About four years ago, I took a position with a multimedia company, and the main client was a mortgage brokerage firm. It was my responsibility to generate quality leads—to bring in new business via internet marketing for that client. As part of that effort, I talked to all of the people who would interact and collaborate with mortgage brokers. So, in order to do my job, I needed to meet with a lot of advisors, because how do you market something you know nothing about?
At the same time, the pay structure was hefty and my fiancée and I had just moved in together. It became obvious that I needed to choose a financial advisor of my own.
I talked to at least two dozen advisors, and I ended up choosing one of them. I can’t say I liked him. I just didn’t dislike him as much as the others. I felt they were condescending, like I was being picked last at recess for the team. Also, they told me to put more money into savings, but without considering what the true cost of living is. We’re talking about recommendations like eating poorer quality food.
Also, they used very negative language—I might need a particular type of insurance if, God forbid, something should happen to me. The person I did engage, it was partly because of his language. He was much more positive and forward-looking. He seemed to be someone who cared.
He also suggested we cut back our expenses—and we tried. But it caused a very uncomfortable lifestyle. At one point we stopped using our oil heater for anything but hot water and started using space heaters. But at the end of the day, I had very little left over for saving. That meant I had less money available to live on, while earning a miserable return. I stayed with him about six months. Then I closed the accounts.
A few years later, I started my own digital marketing company. I got involved with a business networking group to build my business. There was one financial advisor who kept winning all these awards. I thought, let me sit down with him and take a look at my situation.
He’s my age, and he understands my life. His advice is based on how I can be a better businessman, what networking events I should attend, how to weigh the cost of going to one event versus another. He talks about my time being my biggest resource, that I need to spend my time with the right people and know how to amplify that. He helps me manage my social currency. And he’s made a positive out of my financial situation. We can only put away a small amount of money each month. But here’s how we can make it work for you.
My company is a registered benefit corporation. We talk a lot about my core values. He’s focused on sustainability, and his firm has a sustainable investing department. He also introduced me to a payment app called Cash App that I can use to invest in bitcoin and stocks. I invest a miniscule amount of money. But we talk about which stocks align with my values.
Because of that advisor, I attended an event run by an organization with a mission to have women move their money out of banks supporting fossil fuels and met a woman who’s become my informal advisor. She’s helped me learn how to amplify the sustainability issues I discuss with my advisor. Now when I go to networking events, I’m not convincing people to buy my product. I’m out there talking about things that matter. It’s made a big difference to my business, leading me to the type of clients I want.
She introduced me to an app called Newday, which lets you invest in funds that support socially responsible and sustainable choices. We get only an incremental return, but my wife and I feel fantastic about what we’re doing.