Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Fascinating Profession

Pathways Advisory Group, Inc.
Dustin Smith, CFP®

I had a vision of Financial Planning when my career began seven years ago. Some aspects have gone as expected - some have not. When I began my CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ exam preparation in 2003, I knew that it would be quite an undertaking. I knew that less than 50% of the people in the exam room would pass. The process taught me a lot about myself and financial planning.

What I underestimated, however, is how much I would continue to learn from you.

Consider the following meetings:

On Monday, I met with a couple in the twilight of their lives. They’ve been married for 50 years. They are financially secure. We talked about their three adult children and 8 grandchildren. They have created a wonderful family that continues to grow and prosper. They are very proud. We talked about the world we live in today. We talked about the Great Depression. I love our meetings – I appreciate their perspective. They are wonderful and interesting people.

On Tuesday, I met with a couple in their 40s with three kids. We attempted to find some balance between retirement savings, college savings, insurance premiums and living month-to-month to support a family. Daycare, homework, soccer practice, music lessons – oh and we are supposed to meet with Dustin tomorrow. It is quite a balancing act. We can’t do it all and they have definitely taught me that. It’s a challenging time of prioritizing and patience. I enjoy helping them navigate these times. I am confident it will pay off – perhaps because of Monday’s meeting.

On Wednesday, I met with one of our youngest clients, the daughter of long-time clients. She is 21-years-old, very poised and bright, entering her final year of college. We covered many topics – careers, our tax system, the troubles in our economy. We discussed bull markets and bear markets. It was a great meeting. I was reminded of my journey since college. I look forward to helping her navigate the future – I will certainly draw on my experience from Monday and Tuesday.

I’ve learned to look at the world through the eyes of many people: young and not so young; married and single; widowed and divorced; big families; little families; employees and employers; farmers and firefighters; doctors and teachers; administrators and police officers; workaholics, spendaholics; saveaholics; travelers and campers; gardeners; artists; fisherman; golfers; sailors; cruisers; conservatives and liberals; Democrats and Republicans. What an education. What a profession. It is a blessing to know you all – thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be involved in your lives. You have certainly had an impact on mine.

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