What spurrs you forward (Guiding Principle #4)
In my previous four posts I introduced my guiding principles of wealth management, along with the first three principles (links to one, two, and three). Today I will discuss the fourth guiding principle, which is one of the most enjoyable for me to use as a financial advisor while helping clients:
Know what is holding you back, spurring you forward, and serving you best
This kind of self awareness is essential to have the energy, confidence, and focus to support your financial plan. Wealth mastery cannot be pursued with out a degree of self-mastery and self-knowledge. You need to know what is working against you and deal with it. You need to know what you have in your favor and use it to the best possible advantage.
In my experience as a financial advisor, I have found that people often lack such self-awareness. So, I have made it one of my guiding principles to take proper time for reflection. With weaknesses especially—habits of mind that can hold you back—people often need a third party or a sympathetic ear to surface issues.
My experience as a financial advisor
I’ve met people who have allowed a setback to scar them in some way. One gentleman lost a job and assumed he was too old to be of interest to other companies. He was letting his experience and talent go to waste instead of pursuing other professional opportunities for which he was clearly qualified. I’ve known people who allowed market setbacks to leave them too risk averse or too eager for risk. The former are reluctant to return to the market at all, and they risk missing out on wonderful opportunities. The latter feel like they have to resort to a high-stakes gamble to earn back the wealth they’ve lost.
Other people I’ve met were held back by complexity. They’ve accumulated so many different accounts in so many places, they could fill a bathtub with the financial reports they receive each quarter. Other people are held back from prudent planning by overconfidence. They assume the money they’re making now will always be available, and they want to live a lifestyle that could leave them broke if they lost their current position. One role of a quality financial advisor is to help clients see themselves clearly and not get sidetracked by anxieties, false assumptions, distractions, or unreasonable expectations.
Sometimes, it is harder to help people find their real passions than it is to point out problems. Problems are often more obvious to outsiders, while passions hide and must be coaxed to the surface. Many successful people have a hard time articulating what they really want most in life because they have so many opportunities to choose from. They have family commitments and business responsibilities, plus they serve on boards, assist charities, attend to portfolios and properties, and participate in wonderful leisure activities. When so many things compete for your attention, it is easy to become scattered, if not downright paralyzed. You may overlook or under-pursue the things that matter most to you.
It is critical to know what excites you most, because mastering wealth becomes a pointless and uninspiring exercise if your wealth is not directed to some purpose—to a “WHY?” Finding that “WHY” is not a “touchy-feely” exercise, but a necessary strategy. It is one of the most essential components of the Essential 15%, and one of my most satisfying roles as a financial advisor. When someone I’m working with has that “Aha!” moment and we clarify what is really pulling them forward, the pieces fall into place and we can design a plan to best support them.
So, have you taken the time to think about these things lately? If not, I encourage you to do so!
Joseph J. Janiczek is the founder and CEO of Janiczek Wealth Management, one of Denver’s top financial advisory firms*. This article is adapted from his book, Investing from a Position of Strength.