By and large, financial advisors are giving people. They enjoy sharing their time and resources with worthy organizations and enterprises that help others in the community. To learn about their efforts, we spoke to some women advisors who are active in reaching out. What we discovered were some traditional – and some not-so-traditional – ways of giving back.
Maggie O’Hearn, CFP®, Financial Advisor, Integr Wealth Management of Raymond James, stays involved with charitable food distribution through White Pony Express. This all-volunteer, nonprofit organization collects extra food from grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, etc., and provides it to shelters, women’s recovery centers and neighborhood programs that need nutritious food to help feed the less fortunate. In total, the group distributes almost 5,000 pounds of food per day, seven days a week.
It may only be rock and roll, but to Sacha Millstone, Wealth Manager, The Millstone Evans Group of Raymond James, it’s a way to help spread financial literacy. About a year ago, at a dinner party, Millstone met Steve Gooding, the lead guitarist in the rock band Gooding. They found out they had a shared passion: teaching kids about financial literacy. Gooding had created a unique delivery mechanism: combining a rock concert with a talk about financial literacy sprinkled with personal and celebrity stories, delivered free in schools through a nonprofit called Funding the Future. Millstone began underwriting some of these financial literacy shows. She found the information was similar to what Millstone herself would share but, as she puts it, “Because of the rock star angle, the band was much more effective in communicating to the kids. I was struck by how much the kids paid attention.” Millstone said the questions the kids asked during the events demonstrated that they clearly understood the messages being delivered.
Millstone offered other tips for advisors:
- Get involved with things in the community where you’d be happy even if no business comes from it.
- Be passionate about it.
- It doesn’t have to require your financial expertise; you have other skills from running your business that are beneficial.
Sybil Verch, Senior Vice President, Western Regional Manager, stays active as a mentor to young women interested in finance. Says Verch, “The best relationships happen when there are clear expectations of what the mentee is looking for.” She began mentoring at a local college that provided speed mentorships. She volunteered for two hours of time and students signed up for 15-minute time slots. Verch now participates in more traditional mentor relationships that last six to 12 months, meeting for 30 to 60 minutes per month.
Sometimes volunteering can also impact the volunteer. For instance, Traci Richmond, CFP®, The Meakem Group, an independent firm, was volunteering at a domestic abuse shelter when she met a woman with very low self-esteem. “She was terrified at how to handle financial things,” says Richmond. So she helped her with the simple ability to balance a checkbook. “Self doubt caused her to put off balancing it for two months,” recalls Richmond. ”But then she called and said she’d buckled down and balanced all three months – she was so proud.” Richmond was overwhelmed with how she could help this woman. And if you volunteer, you may be surprised at what you can accomplish, too.