s riding in the back seat and pleads: “Dear God, of all of the people in this world – of the millions and billions of human beings you could have chosen, WHY ME?
And God’s response? “Why not you?
Jerry: You mean there’s no special….
God: Life is a crapshoot, like the millionth customer who crosses the bridge gets to shake hands with the governor. You thought I picked you because you’re better than everyone?
Jerry: I’m not?
God: You’re better than some but not as good as others, but you crossed the bridge at the right time. Look, you want to make a difference? You want to change the culture? You want to be a decent human being? Then, why not you?
As individuals, we’re no better than anyone else who contributes to society. But, as financial advisors, we’ve just crossed the bridge at the right time. For any of us who harbor the challenging ambition of affecting real change and achieving our true purpose in life, we have to be willing to eliminate from our mindset the question that stops most people right in their tracks: “Why me?” and always be thinking, “Why not me?”
The unique position of Financial Advisors
It may not have occurred to you, but more than any other type of professional advisor, people rely on their financial advisor as the one who can help guide them through life’s challenges. You know more about your clients—their hopes, ambitions, concerns, and problems. Your client relationships can span decades, during which you are the primary source of knowledge and expertise for a vital part of their lives.
What knowledge or solutions you can’t offer yourself, you can provide through your network of specialists. Your clients look to you as the quarterback of their advisory team to help them realize their life ambitions. You are their financial counselor and investment coach.
As a financial advisor, you are in an unparalleled position to help people achieve lifetime financial security and, along the way, use your knowledge and influence to improve the lives of people in your community. The country suffers from an epidemic of financial illiteracy, which, as experts have argued, is a root cause of our societal and economic decline.
Creating shared economic value
Of course, lifting entire communities out of financial illiteracy is beyond the scope of any single advisor. However, you can start by deliberately expanding your circle of influence and creating shared economic value. While many financial advisors donate their time, resources, and money to community causes out of benevolence, they also reap tangible benefits that translate into profits. By helping to improve their communities, they gain more loyal clients.
The ripple effect of giving back can extend far and wide, creating shared economic value for charitable organizations and the people they serve, volunteer groups, members of the community, and their customers and employees. It’s the epitome of a win-win for advisors and their communities.
Think of yourself as genuinely fortunate. You are knowledgeable and skilled in a critical aspect of people’s lives. You are passionate about your work. And, to top it off, you have a unique opportunity to create prosperity for you and your family while making a difference in the lives of others.