By Shawndi Purselley, CFP®, CDFA®, Owner and Co-Founder, Wealth Advisor
Many of us didn’t naturally start off life good at everything (or maybe at anything). Don’t get discouraged and know you can become financially successful at any age.
When I was young, I did not get academic achievement awards in grade school nor was I voted most likely to succeed by my peers. I was very “ordinary” and uninspired. When I began my career, my employers never promoted me to management nor did I ever win an employee of the month award. In fact, fast forward to a few years after I first began in the financial services industry. I approached my then employers about being promoted to a financial advisor position and I was turned down. I had worked diligently to obtain the appropriate registrations for the profession and was very hurt and disappointed that they did not believe I had anything to offer their team as a financial advisor. I didn’t give up! I continued to work hard and shortly thereafter, they finally agreed to let me try my luck as an advisor. My age (27 at the time) coupled with my gender put me in the very small minority of my profession of women at my age. This meant that I had to work harder than my older male colleagues. By 2008 I decided that I could be a financial advisor and a small business owner. My business partner and I co-founded Armstrong Purselley Wealth Management Group and the rest is history. Today, we work, operate, and manage a successful business with a fantastic team of ten. I don’t believe we are all born with greatness magically flowing through our veins. It’s okay to be a late bloomer. I believe we develop into our full potential over time with hard work and dedication. Here are some things I feel contribute to success:
Confidence is critical. If you don’t believe in yourself, then who will? Sit at the front of the room, dress sharp, take notes, walk with purpose, and look people in the eyes. I know this may be hard, but practice makes perfect. Don’t be afraid to speak up in discussions when you have something valuable to offer or to sing your own praises. Be vocal about your experience and your strengths. Don’t expect managers to just magically notice how awesome you are. They are busy doing their own work and don’t always take the opportunity to make your success their priority.
Educate yourself. Be qualified to do the job you want before asking for it. Don’t be hesitant to obtain and grow your knowledge for the specific type of position you want. Be overqualified for the job you currently have before asking for advancement. As a business owner and boss, if I see an employee using their own time to educate themselves for a better position before they have asked for it, I really respect their ambition and it shows me they take a new position very seriously and respect our organization. Speak up about your past experiences within a given topic. Be vocal about your education and expertise in a particular field of knowledge.
Accept constructive criticism. This goal is really hard for me. When I was younger, I could argue several reasons why my boss was wrong about their comments about my job performance. I understand today that it is much better to accept constructive criticism and to be a teachable person rather than to argue my position. I find that acknowledging constructive criticism and advice as a challenge and accepting it helps me find ways to grow. Don’t forget to be excited about change in your own business or an organization.
Finding financial success during your working years may help you during your retirement years. If you love what you do for a living you may decide to work longer which may reduce the number of years you will need to depend on your retirement accounts. Working longer may also add higher earnings years to your Social Security calculation which will increase benefits. In addition, a higher paying job may provide more room in your budget to save for retirement. As you climb the ladder, you may also be offered additional employee benefits which can positively affect your retirement.
Remember to find strength in yourself and at your own speed. We are all valuable and have so much to offer our employers, colleagues or to our own small businesses no matter what our age may be. If you are unfulfilled in your current environment, it’s ok to level-up and find something that suits you. Just remember to have a plan in place before doing so.