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A financial advisor's No. 1 job isn't making you money

The U.S. may be the wealthiest country in the world, but many Americans are poor when it comes to feeling inspired.

Life is too short to not be inspired. Too many Americans today find themselves in a rut with their careers, relationships and life choices. Many people are deferring the life they would rather live.

Your financial advisor is in a unique role to be a change-agent, but think about your last meeting with your financial advisor. Did you feel lost in a land of economic research charts, asset allocation theory and tax jargon? Did you feel you and your advisor were speaking a different language, one that prevented him or her from truly understanding your goals and desires?

Ridofranz | iStock | Getty Images

The truth is, most Americans feel a great disconnect with their money. Many don't realize how their relationship with it could empower them to pursue their highest priorities and purpose, rather than make them feel stuck on a gerbil wheel of obligations.

If this feels like you, you may not realize that beyond conversations about your cash flow planning and portfolio allocation, your advisor should also help you focus on career fulfillment, family health, marriage satisfaction and personal life purpose planning. These are all aspects of your wealth, and if they are not optimized, then you and your advisor are both missing an opportunity.

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The definition of wealth needs to shift to being about the value of one's possessions and the value of one's life experience—or what I like to call "inspired wealth management."

"Financial planning is the ideal catalyst for a more inspired life. It's time that our country's inner wealth matched its outer wealth." -Seth Streeter, President of Mission Wealth

The American Dream re-imagined

I had meeting years ago with a couple in their early 50's. He was a high profile corporate attorney with a high level salary. As I pulled into their home for the meeting it was the epitome of the American dream. They had a big house, nice cars, and a huge photo of themselves and their two handsome kids over the fireplace mantle. Then our conversation began and the underbelly of the American dream was revealed.

The impetus for the meeting was retirement planning. They had assets but little time to look after them. He expressed concern about the amount they were paying in taxes. She referenced a goal they had to remodel the kitchen and they both expressed the need to address their kids' pending college expenses. This is standard fare for hundreds of financial advisors across the country. It would have been easy to simply address these goals—make recommendations for how to adjust their investments, refinance their mortgage, modify their insurance coverage and ensure their estate plans were properly updated. But while I sat with them in their living room, it became apparent there was more beneath the surface.

He talked about his work as a "never-ending grind". She referenced their constant running around and how they had little time as a family. They both showed signs of feeling under-appreciated by the other. And when one of their sons came home it was clear their communication with him was distant and limited.

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So after tapping into these undercurrents, I asked an out-of-the-blue question. "Bob, what is it that you truly love doing?" He paused for a bit and said he was a history buff. He loved U.S. history and read books and watched shows about it whenever he could. When I asked her what her passion was, she said she loved to travel but they had done so little of it with his work demands that she had forgotten what it was like.

"Bob, what if you could get paid to share what you know about history with able-minded high school students? What if you could have summers off to travel more as a family? What if you could do this and know that your kids' college would be funded and you could remain in this lovely house as long as you want? Would you consider this?" Their eyes widened and they both looked in shock. Bob finally spoke up and said, "Well yeah, if only such a thing could come true." So for the next hour, we dove into their planning to explore how this pipe-dream could come true. Yes, it came with some sacrifices, but the "big rocks" of Bob being happier and healthier, their marriage being rekindled and the family being able to enjoy long summer vacations together has made this big life decision a slam dunk.

The most valuable asset
Beyond the 401(k) plan, investment portfolio and family home, the most valuable and often under-optimized asset may be your personal gift. This is the intersection between your true passion and talent. It's the ability that few others have. It's the thing you can do for hours and feel like you will never tire of it. And when you find a career that fully exposes and leverages this personal gift, you may experience four results.

First, you love your job! You are no longer working for the weekends and you are enthusiastic about heading to work each day. Second, you are happier and thus are nicer to your family and friends. Third, you are less stressed because you are doing something that fulfills you that makes you physically and emotionally healthier. And fourth, you might be surprised to find you can make more money working in joy versus what you are currently earning working for the weekend.

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The practice of inspired wealth management requires that your advisor has a focused presence, keen listening skills and a rooted connection to you. This is about setting aside the charts and having meaningful conversations with you in order to tap into your deeper needs and aspirations. If you have already experienced this, you will know it. If you haven't, and you feel you may be missing out on your highest self and ideal life, then you owe it to yourself to see if your current advisor can assume this role or consider a new advisor.

By the way, if your advisor is able to serve this role, he or she will experience greater career satisfaction knowing they are making a significant difference in your life, beyond just an investment return.

It's time your advisor helped you focus on personal growth in addition to asset growth. It's time people take action to add more meaning and joy to their lives by utilizing their unique personal gifts, by fostering deeper connections with family and by giving back to causes close to their heart. Financial planning is the ideal catalyst for a more inspired life. It's time that our country's inner wealth matched its outer wealth.

—By Seth Street, President of Mission Wealth, Member of the CNBC-YPO Chief Executive Network

About
CNBC and YPO (Young Presidents' Organization) have an exclusive editorial partnership. It consists of regional Chief Executive Networks in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. These Chief Executive Networks are made up of a sample of YPO's unrivaled global network of 20,000 top executives from 120 countries who are on the front lines of the economy. The opinions of Chief Executive Network members are solely their own and do not reflect the opinions of YPO as a whole or CNBC.

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