I had finally arrived in India. I stepped off the plane and took my first few steps in an entirely new country. I was 18, and it was the first time I was traveling solo. I was thrilled at the prospect of following my own plan. Having eagerly saved up for this trip for the past year, I was determined to check off everything on my list. Easy enough! Traveling by myself meant I had the freedom to choose the sights I would see, the places I’d go, and the experiences I’d remember most.
It was a cool summer day in Mumbai when I decided I would make a reservation for the nicest restaurant in town. The clerk at my hotel was kind enough to give me careful directions on how to get there, and even drew me a map of the streets I would take.
I made my way across a few streets and through a couple of alleys. I turned into a particular alley and could see my destination, perched on a rooftop overlooking the city. I also saw a group of rough-looking teens in the alley throwing rocks and playing their music loud enough for everyone to hear. I must have been standing still for too long, trying to decide if I should take another path, when I noticed they were all staring at me. Suddenly I felt like a total outsider, nervous and unsure of what I should do next. I clutched the map I was carrying and turned to walk towards them, doing my best to not show any hesitation.
I had almost made it past them when I felt something nudge my shoe. It was a soccer ball they kicked over to me. Unsure of what to do, I kicked it back to them. They all cheered. I looked at their smiling faces and felt my shoulders and hands relax. We started talking about the neighborhood, the restaurant I was headed to, and their favorite spots to hang out. It was the kind of expert advice you could only get from a local.
After saying goodbye, I noticed I had dropped the map I was so carefully clutching earlier. It didn’t matter. My new plan was to avoid following the expectations I came with, and to save my judgment until I knew what was really happening.
I forgot this story until I became a financial advisor. Now, I realize this experience formed the way I work with my clients, helping them learn to adapt and be open to the kinds of changes that can make their financial plan successful, even if the end result isn’t what they expected.
How I’m expanding what’s possible with money
I like to plan my finances on a micro (weekly) and macro (yearly) scale to motivate me when long-term goals can seem so far away. I also commit to donating 4% of my salary to charities who provide clean drinking water in developing countries.
Outside of work, my passions include
I love running in races across California. Backpacking the Sierra Nevada mountains and learning something new about its geography each trip keeps me inspired.