“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead
Money is an emotional experience. It is a source that can cause a sense of stress, happiness, security and a myriad of other emotions as well. When building your relationship with your financial advisor, it is important that you get the sense that they care. Caring is more than sending a note thanking a client for their business. It is a perceived genuine interest in your emotional and physical wellbeing. Caring is just one of six core characteristics – the “Six Cs” – a trusted financial advisor should possess: character, chemistry, caring, competence, cost-effective and consultative.
In my experience, well-intentioned advisors that truly care about their clients do a few things. First, they make a concerted effort. You know that old saying, “actions speak louder than words”? Well, it’s true. Is your financial advisor going above and beyond sending your monthly statements or the annual Christmas card? As an advisor, I always try to celebrate personal milestones with my clients – a daughter graduating from college, the purchase of a new vacation home, or a retirement from a long and fulfilling career. I believe a simple act of kindness to acknowledge success can speak volumes. Secondly, a financial advisor that cares is one that genuinely appreciates your professional relationship. As an advisor, I am always grateful that a person or a family has entrusted me to help them turn their dreams into realities. This journey, much like the stock market, is not always a smooth and straight line to the top. No matter where we are in the journey, I always act in a manner that displays empathy and compassion for my clients. I am present in the relationship as much as possible.
General Colin Powell (Ret.) once said “Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”
Powell makes a great point. Demonstrating ‘caring’ on a regular basis is more challenging than it sounds. And indeed, any perceived lack of caring is considered a failure. This sentiment was lamented throughout many of the conversations I had with the individuals featured in this chapter. Many focus on examples of leadership that have personally inspired them. Others take note of the challenges of developing a caring leader.
Caring is the human aspect to business and an essential trait for success. Great leaders understand that a caring relationship is nurtured. Dale Carnegie once said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” After reading these stories, I hope you take away that genuine caring for others has a powerful effect – not only on a personal level – but on a professional level as well.
These individuals offer many lessons-learned and experiences. I hope you take the time to reflect on your professional relationships and consider – what are your actions saying about you?
Gordon J. Bernhardt,
CPA, PFS, CFP®, AIF®
President and Founder
Bernhardt Wealth Management, Inc.
Since establishing his firm in 1994, Gordon Bernhardt has been focused on providing high-quality service and independent financial advice in order to help his clients make smart decisions about their money. He specializes in addressing the unique needs of successful professionals, entrepreneurs and retirees, as well as women in transition throughout the Washington, DC area. Over the years, Gordon has been sought out by numerous media outlets including MSN Money, CNN Money, Kiplinger and The New York Times for his insight into subjects related to personal finance.