“I was lucky to have the right heroes. Tell me who your heroes are and I’ll tell you how you’ll turn out to be. The qualities of the one you admire are the traits that you, with a little practice, can make your own, and that, if practiced, will become habit forming.” —Warren Buffet, legendary investor
Warren Buffett, billionaire and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, knows the value of a financial mentor. Buffett’s father, a stockbroker, was his first mentor. He guided young Buffett as he spread his business and investing wings at an early age.
Buffett’s next mentor was Ben Graham, author of The Intelligent Investor, and Buffett’s professor at Columbia University. Following in the footsteps of these “heroes,” Buffett became one of the wealthiest men in the world—eventually mentoring the wealthiest man in the world, Bill Gates.
Dave often says, “If you want to be rich people, do what rich people do.” If two of the richest guys in the world benefited from well-chosen mentors, you could probably benefit from a mentor of your own.
Dave himself has had several mentors who contributed to his success in his personal and business finances. For example, Dave might have been just another guy working through bankruptcy if he had not followed Larry Burkett’s advice about becoming and living debt-free. Now, as a leader of a growing business, Dave regularly seeks advice from business owners like Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-Fil-A.
Having a mentor sounds easy—find someone who’s being who you want to be and spend time with them. But there are a few keys to making the relationship a real benefit instead of just another schmooze session.
Choose wisely – The goal of this relationship is to make your habits and values better as you become like the people you spend time with. Your mentor can be someone you know personally or someone you’ve never met. What’s important is that you learn valuable lessons from their example. Often, your mentor will be older than you, in the next stage of life, so you can gain from their experiences.
Take action – If all you do is meet with your mentor or study about him in books, you’re not going to get much from the relationship. Warren, Bill and Dave may have become just so-so businessmen if they hadn’t put what they learned from their mentors into action. Even the best mentoring relationship is a failure if you don’t follow through and act on what you’ve learned.
Change it up – You may find, as Dave has, that you need different mentors as you progress through different stages of your finances. Someone who walked with you as you learned to budget might not have the best advice about insurance or investing. If you can’t find someone who’s comfortable advising you about investing, contact one of Dave’s investing Endorsed Local Providers. An ELP can teach you how to invest Dave’s way—from buying your first mutual fund to planning your retirement budget.
One last thought: Mentoring is a cycle. Keep it going, and return the favor of all the wisdom you received from your mentor by being willing to become a mentor yourself.
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