If you want to make someone uncomfortable, ask them one of the following questions:
1. “What’s that on your neck?!”
2. “Tell me about yourself.” (If you’ve never been asked this question in an interview, “you will be, you will be.”)
3. “So, how much do you make?”
Number three scares people because it involves money and finances and spending, oh my! Most people, myself included, won’t answer the question.
Unless, of course, they’re talking to their financial advisor.
John Busch IV, financial professional, and I are in the same church congregation. He and his wife, Lauren, have 7 kids. (Any couple who can provide for 7 kids must be doing something right.) He’s also a native Delawarean.
Being from Delaware has nothing to do with finances. I just wanted an excuse to use the word “Delawarean.”
As I was thinking about blogging topics, something we writer types do a lot, I asked John if he’d be willing to give me a glimpse of his profession. He was, so keep reading!
Q. Why did you become a financial professional?
A. Having always found great personal satisfaction from helping people, I was drawn to this career as a way to combine much needed financial guidance for individuals and families to achieve their definition of success as efficiently as possible. Much of our education in high school and even college lacks the simple, financial principles that can help everyone on their financial journey. I have chosen this path to educate and empower those people for a brighter future.
Q.What are some specific services you provide?
A. The reason I get such fulfillment out of what I do is because it is truly unique for each person and family. We start by finding out what is important to them and working together to determine the best way to get what they want out of life. Some common services that we discuss include: paying yourself first, properly managing cash flow, debt elimination, and protecting your future (this includes life insurance with living benefits and tax-diversification strategies).
Q. What is your favorite aspect of being a financial professional? Least favorite?
A. For me the best part about doing what I do is the people I meet. I absolutely love to hear each person’s story (because we all have one), what their dreams are, what their struggles are, and the best way we can work together to accomplish their goals.
My least favorite aspect of this business is something I have worked diligently at to turn into a positive. It is the realization that no matter how hard you want to or how hard you work you cannot help everyone. Part of that reason is because I have a unique skill-set that works incredibly well to help those I focus on to help, but it is not a fit for everyone. To put a positive perspective on this and to still be able to guide people in the right direction even when I can not help them directly, I have surrounded myself with a close network of elite professionals to confidently recommend to my clients so that their needs are still met. This network includes other financial professionals, tax advisors, attorneys, and insurance professionals. If I can not help my clients directly, I still work hard to make the proper introduction to someone who can.
Q. Are most of your clients in good financial shape, or needing help?
A. This is a tough question, although it shouldn’t be. The answer I want to give is yes, most people are in good financial shape, and if we base things solely on the income that an individual or family enjoys, the answer could remain yes, but the honest answer here is no. The reason being there are quite often many areas we are able to identify where things are working against people instead of for them. I work with a lot of incredible people and very intelligent people from just about any profession you can think of (doctors, attorneys, chiropractors, bankers, engineers, beauticians, and many more), and the common theme regardless of the schooling they have completed for their profession is almost always a really good understanding of how to apply their skills to generate their desired income but much less confidence when it comes to real world applications and how to make their income work as hard and efficiently for them as they do for it. That is where we grow together to co-author their financial success story!
Q. You’re a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). How has your religion affected your approach to finances?
A. I’m glad this question was included here. It has helped me a great deal in certain situations and each day of my life. I have often prayed for clients and their well-being because much of what we discuss is sensitive and quite often they feel vulnerable and want to really know the person guiding them truly has their best interests at heart. It has helped me to maintain an unwavering moral compass that I feel also distinguishes me from the others in my profession. There have been many times in my career thus far that I have made recommendations for people to do “nothing” or put the solutions we were discussing on hold until things were more secure (sometimes for financial or job reasons or personal reasons). I make a conscious decision to always do what is best for each person I help. Also, I get quite a few questions about why I have a line item for “tithing” on my budget worksheets! Some people have really appreciated that and for others it has opened up some interesting discussions. I am always happy to share in a loving way the relationship I have with my savior and example, Jesus Christ.
Q. What are some of the things you do in an average day?
A. A day in the life of John … many hours are spent in the car away from my family because I have chosen for the convenience of my clients to meet with them in their homes, where it is most comfortable and convenient for them. Usually a daily list of phone calls and responding to emails, as well as any service related items for existing clients. I reserve some time each business day for mental preparation (this is my creative time) to really dive into the client’s situation as I work on bringing together their recommendations and truly putting myself in their shoes. That is likely the typical response you may have been expecting … a true average day for me is not complete without prayer, self-improvement/education (inspirational books or current industry related updates), and physical exercise. This helps me stay balanced as a person to be the best resource for those that I help.
Q. What licensing would you recommend a client look for in a financial professional/advisor?
A. Depending on where someone is in their financial journey, they will have a certain needs. I would recommend that someone who is just starting out should seek out a competent, independent financial and insurance professional who has their life, health, property, and casualty license to discuss all areas of their insurance needs. This includes home and auto insurance, life insurance, disability, and health insurance. For someone with an established family or now beginning to save more significantly into their 401k or similar retirement plan, they should seek out someone who has the proper credentials and licenses to complement their first advisor. This person should have a degree in Finance, as well as the proper investment licenses, most likely a Series 7 and a CFP® designation to ensure they are operating on a fiduciary standard (simply means they are obligated to act in their clients best interests). We help our clients with an entire financial team so we are able to assist those just starting out, more established families, as well as those preparing for and enjoying retirement.
Q. What would you tell someone considering your career?
A. Talk to someone about all the reasons that you shouldn’t do it and if you still think you are up for it … then jump in with both feet. It is an uphill climb but an incredible career. Few people who start out make it past their first 5 years in the business. Personally, I wish more younger people would consider this profession; however, the industry is set up and run by people who have been doing it for 20 or 30 years now, so things are a bit dated, especially technology and how they approach those considering the business. Most professionals focus on the numbers and are more aggressive in their approach with people; I disagree with this philosophy, and in my early years it has taken me longer to forge my own path at times because I have refused to settle for the way things were presented to me. For me this business is and always will be about the people and not about the numbers. I agree with setting business goals, don’t get me wrong, but people are people, not numbers. When someone asks me about the business, I start with a list of things that I wish someone told me about the business. If they are still interested after that, then this may just be the career for them, but they need to know the good and the hurdles along the way.
Q. In your opinion, what is the biggest financial mistake most people make?
A. In my opinion, there is a lot of pressure on our generations now, maybe more than ever before. TV personalities stress putting every last cent toward debt elimination and things like student loans meanwhile huge corporations (Apple, Google, etc.) are hiring people from IVY league schools to run their strategic marketing to “help” us spend our hard-earned money instead of putting it toward that debt. We are constantly pulled in many different directions, and it is exhausting. The biggest mistake I feel most people make is failing to have a long term perspective, to look at your financial journey as a marathon and, as best you can, maintain balance along the way. For example, put some extra money toward debt, but also continue to build your emergency savings and short term savings. Also, do not pass on precious years to let compound interest work in your favor. Keeping a long-term perspective is challenging especially for our younger generations who do not “plan” to get old or have decided to will worry about it tomorrow. Tomorrow arrives quicker with each passing second; the best time to start is most always right where you are.
Q. Why would someone seek a financial advisor’s help, rather than simply handling their finances on their own?
A. How much time do we have here? In all seriousness, my parents and grandparents did just fine without a financial advisor. But they also enjoyed working at the same company for 30+ years and retiring with a nice pension in addition to great health benefits that covered more than we get in out working years now. As those things are long gone and do not seem to be returning, the sole responsibility of our financial success has been strategically placed in our hands. In a world where we do not get the financial education that we need to navigate this journey in our schools (unless that is your major or career path), we are left to manage our own 401k and hopefully make the right selections at enrollment time, and we might start a Roth IRA because someone said it was a good idea, but how do we manage our income, debt, savings, etc. (you get the point). Today having a financial team on your side drastically increases your chances for success as well as increases your preparedness for the bumps and challenges along the way. Taking the first step is often the hard part, which is why I do not charge for my time, not the first meeting or any meeting thereafter. Making a conscious choice to invest our time together with the clients I am privileged to work with, we partner together to help provide the guidance to help them with the best ways to simply get what they want out of life.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
A. Everyone’s definition of success is different. For some it is money, others family, and others it is health. For some it is the miracle of a welcoming a baby into the world after years of struggling. The commonality we all have is that we do not plan to fail; some of us simply fail to plan. Most of us set out to achieve success in whatever we are doing. The biggest thing we can do is plan for that success. We are here to help!
Thanks again to John for his time! John can be reached at www.johnbuschiv.com.
If you’d like more uncomfortable questions, babysit a curious child.