Growing up in a middle-class family, a career in the financial services industry was never part of my vision. However, after proudly serving my country in the military, I found a new calling to serve families in a different capacity. This unexpected path took me from military officer to the heights of Wall Street at JP Morgan and eventually led me to co-found multiple companies that I take great pride in today.
The foundation of my success can be attributed, in large part, to the indelible impact of my military service on my character, work and personal passions. I have harnessed the invaluable experiences gained, and lessons learned, during my military tenure to assist others in achieving their goals and aspirations within the financial services realm.
I have come to realize that many of the principles learned in the military have applicability across various fields, with the financial services industry being just one of them. Allow me to share the key insights I gained from my military career, which have proved highly relevant throughout my journey in financial services.
Embrace the Mission: Serving Others
In the military, the mission is everything—providing guidance that drives every decision and action. Similarly, understanding the mission and goals is paramount in the financial services industry. By understanding our clients' objectives, whether it is saving for retirement or funding their children's education, we can create robust plans tailored to their specific needs.
Clients entrust us with their hard-earned money, relying on our expertise to offer sound financial advice. It is our responsibility to serve them, act in their best interests, and prioritize their financial well-being. By remaining focused on this overarching mission and our clients' unique objectives, we can ensure that we consistently provide value with integrity.
The Power of Teamwork
The military instills the importance of teamwork—our strength lies in the cohesion of the team. Similarly, financial planning is a team effort. A financial advisor cannot excel alone, and neither can a client.
Building a team of professionals, including attorneys, accountants and insurance specialists, is vital in creating comprehensive financial plans. Furthermore, involving clients, their spouses and other stakeholders in their financial lives fosters a collective effort.
Recognizing that no single person possesses all the answers or expertise in every aspect of finance, we leverage the diverse backgrounds and skill sets of our team members to provide clients with well-rounded financial solutions.
Prepare for the Unexpected
The military trains soldiers to anticipate the unexpected. Regardless of the clarity and precision of our plans, we must be ready to face unforeseen challenges in the field. Similarly, the financial services industry demands preparedness for unexpected events, such as market downturns, regulatory changes or personal crises.
A comprehensive financial plan should encompass various scenarios, considering potential job loss, medical emergencies or economic downturns. By proactively addressing these possibilities, we can help clients mitigate potential financial impacts and maintain stability during times of uncertainty.
Just as trust and credibility form the bedrock of the military, they are equally vital in the financial services industry. My modest upbringing and military service have laid a solid foundation for my career in finance, propelling me to become a passionate advocate for all individuals and their financial futures. The discipline, work ethic, and commitment to service instilled during my military career have proved invaluable in my pursuit of excellence in financial services. These qualities have the potential to yield similar benefits for others seeking to apply their skills and experiences to new fields.
By empowering others to achieve financial stability and success, I believe that I am continuing to serve my country in a different yet equally important capacity. Service does not end when the uniform is removed. Regardless of the field or industry one enters after military service, the invaluable lessons remain, capable of propelling our success and positively impacting the lives of others.
Patrick McKenna is co-founder and executive chairman, Facet