What Matters More To You: Your Money Or Your Values?

Katlyn Graham:  Hello. I’m Katlyn Graham with Rick McDonald, the president of US Advisory Group. Welcome Rick.

Rick McDonald:  Hi Katlyn. How are you?

Katlyn:  Oh, I’m wonderful. How are you?

Rick:  I’m good, thank you.

US Advisory’s Philosophy

Katlyn:  Now Rick, at US Advisory Group, you’re financial advisers to individuals, but you have a different philosophy it sounds like. Would you mind explaining that a little about how you operate and how you think about money?

Rick:  Sure. I think the issue that we emphasize all the time is that as advisers, most people think that the work that we do is all about the money, and it’s really not. It’s all about who you are, what you are, what’s important to you, what you are trying to get accomplished. Money is a secondary consideration.

When I understand what you’re trying to get accomplished or when I help you really examine what’s important to you and what you want to get accomplished, our role then is collaboratively trying to help you put your resources to work in a way that’s going to support what’s important to you and help you grow and attain the things that are reachable goals that you want to strive for.

It’s not about how big your portfolio is. Most people, most advisors working with clients, the relationship doesn’t really work, because it’s all money driven. It’s transactionally driven. Clients come to us, they’re disenfranchised with their relationship. It just doesn’t feel like it’s going anywhere, it’s not inspiring.

We talk with people about, well, what are you trying to get accomplished? Who are you? What’s important to you? What’s more important, your values or your valuables?

If I can better understand your core values and help your values define the real goals that are going to make you feel inspired, make you feel like you’ve really done what you needed to do and understand the purpose for that. Then help put the resources you have amassed to work in a way that’s going to support those goals that are driven by your values.

You’re going to feel better about yourself. You’re going to have more confidence. You’re going to have more purposefulness in what you’re doing, how you live, and it’s going to show in every aspect of your life. It’s going to show in the relationships you have with your spouse, with your family members, your community around you.

All of the things that are important to you are going to begin to have purpose and meaning. You’re going to have metrics that help you understand where are you with your goals, how are they being accomplished, how are they being reached if they’re further out. Because goals are goals. Goals are not something you already have accomplished. They’re something you’re still striving for.

The question we ask folks is, “What is important to you? Where are we going? How can we help you get to where you really want to go so that you feel like your life had purpose?”

That’s how we think. Most folks, as we say, are still struggling with how big their stock is. What do they do because interest rates aren’t giving them enough yield anymore? That’s something that’s…We’ll get through that. That’s not what you should be hiring an adviser for. An adviser should help you better understand who you are and where you’re going.

How do you help people discover their values?

Katlyn:  Certainly a unique approach. How do you help people discover their values? Because I’m sure people don’t think about it every day.

Rick:  No. It’s difficult conversations. Sometimes we have to push people to have those those kind of conversations, a communication between spouses in particular. Think back into early…Values are interesting. Most of our goals are driven by our values, and values aren’t something that we learn.

They’re experiential, and our experiences are basically borne from our earlier years. We’ve got to go back and understand who we are, why we are who we are, and how we think as individuals.

We’ve got a number of different exercises that will help people to go through conversations, self-awareness, some various processes that will help them better understand why things are important to them, help them understand how to value or prioritize certain goals, because of who they are, how they came up, how they were brought up, their recollections of early childhood memories, their recollection of their environment, their parents, their legacy, their history and culture, of who they are as a person.

All of these are fundamental in terms of who we are and our core values. We need to go through…We don’t spend enough time with reflection on who, what, why, where, how we arrived, and where we are today. We’ve got some applications that will help you go through that, some various exercises, interactions between you and your spouse, and we’re just a participant. We’re just a witness.

We’re scribe to those exercises, so we better understand who you are. Then, we can have a conversation that can start the wheels turning for, “OK, so what do we do about all of this, and where do we go from here?” The goals that you say that are further out there, how do we start dreaming?

We want to get the dreams into concrete goals with metrics that are building ourselves, step by step, closer to those dreams that really inspire who we are. The financial aspect of financial planning is simple. It all falls underneath that. What do we need to do for growth, for risk, for taxes, for risk planning, for all of the different mitigating challenges that need to be put into the equation to put money to work to support what’s important to us.

It’s not just money. It’s familial resources. It’s educational resources. It’s spiritual resources. How do all of those come together in terms of planning to get you where you want to be on a challenge, on a pathway that’s realistic with metrics to know you’re on the track, you’re making progress, and you’re getting where you want to get to? It’s confidence building, it’s inspiring, and it leaves you with a peace of mind. That’s how we think.

Katlyn: Wealth management based on values, it sounds like.

Rick:  Yeah. Based on who you are, what you are, and your core values. It’s a much better way to do it than wealth manager based upon how big my mutual fund was last year.

Katlyn:  Definitely, I agree. Thank you, Rick, for explaining your philosophy.

Rick:  You’re very, very welcome. It’s always a pleasure talking to you.

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