All Career Insights

Does having a “why” matter?

by Gary Schwartz, Executive Vice President

Much has been written about having a “why.”

We see this on LinkedIn and in the popular media.

Nietzsche said, “Those who have a why to live can bear almost anyhow.”

I have had the privilege to work with hundreds of advisors in the past 45 years, and I can say that having an acknowledged and articulated “why” can really power a financial practice.

Clients often don’t want to know how you do something as an advisor, they want to know why.

Having a “why” and sharing it with clients can make an advisor relatable and appreciated.

A “why” isn’t required to succeed, or for some, their “why” is nothing more than to generate a recurring income.

Yet these are typically not the practices that resonate with clients nor are they particularly meaningful to you.

With some effort, we can grow our “why” to be something more powerful.

In my coaching practice with advisors, we usually get around to discovering their “why.”

Oh, there are some great stories.

I’ve talked to advisors who were raised in financially strapped households, experienced premature death of a parent, watched as chronic illnesses depleted savings, went through dependency issues and job loss, grew up with a special needs sibling, or simply wanted money to be their servant and not their master.

The stories are authentic and meaningful. They reveal that advisors most have the same motivation:

“I never want my clients’ families to go through what my family went through.”

In our Practice on Purpose book, we propose that when you have an expressed purpose (why) your best years are always ahead of you.

The book includes an exercise where the advisor writes out their purpose and shares it. This process is not as easy as it appears. Yet once the purpose is articulated, it takes on a life of its own.

It’s natural to presume that once we have an articulated “why,” we are happening to the world. I also find it gratifying to consider that once we put this out into the world, perhaps the world is conspiring to make it come true. Our purpose could be coming back at us as well.

At North Star Resource Group, we work with our advisors to know and share their “why” with their clients and potential clients.

As Socrates said at his trial, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” We can make our lives worth living by advising and leading our clients to have the best life possible with the money they have.

Our mantra at North Star Resource Group is “Changing Lives, Forever.” This starts with the advisor knowing and celebrating their “why.”

Finally, Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days of our lives are the day we were born and the day we find out why.” We invite you to find out why as if your life depended on it.

Gary H. Schwartz, CLU®, ChFC®, CRPC®

Author: Gary H. Schwartz, CLU®, ChFC®, CRPC®

Executive Vice President at North Star Resource Group

Gary joined North Star in 2013, bringing with him over 30 years of experience managing financial representatives’ growth at Minnesota Mutual, Securian Financial Services, and Ameriprise Financial Services. He worked for four years as senior vice president of advisor growth and development before being promoted to executive vice president in 2017.

He specializes in developing practice management analytics to improve the productivity and effectiveness of a financial practice.

Beyond his work in individual firms, Gary is also an active contributor to the financial services industry on topics of coaching financial professionals and building practices. Within industry organizations, Gary is past chair of LIMRA’s Career Agency Building Committee and Securian’s ambassador and diplomat to Finseca (formerly GAMA International). He worked as an adjunct professor emeritus for the University of St. Thomas Graduate School of Business and is a regular presenter for Finseca, speaking to financial professionals throughout the world.

Registered Representative of Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC and Investment Advisor Representative of Cetera Investment Advisers, LLC.

Finseca is a membership organization for which individuals must submit applications and payment. The organization is geared toward those in a recruiting, training, or supervision role in the financial services industry. Awards are based primarily on -commissions, premiums, or fees generated from investment and insurance products and other criteria relative to leadership, achievement, and recruiting selected by the applicant. Individuals must be current with membership dues and submit an application fee for consideration. Working with this individual is not a guarantee of future financial results. Investors should conduct their own evaluation.

Investment advisor representative of Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC.