Throughout my career as a personal-finance blogger, I’ve given a lot of advice — both personal and business related. But the truth is, I don’t have any formal training in money matters. What I know comes from everyday living: previous debt, hard-knock budgeting, self-disciplined saving, becoming my own boss, and, of course, trial and error.
While I stand by what I write wholeheartedly — because who knows what they’re talking about more than an entrepreneur who lives and breathes it every day — it’s never a bad idea to consult an expert. So that’s what I did; I reached out to successful financial advisors to hear some of their practical approaches to living your best life — and running your best business — without going broke.
Here’s what they had to offer:
John Nelson, CEO/CFP of Keystone Financial Services in Loveland, Colorado, says there are three secrets to his success:
“I’m always growing and learning; the business world moves way too fast to sit back and coast. If you aren’t growing, you’re dying,” he explains.
Number two: “My willingness to make decisions and take action, especially when things get uncomfortable.”
And lastly, Nelson says, “Everyone performs better with a business coach. I have two who keep me focused on the results I want and they inspire me to take the actions necessary for success.”
For Benjamin J. Brandt, investment advisor representative at Capital City Wealth Management, the key to success is developing a specific expertise and honing that skill set over time.
“First, find a topic you enjoy,” he suggests. “Next, become a subject matter expert (SME) on that topic. This will likely include some advanced training or designations in your specific area of choosing. Then work your way from the SME in your office to the SME on your block to the SME in your city, and so on.”
Brandt used this process to build his own client base, and he launched his own firm in 2014 on his 33rd birthday.
“Financial success is about separating yourself from the pack, and there isn’t a better way than becoming an expert,” he imparts.
Thirty-seven-year-old Justin A. Goodbread is a CFP at Heritage Investors in East Tennessee, and he attributes his success to a few basic principles: staying focused on planning instead of products, concentrating on high net worth clients and young aspiring entrepreneurs, and following through on what he says he’ll do.
“It’s not rocket science,” he admits. “Do the right things for people and stay at it, and you will succeed. I know it’s not sexy, but I’ve proven that smart work yields success.”
CFP Damian Rothermel, on the other hand, has a different approach to financial success. He recommends paying more attention to asset designation instead of asset allocation.
He breaks those terms down for the rest of us laypeople.
“Instead of looking at all of their holdings as one big basket of money, I want my clients to look at smaller baskets of money that have a specific purpose,” says Rothermel. “I usually recommend an emergency fund, a short-term income, a mid-term income, a long-term income, and finally a long-term growth basket; having funds designated for specific needs helps us find suitable products for the goal and allows my clients to know not just what they’re investing in, but also why they own a particular account and what events in the future may cause us to make a change.”
And, finally, Bob Brown, CFP at Edward Jones weighs in. Like Nelson, he has a three-pronged approach to success.
“It’s not about the money or the size of the account,” he explains. “It’s about the relationship.”
Brown continues, “In building the trusted-value client driven relationship, focus the conversation on the things that money cannot buy. Instead of talking about ROI — return on investment — zero in on the ROL: return on life! I serve as my client’s financial life coach, and help them receive the best return on life that their money can buy.”
Lastly, “Clients are never an interruption but the reason why we exist as a business,” he says. “Treat all clients with the utmost respect.”
Because, after all, the Golden Rule always wins the day.
Photo Credit: stevendepolo