A Matter of Trust
The last few weeks, I have received a string of emails from clients, friends, blog readers and podcast listeners asking me a wide range of questions all seemingly tied to money issues. It struck me after the fifth one that I have become someone whose opinion people trust, and I have to tell you that their trust in me is one of the greatest gifts I could ever receive.
Having worked in the financial services field for almost 15 years now, trust is something that is not given lightly because unfortunately many of my peers have stomped on the trust of those they serve. There are certainly many trustworthy individuals working in financial services, but I have to be honest with you and say that there are also many untrustworthy people as well.
Not Everyone is Trustworthy
I remember early on in my sales days sitting across from another salesperson while he gave a long argument to one customer for why they should purchase a particular bond, and literally five minutes later I heard the same salesperson give the exact opposite argument just to sell a completely different bond. The interest rate environment hadn’t changed within five minutes, and yet the salesperson changed his story just to make a buck.
I used to joke that I was the worst salesperson on the desk because I refused to “force product” on my clients. I could never sell anything I didn’t believe in and wouldn’t own in my own portfolio, and frequently talked clients out of buying bonds because I didn’t think they made sense. I know I lost money because of my sales philosophy, but I could always look myself in the mirror every morning and feel good about what I did every day.
Trust is Important to Me
Part of the reason why I became a financial advisor is that I found it hard to find an advisor that I trusted. I knew many wonderful advisors and would gladly share a beer with them; however, when it came to my money and my family’s future, I couldn’t find one. I always tell clients that I became the advisor that I always wanted, someone who was hardworking, intelligent, and most importantly, someone I could trust.
As a business owner, financial planner, blogger and podcaster, I feel a great responsibility to share information and try to help other people on their journeys. I may not be right all the time, but it’s important for me to believe and stand by everything that I say. I never promote a product I wouldn’t own or support an investment strategy I don’t believe in, and I spend a great deal of my time figuring out the best solutions and ideas so that my clients, readers and listeners don’t have to.
For me, it’s a matter of trust between me and the community around me and I can’t control what others say and do, but I can control what I say and why I say it. To those who have put your trust in me, please know that it is not only well placed but much appreciated. Your trust is the recognition of the choices that I have made where I may not make as much money as others, but I know I am living the type of personal and professional life that I aspire to have.