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Confessions of a Financial Advisor: five truths I've learned over the years

Confessions of a Financial Advisor: five truths I've learned over the years

March 15, 2021

My name is Guy Leman, and I am an owner and financial advisor here at Compass Financial Services. I have been running headlong into the calling of being a financial advisor unofficially for the last 27 years and officially for the last 8 years at Compass Financial.  I am going to be a little vulnerable here, so please grant me some grace as I confess a few falsehoods I believed when I started this journey, and replace them with a few truths I have learned over the years.

Falsehood:  Being a financial advisor is about helping clients make the RIGHT decisions.

My Truth:  Being a financial advisor is about helping clients make WISE decisions.

The truth here is that nobody knows the RIGHT answer because it is impossible to know the future.  However, there is all sorts of room for WISDOM in the relationship with your financial advisor.  One of the biggest benefits I see for clients who choose to work with a financial advisor is that they have someone to think with, and that someone has traveled this path before with others. 

Falsehood:  Everybody needs my advice. 

My Truth:  The pool of folks who are open to receiving advice is fairly small.

I started off in this industry thinking that everybody needs financial advice at some point in their life.  Now I know that measuring potential clients by their desire to take action is a much better gauge.  The folks who have and value a long-term relationship with a financial advisor are almost always better off because they have someone to travel with on the financial path of life. Shared sorrow is half sorrow - shared joy is double joy.  

Falsehood:  The internet is the way to grow our business as financial advisors.

My Truth:  Existing clients are the key to growth for Compass Financial.

We have experimented with all sorts of marketing ideas over the years as well as endless amounts of time, energy, and expense in an effort to grow our business. At the end of the day, we have found that taking really good care of the relationships we have with our clients has been one of the best ways to grow our business. A good website and making sure we show up on Google search are necessities in today’s business environment, but again and again, when we look at the data about where our business growth is, it ALWAYS comes back to our clients passing along our name to those they deeply care about.   It turns out clients do not refer because they want to help us.  We feel they refer because they want their friends and loved ones taken care of, and they trust us to do it. Thank you. Because of this, we have shifted much of our marketing budget to things that benefit our clients directly.  Be watching for more in the years to come.

Falsehood:  People will be interested in my profession when I introduce myself as a financial advisor.

My Truth:  Introducing myself as a financial advisor is usually a conversation killer. 

This one is actually pretty funny. When I introduce myself as a financial advisor, it seems to make some people nervous. There are a handful of reasons why this may be the case. Most commonly, I wonder if it is insecurity on their part or they think I am going to try to sell them something. Through the years, I have become accustomed to the silence.  I am proud to say that I am an owner and Financial Advisor at Compass Financial Services, because I believe deeply in the work we do here.

Falsehood:  Traditional financial advisors are in danger of becoming obsolete due to online Robo-Advisors.

My Truth:  More people are seeking financial advice, and the industry continues to grow.

As things get more complex, more people are searching for information and finding it in spades on the internet. I have found that the proliferation of information online often has the effect of overwhelming the reader and usually makes it even more difficult to make decisions. I have also found that the need for financial ADVICE has never been higher, and by all measures will continue to increase. There will always be room for financial advisors who listen well and provide advice on how to apply the information to the client’s individual financial situation.

My last 8 years has been a whirlwind of learning, growing, and changing.  As the next generation of advisors comes of age within Compass Financial, we continue to cling tightly to our founding values of creating a safe space, being best in the world at listening, and Value of Person.  We have also brought the newfound tools of the internet age into our practice to multiply our efforts on behalf of our clients.  It is an exciting time in the world, and I have unbounded optimism in our shared future! Thank you for choosing Compass Financial Services.

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