How to Find a Financial Mentor
Is there a certain amount I should save each month? What is a 401K? How can I invest? If you find yourself asking these questions, don’t worry, you are not alone.
According to the 2016 Survey of the States released by the Council for Economic Education, “there has been no improvement in economic education in recent years and slow growth in personal finance education.”
Today, the majority of high schools and colleges do not offer classes in personal finance. So, outside of having a friend who works at a bank, who could you ask for help? Enter the financial mentor. This is a person who you know or respect and one that you feel comfortable discussing money matters with. You can trust this individual to give you an honest, unbiased opinion.
Before approaching a mentor, it may help to track your income and spending habits for a period of time such as a month. A mentor can then help you use the information to create a budget and think about other related topics such as saving and investing.
Tips to Find a Financial Mentor
Since money is a personal and sensitive topic, here are a few tips that can help you identify individuals who can make good financial mentors.
They have walked in your shoes
We identify more strongly with those who share something with us. Mutual interests and values are basic identifiers we use in finding friends. These similarities also apply when looking for mentors. Additionally, shared elements of your stories such as growing up in a single-parent household or working to pay for school, may further deepen connections. Those who have experienced similar circumstances can more easily understand where you have come from and may have thoughts to share from budgeting tools to money management.
They listen to you
Think about the individuals in your life whom you currently confide in. Now think about why you have chosen to open up to them. Perhaps it is because they give you their undivided attention or because they truly care about your well-being. In the same way, a financial mentor should embody these characteristics as they coach you. He or she should be equally invested in your words as you are in his or hers. An effective mentorship entails actively working together towards a goal after evaluating the situation and understanding different perspectives.
You respect them for a number of reasons, not just the financial ones
A financial mentor should be a role model. The monetary success that he or she has achieved is a result of his or her actions and those are ultimately rooted in character. Words such as honest, enthusiastic, generous, and confident are some of the many that you can use when describing this individual. Your relationship with this person is inspired by the fact that he or she sees the drive and potential within you. Remember, it takes someone who possesses those same qualities to identify them in others.
They aren’t afraid of telling you the hard truths
By acknowledging the difficulties that may lay ahead but by inspiring you to take action, financial mentors play a vital role in encouraging you to face your challenges head-on. He or she is eager to teach you and understands how to deal with difficulties. It is important for conversations to be transparent so that you can understand the reality of the situation and can craft a plan that helps you move forward.
As you think through your acquaintances and identify potential mentors, remember to always demonstrate your gratitude to someone who extends you a helping hand. Your mentor will become your friend and a lifelong supporter of your success.