Whether you consider yourself a smooth Navi.gator when it comes to your finances or you haven’t the slightest idea on how to manage them, a mentor can help you on your financial journey.
The thing is, many people don’t know where to start when it comes to finding someone to share the current state of your finances. Or worse: you’re not sure how much to let people know what you don’t know. It’s hard being vulnerable when it comes to money. But it can also be rewarding to get an outsider’s perspective when they’ve encountered the same things you are currently going through (or will in due time).
Here are our top tips for finding the right fit for your money mentorship.
Understand the role of a money mentor.
Remember: A money mentor is different than a certified professional you’d hire to perform a financial service. Money mentors may be morally responsible for protecting your information, but they aren’t legally obligated to do so. Mentors provide coaching, offer guidance and share helpful experiences. Do you need tips on saving money? Advice on investing? It’s critical to select a money mentor with demonstrated success or expertise in your financial areas of focus.
Set clear goals.
Before identifying a mentor, you have to be clear on why you need one. What do you want them to teach you? How can they add value to your journey? Mentors want to know specifically how they can help you. Answering questions like these will enable you to clearly articulate your mentorship needs and set goals. You can’t crush your goals if you don’t set any!
Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone when you request a mentor. Connect with someone from a different industry, background or (our favorite) another generation than your own. This will expose you to new perspectives,experiences, and a lot of things you’ve probably never heard before (and that’s the goal!). Be honest about your financial knowledge gaps and areas of weakness, even if it makes you slightly (or very) uncomfortable. This doesn’t mean that you have to share your private financial information or ask your money mentor to do so either.
If you cling to what’s familiar, it may be hard to broaden your horizons and expand your breadth of knowledge. Be bold and embrace the awkward money talk!
Respect your mentor’s time.
Don’t show up late or unprepared for meetings. Create a list of questions and/or topics for discussion before you meet to maximize your time together. If you have recurring meetings scheduled but no new items to discuss, cancel. Before you waste your mentor’s time, give it back to them.
Most importantly, take action on the feedback or suggestions they share. If you don’t agree with something or have a different view, that’s okay. The key is to share that with your mentor so that they know you’re hearing them and you appreciate their perspective.
Show your appreciation. If you’re meeting your mentor out and about, treat them to coffee or lunch. If that’s not an option, mail them a handwritten note. Whatever you do, it’s important that you acknowledge the time and expertise your mentor shares. A simple “thank you” goes a long way! And even better, share with them how their solid advice has helped you get closer to reaching your financial goals. Your money mentor will enjoy seeing positive results.
Be intentional and flexible.
Mentorship is no different than any other relationship; if it doesn’t add value or serve a purpose, you shouldn’t try to force it to do so. Be intentional about evaluating the relationship with your money mentor and don’t be afraid to move on if needed. They might decide that they’ve reached their capacity to help you and choose to move on as well.
On the flip side, you may be prepared to start having discussions with a financial professional and only need to connect with your money mentor during “let’s catch up” sessions. You’ll need different types of financial advice and support throughout the various stages of Navi.gating your finances. Be flexible with the transitions that will inevitably occur along the way.
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