Part of my quest for learning this year is a desire to get some expertise with money. Most of my life I’ve observed money: watched it come in, and watched it go out. But I haven’t used it with any sort of creative vision to BUILD something, I never shaped it.

Now (somewhat late, I know, but whatever…) I’m hot to figure this all out. I’m making pretty good money, and I would like to retire some day. Recently I’ve read Suze Orman and David Bach and I’m accumulating a bit of knowledge and vocabulary. I’m trying hard to get rid of some of my old patterns of thinking about money, patterns that have held up my growth in this area. And one of my goals has been to find an independent financial advisor who can help me identify how to manage my money and business, and how to think about the way money grows.

This is a whole industry; you wouldn’t think it would be that hard to find a good person, but I’ve had a really tough time. Recommendations lead to people working for big investment firms who want to sell you their products. Or people new to the field who have no experience but are looking for referrals to start (I know you have to start somewhere, but I’d like someone with a history in this stuff). After one woman quoted me a minimum dollar tag for the year, I asked her what the deliverable was. In other words, I said, what exactly do I receive during the year? She couldn’t answer me. Yikes.

Today I called a woman in Maine who was recommended to me by my dear friend Mary. Mary lives in Cleveland now, and I guess that’s why I hadn’t asked her before about this. As soon as she heard me talk about my discouragement during a phone call the other day, she suggested I call Robin. I was game: first, I’m desperate. Second, Mary’s husband is a minister and if they think someone is good, I tend to believe them. It’s heartening to know your financial advisor is ethical.

When Robin answered the phone, I liked her immediately. I do much of my work on the phone, and I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing a lot just by listening to a voice. She has a good one. And everything she said, including the fact that she charges by the hour and her rate slides with a person’s income…well, that’s just plain smart. Incentive for her to get me to make more! I also liked that she identifies her work as financial educator and advisor. That lets me know she values teaching people how to manage their OWN money. Her work is about empowerment, and that’s what I’ve been trying to find. She’s sending a packet of forms to me and we’ll get started right away.

I’m so excited about the prospect of planning for the future that I’m buying a powerball ticket tomorrow. If I win, Robin’s rate will go up, but I suppose I could live with that…