Financial Checkup – Find a Mentor

November 4, 2006

Principle 4 – Find a Mentor
What do many successful people have in common? They learned their habits from someone else who was successful. The search for a mentor is basically a search for experience. You are looking for someone who has accumulated knowledge and has turned their mistakes into learning opportunities.

Who Should Be My Mentor?
For our physical health, we turn first to licensed professionals. We pay doctors, nurses, and specialists to diagnose our problems and give us healing and preventative advice. Some of us hire physical trainers or nutritional advisors and some of us just learn from a friend. They all mentor us in different ways and we have different levels of expectations for their assistance.

Financial Mentors
We can use the same combination of mentors for our financial health as well. Licensed professionals, such as certified financial planners, typically provide the most customized level of service, however, will cost you the most money.

Although it helps to have a personal relationship with someone for them to be your mentor, it is not required. You can learn from successful people through their writings in financial books, magazines, websites, or newsletters. You can attend training seminars or online courses that they offer.

Friends & Family
If you are fortunate enough to have a good relationship with someone that has done well financially, ask lots of questions and look for examples. See if they’re willing to teach you the things they know. You can also learn from people that have financial issues. Seeing what other people did that failed can be a learning experience as well, learn what not to do.

Why Over What
When learning from a mentor we may get into the bad habit of only asking them what to do, and not learning why they recommend it. Understanding the reasoning behind the recommendation does two things. It helps you learn the information, process, and habits that go into making the decision. The goal is to be able to apply the principles to pick out the best choices yourself someday.

Second, it allows you to use the common sense test. Remember, you are the one ultimately responsible for your financial decisions. Don’t follow their advice if you understand the reasons behind their suggestions and don’t agree with them. Blindly following the recommendations of a financial mentor can lead you into trouble.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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