The other day I was meeting with a successful entrepreneur at his office, we had a great conversation about business and marketing. He’s a sharp guy and you can tell he has a lot of great stories, but then, midway through our meeting, I made a comment he found puzzling. I shared with him that “I’m not motivated by money” and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t expecting to hear me say that. After all, I am a financial expert, so most people would assume I’m passionate about making money. But I’m not…
Let’s be clear though, this doesn’t mean I don’t have financial goals. As a matter of fact, I have plenty of goals and I am confident about my path to financial independence. I’m just more passionate about other things, many of which are experiential and I could never put a dollar amount on them.
Now, his response to me was that we are complete opposites, in that respect, but he wanted to think more about what I said. This wasn’t the first time I shared this bit of information with someone, but his reaction led me to reflect more on this, which I’ve never done before. I definitely don’t think there’s anything wrong with being motivated by money. In fact, several of my clients and friends have that mindset and they’re all good people, for the most part. Some of them have quite a bit more money than others, and many people would consider them successful in their endeavors.
But then it hit me as I was reading a story in the news. It was about a major bank paying over $400 million in fines to settle violations for investing client cash deposits in a riskier way than they’re supposed to. Clearly this financial firm was being greedy. Then, I read another story about an advisor that got caught defrauding several high profile athletes. Why would you do that? Probably greed, or maybe he had a bone to pick with athletes because he got picked last in PE class, who knows. Regardless, we’ve all seen similar stories and it’s absolutely crazy.
In my opinion, when you’re motivated by money, that in itself can cloud your judgement, especially if you work in the financial industry. The problem here, is that the vast majority of financial professionals work inside of a system that exploits conflicts of interest and diverts their focus through financial reward. It’s not good, but it’s changing. The new generation of fiduciary advisers and firms like mine are proof of that.
I value the trust clients place in me and am honored to be in a position to help people make major financial decisions. This is definitely something I’m passionate about, and the experience of helping people this way is something I can’t explain in words. My career began with helping someone I love, and that experience continues to guide me through today.