Among the many lessons my parents taught me was integrity. When I was nine years old, my buddy and I ran through a neighbor's yard and trampled a few flowers. When my dad found out, he laid out a plan for me to earn the money to buy a few packets of seeds and replant the flowers. It took me three weeks of extra chores to earn the 49 cents I needed to buy those seeds, and then I replanted our neighbor's garden. I wasn't too happy about all that work at the time, but it taught me a lesson I never forgot -- our integrity is earned, never given. And integrity is more valuable than gold. And isn't working and spending time with people you trust so much more enjoyable? Life is too short to have it any other way.
As a boy, I thought my grandpa could fix anything. I spent hours watching him fix his tractor or the hay baler and then meticulously cleaning his tools after every use. He would put a dab of oil on a cloth and rub it on the tools, telling me to always take care of my tools and to always do the job right the first time. That's commitment. Now, as an investment advisor, commitment means my job isn't done when the recommendations are made. "Cleaning the tools" means I keep myself educated on the cutting edge of investment and retirement planning knowledge; it means that we communicate regularly and adjust your plan as changes in your life dictate; and it means that I care enough about you and your family to want our relationship to last. And in the end, it means that we have "done the job right."
As a senior in college, I belonged to one of the largest clubs on campus. With no sales experience, I volunteered to coordinate the advertising for the club yearbook. As it turned out, the editor quit and no one volunteered to take over. So, without editing experience, I took that job on also. Long story short, our yearbook won the national competition (and I passed my classes). I learned that flexibility is key to handling life's unexpected challenges. Today, I am committed to being an independent advisor with the flexibility to offer the services each individual investor needs -- no square pegs in a round hole. Your financial goals are too important, your personal needs too unique, to trust them to someone who has only one answer for every question.
Mark Twain said, "Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." Kindness is why I always go to my local hardware store before going to the big box store. They always greet me at the door and ask if they can help. I rarely have to wait to be helped. When I can't figure out how a certain gizmo works, they answer my questions without making me feel stupid. And I actually feel like they are glad I stopped by. Mark Twain hints at the power of kindness. Just think what a kinder world would look like! I can't change the world by myself, but I can do my part with everyone I meet. So my desire is that everyone I work with feels welcomed at every contact, encouraged to ask any question, treated with respect and dignity, and uplifted knowing we are glad you stopped by.