Is Your Financial Advisor a Giver, Taker, or Matcher?

One of my favorite books I’ve recently read is Give and Take by Adam Grant. In this New York Times bestseller, Grant discusses the three different personality types in terms of how they treat others and identifies givers, takers, and matchers. He also points out that, contrary to popular belief, those who get ahead and stay ahead in the business world are not the hardest workers or the hustlers—they’re actually the ones who are most focused on helping others. We tend to think of those who consistently put others ahead of themselves as altruistic and admirable, but I doubt many of us would think of them as highly successful. This book really changes the way you think about success and I love that the emphasis is put where it should be: on those who are truly interested in giving value.

As an advice-based financial advisor, I try to always focus on helping others. This includes my clients, those I mentor, colleagues, and anyone who is interested in learning more about what I do or how I do it. Unfortunately, the financial world is full of takers and matchers who don’t understand that true value comes from giving. Do you think your advisor may be a matcher, or, even worse, a taker? Here’s how to find out.

Signs Your Advisor is a Matcher

The vast majority of people operate under a matcher mindset. They believe that if they do for others, others should do for them in return. These are the people who will help someone out, but then get discouraged or upset if others don’t help them. They will sometimes put their needs second, but it’s rare that they do so without expectations.

Does your advisor give you good advice on stocks to buy or investments to pursue, but then take offense if you don’t agree or want to go in a different direction? Do you find that if you don’t promptly return a phone call or respond to an email that your advisor’s communication also starts to slip? Do you think your advisor pays more attention to his clients that have more money than you do? If so, your advisor may be a matcher.

Signs Your Advisor is a Taker

Takers are always looking out for number one. They’ll do whatever it takes to get ahead and they don’t care who they hurt in the process. In the beginning of a business relationship, they may seem incredibly charming, intelligent, and charismatic and are therefore able to easily reel in clients. However, over time, the cracks start to show and those close to them become wise to their ways.

Does your advisor continually use the words ‘me’, ‘I’, and ‘my’ and rarely utter the words ‘we’ or ‘us’? Do you feel you are punished for asking questions or second-guessing any of his advice? Do you feel your advisor is constantly telling you what to do and rarely listens to your concerns? Is your advisor flashy and make frequent attempts to draw attention to himself (a concept Grant calls fleeking)? If so, you may have fallen victim to a taker.

Signs Your Advisor is a Giver

Givers are naturally inclined to help others get ahead. They do so without expecting anything in return and their satisfaction is multiplied when they see those around them becoming successful. Though givers may not be the most gregarious or charming people in the room, they are the ones who will always help you find the bathroom or hook you up with the one person at an event who can help take your business to the next level. Givers not only improve the lives of those they care about, but they also inspire others to give more.

Does you advisor always take the time to listen to you and suggest resources that can help you out with all aspects of your life? Is your advisor consistently sending you helpful links, book suggestions, or podcasts that will expand your thinking and help you manage your investment behavior? Does your advisor focus more on improving his or her own physical, mental, and emotional health than on acquiring impressive cars or clothing? These are all signs that you’ve made a good choice of advisors and that yours is a giver.

When you work with a financial advisor who is a giver, you will not only find that your financial situation improves, but you’ll also feel appreciated and inspired to reach higher levels of success in all areas of your life. If you’d like to talk more about givers and takers or are interested in working with a financial advisor who cares, please reach out. I’d love to talk more!

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Patrick Tucker, owner of True Measure Wealth Managementhas over 20 years experience in the industry and has spent the last 15 years learning the ins and outs of the fee-only advisory business. He focuses on client behaviors and what ‘wealth’ means for each individual client to provide caregiving plans that leads to a mindful fulfillment of financial goals. A lifelong learner, Patrick uses his continued knowledge to become a valued partner for his clients and help them explore the wisdom of true wealth.