There is no doubt the current recessionary environment has most of us concerned and possibly even questioning the course we had set regarding our financial plans. With my oldest daughter, Maeve set to embark on a career in the near future, I’ve looked with concern at articles talking about the difficulties new college graduates will face in the coming years. I was comforted when talking to a buddy of mine, Al, who graduated from college in the spring of 1992 just as the country was coming out of a recession and unemployment was hovering near 8%. He relayed to me how he sent out over 50 resumes and received just three responses. While the initial start to his career was rocky, today he is a highly successful executive in at a large firm. He said one of the most important things that he learned along the way was how to become a thought leader.
As we discussed what being a thought leader meant, I started to see some parallels with my own approach to building a financial services practice. We talked about the fundamentals of being a thought leader. Most importantly, we agreed that thought leaders start with putting a personal emphasis on learning and listening. They seek out expertise and innovation. Thought leaders are able to step back from their own business agenda if it means getting better information to serve their clients and peers. In doing this, thought leaders are willing to consider the arguments of others and surround themselves with the best possible people both within and outside their own company. As a result of this is, they end up of having a large network of other people they can turn to both inside and outside of their areas of expertise.
Often, I am asked to contribute to an article regarding retirement planning systems to a print or broadcast media outlet (such as Kiplinger, US News and World Report, Wall Street Journal, etc) on a specific topic. You know, it feels good to be asked to help out on those things and extend what I know beyond my own client base. Even more gratifying is when somebody on my team is sought out for their thoughts on something happening in our industry or the financial markets. It reminds me that I’ve had the good fortune (and perhaps some lucky wisdom!) to bring in some really great people to our team at Cutter Financial. In my office, I’m not always the smartest person in the room on every specific topic or situation we need to address. What I have learned is that one of the best ways of ensuring the highest probability of financial success for my clients is to surround myself with the best people.
These days, there probably isn’t a financial advisory team that isn’t fielding calls with concerns from their clients regarding their 401Ks. US News and World Report recently published an article addressing how people can address the current state of their 401Ks and the course they should set for the future. When they went looking for input and recommendations for the article, I wasn’t called for my expertise. Was I irritated or did I feel overlooked? Heck no. Instead they reached out to Jen Farrington, Ph.D., one of the Investment Advisor Representatives on our team here at Cutter Financial for her thoughts and expertise. She shared her advice that, despite the current market downturn, don’t give up on the good habits we already have in place as an investor. Jen also reminded us that we need to temper our urge to react immediately with limited data from the internet and instead build a system that incorporates an entire retirement strategy that includes a historical perspective of the markets.
Folks, there is no way for me to completely remove the fear around the current economic situation for my clients. However, I can move forward knowing that I am just smart enough or maybe lucky enough to surround myself with some of the best people in my industry. They push me every day to be better. Sure, I am the owner of the firm, but I’m definitely not the only thought leader.
So as always – be vigilant and stay alert, because you deserve more!
Have a great week.
Jeff Cutter, CPA/PFS is President of Cutter Financial Group, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor with offices in Falmouth, Duxbury, Mansfield & Southlake, TX. Jeff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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