Earning Money / March Makeover

The Rich-Person Money Secret You Can Use Even If You’re Broke

By Thursday, March 25, 2021

I can remember the first time I stumbled into a Financial Advisor’s office with my husband and nearly apologize for wasting his time (or so I felt I should). We had recently moved countries, had no money to our name, and had nothing to “offer” this F.A. We met a few times after that, but I always felt guilty about taking up this “poor” guy’s time. Even after my husband and I came into a little bit of money, he did not seem too impressed with the amount and laughed it off. It was slightly humiliating. I was convinced that financial advisors were only for people who had money; they helped the rich get richer. And because we were nowhere near close to being rich, that meant they were not for us. Or so I thought.

Since moving to the UK, we needed to find an FA who would work with us on all our USA financial needs. I am American and my husband is British. Our finances are complex and probably always will be. I decided to approach it differently this time. Instead of apologizing for not being rich, I started to think, “Hey! You can help me get financially stable and I am hiring you to do so.” Now, remember, financial advisors should be free to consult with. They make their money with you by gaining a small percentage of what you choose to invest in. They manage your accounts with hopes that they will get a small cut of your financial wealth in the future. They are invested in seeing you succeed. It is of benefit to them. Remember that. You are the boss. They are there to work with you and for you.

First, I wrote down a list of all the questions I could think of. I wanted to know exactly how much money we should have saved before looking at investing. I wanted to know how tricky things would be for my husband and me since we are citizens of different countries. I brought all my queries. They answered what they knew, directed me to places if they did not, and then asked some questions of their own. A good financial advisor will not only manage your (potential) wealth, but they will also take concern in your personal circumstances. They might ask if you have life insurance and an estate. Things of that nature. That is precisely what ours did. They took an interest in our life and remembered my daughter’s name when we had our Zoom call. They spoke about my family as if they knew them and had an interest in their wellbeing. I was impressed. They were hired.

When looking for a financial advisor, ask around. See if anyone you know has one that they would recommend. I went off the advice of my mom and grandmother. They had great experiences, so I interviewed the one they recommended. We clicked and I am honored to say, I am the 3rd generation in my family to be working towards financial stability with this company.

Now, there is no shame if you are the first in your family to do this. That is amazing. You are starting a legacy. If that is you and you cannot find a recommendation through family or friend, use Google. Look up reviews of people in your area and then go on financial advisor interviews. Do not dive in after the first meeting. Communicate your situation and feel out how each FA responds. Are they encouraging? Do they make you feel hopeful about your financial future? Do you sense a bit of judgment or shame? Do they have ideas on how to better utilize the accounts you already have? Look out for these things and see what you get from each. A good financial advisor will hear your financial goals and help you make your dreams come true. They will guide you in setting up a plan that moves you towards financial freedom.

I recommend that you state some of your life values in your first meeting as well. For example, having an education fund for our kids was important to my husband and me. We wanted to find someone who values family too. Whatever values you hold close to your heart, make sure you find an FA who does the same. Then you can work together long into the future and find a common ground of trust that will take you into retirement.

Lastly, when interviewing your FA, find someone willing to put the work in. Even though our FAs could not find someone to do our taxes, they wanted to be a part of the process. They will be in the meetings with us to make sure we are doing the right thing and that everything is beneficial for our finances. Even though they do not have all the answers, they want to learn so they can better work with us long-term. You will be able to sense it. Follow your peace. Your FA is out there and waiting to work with you.

Once you have found a financial advisor that you trust and want to move forward with, I recommend you be as transparent as possible. Give them an honest estimate of your debt. Let them know how much surplus income you have after your bills. Even if it is not very much and you still decided to order Dominoes. This will give them the best information about how they can help you move forward.

So in short, here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to find the F.A. that best suits you and your needs:

  • Remember that financial advisors should be free to consult with. They make their money with you by gaining a small percentage of what you choose to invest in.
  • When looking for an advisor, ask around for referrals. You can ask friends, family or even search on Google and read reviews.
  • When getting ready to interview an FA, write down all the questions you can think of. Don’t be afraid to ask anything. A good financial advisor will hear your financial goals and help you make your dreams come true.
  • Be as specific with your goals as possible. Be transparent about your life values and your financial end goals in the very first meeting.
  • Financial Advisors are for everyone. Remember that. You are the boss. They are there to work with you and for you. 

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Now get out there and start making an impact on your financial future! Whether you are rich or poor, your future matters and your financial freedom is important. Take ownership and fly!

Alicia is married to her best friend and is the mother of a two-year-old. She loves Disney and could live off pringles and ranch dressing if need be. She graduated with a degree in Psychology and now teaches high schoolers, while doing freelance writing when she isn’t watching New Girl with her husband. 

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