Far too many women stay in bad relationships with men that do not deserve them. Plenty of women stay with investment professionals who do not deserve their business either. We let them treat us poorly, not returning emails and calls. We look for support and real understanding when there is none to be found. We place our happiness in the hands of someone who we know, deep down, does not care.
It turns out that the same reasons we stay with the wrong guy are the same reasons we remain with the wrong financial advisor.
Bad man and bad financial advisor decisions result from lack of self-worth. We women stay because we are not confident enough in ourselves to leave. Before you look away and judge me, please hear my story.
I am brilliant at loving men who do not love me back. Many years ago my father revealed all of my dating missteps at a very hard-to-forget family function. When my father had the microphone, he reminded the 50 guests and me that the Mohawk guy, blue haired guy, shaved head guy and 30 years-older than me guy were most likely not an ideal fit for his little girl. Even though Dad was sober, most of the guests were not, thank goodness.
Was this friends and family gathering one of the most embarrassing moments of my life? Definitely! Was it a good thing? Well, yes. Sometimes you have to be hit on the head to learn a lesson. This is true with relationships – both the love kind and financial advisor sort.
For many reasons, I did not feel worthy of being with an incredible man. I did not love myself and could not imagine that a nice guy would ever care for me either. I let myself settle for second best. Ok, to be honest, it was more like third best. I put up with all the bad behavior that you see on popular reality TV shows. Think The Bachelor show, and my guy is dating many women at the same time. Unfortunately, no one let me know about the others until the rose ceremony. Another show I relate to is The Kardashians. These narcissistic men have nothing on the great ones I found. No sex changes in my past, though.
When it came to my investment advisor, I also stayed because I did not feel confident enough to go. He tried to sell me products like life insurance that I did not need and high-commission investments. This advisor made me feel stupid when I asked questions. I felt like I needed to stay with him because deep down I feared that I would never get smart about finances.
Finally, having had enough of my dismal love and money life, I decided to take control by learning to love myself. I found this self-love nirvana by putting myself first which is a must when dating your mate and working with your advisor.
I decided to sign up for the NYC Marathon, despite the fact that I cannot even run to the end of my block without huffing and puffing uncontrollably.
My first day out running was pathetic. I managed to “run” about fifteen minutes. I was out of breath, purple in the face and humiliated by speedy NYC walkers passing me because my jog was more of a fast labored walk. One less than supportive passerby yelled, “Lady, you call that running? My Grandma is faster than you!” Most likely his granny was quicker.
I kept on running despite the awful start to my transformation journey. I ran 5 to 6 days a week. I strapped on running shoes in 100-degree heat, rain storms and even on early mornings when I was still suffering a hangover from the night before. Eventually, I could run faster and farther. Slowly, the unbearable agony of running was replaced by a more tolerable, ongoing, duller pain. My body and mind became stronger than before. My taste in the opposite sex also changed from men that could never love anyone except themselves to ones that treated me as well as I treated my new self.
Next, I enrolled in night classes to get savvy about money, investing and savings. As the finance classwork progressed, I developed my money muscles, too. Soon I was budgeting all my dollars spent, maxing out my 401k and putting money aside into an emergency fund. Reaching the Everest of financial self-appreciation, I even asked my boss for a raise to make sure I was earning what the men in my office were pocketing. I realized I was not money stupid and looked for an advisor that would treat me the way I deserved to be treated.
This journey started over 17 years ago, and I have come a long way. I am married to the man of my dreams, a proud mom of great kids (most of the time) as well as the owner of a cute dog and a very misbehaved cat. I continue to love myself first and do things that may seem selfish to others. I take the time to work out hard six days a week, funnel 20% of my income into savings instead of indulging my kids with every toy they ask for, and secretly look forward to business trips so I can order room service and watch mindless television.
I also became a financial advisor. Approaching nearly 15 years at the helm of my own wealth planning firm, I feel like I have finally proven that I am super money savvy.
What about you? Are you settling with your mate? Do you have an imperfect financial advisory relationship? If you are settling with one, you are most likely also compromising with the other. It is all about your worth. My biggest wish for you is that you do not have to reach your love and money rock bottom moment like I did to wake up and demand a better life for yourself.
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