Wealth Podcast Post

Aligned Values with Jeff Bernier

George Grombacher April 11, 2023

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Aligned Values with Jeff Bernier

LifeBlood: We talked about living with aligned values, navigating the different stages of our lives, finding true and lasting happiness, and how to make sure our finances can support the life we want, with Jeff Bernier, Founder of Tandem Growth Financial Advisors, speaker, author and podcaster.   

Listen to learn how to find time to think about the most important things in your life!

You can learn more about Jeff at TandemGrowth.com, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Get your copy of The Money and Meaning Journey HERE

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Jeff Bernier

Jeff Bernier

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:01
Well, blood blood. This is George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong and powerful. Jeff paneer. Jeff, are you ready to do this?

Jeff Bernier 0:08
I am George, really excited about being with you today

george grombacher 0:11
and excited to have you back on the show. Let’s go. Jeff, is ecfp CFS ChFC. He’s been providing personalized financial advice since 1986. He’s the founder of tandem growth Financial Advisors, a speaker podcaster. His newest book is the money and meaning journey, a guide to clarity, financial confidence and joy. Jeff, again, it’s great to have you back on it’s been five years or so. So refresh your memory. Tell us a bit about your personal life more about your work and why you do what you do.

Unknown Speaker 0:43
Yeah, well, again, thanks again, George for having me having me back. It’s always good to have a repeat appearance. So yeah, so I’m married to Ashley for 30 years, my wife, we have two kids, Nicholas, who’s 26. And Natalie, who’s 23. I got two grandchildren, Maverick and Mattis, two and four. And so I’m a busy granddad, in addition to being the founder, and President of tandem growth, financial advisors are a wealth management company, here in North Atlanta. And, and so I advise clients and families and households on holistic Wealth Management Services. And recently, as you mentioned, I’ve written a book called The Money meaning journey, a guide to clarity, financial confidence, and joy. And I do a bit of blogging and have a podcast and I’m really interested in the intersection of money and meaning. In other words, how do we uncover what really matters? What gives us purpose? What gives our life meaning? What gives us joy? And how do we create the financial margin to be able to go pursue those things? So a lot of my wealth management work is does both of those things, we hope and the things that I like to write about in my podcast is sort of centered on that intersection of having a great life, meaning purpose, you know, what brings you joy? And also how do we create the financial means to go pursue it? So that’s what I’m, that’s what I’m about.

george grombacher 2:28
When you started in 1986, did you always have that appreciation for that intersection? Or has that something that that’s, that’s evolved over time?

Unknown Speaker 2:42
Now, heck, no. When I started 1986, I thought I was going to be the super successful, sophisticated finance guy, and I was gonna make a lot of money. And, and I thought that by being successful in my career as an advisor, and being held up as one of the best advisors in the firm, or in the country, or whatever, and having the trappings of success, was gonna make me happy. And, and as I matured in life, I realized that it won’t, and it didn’t. And so I had a bit of a, I guess, a, a maturing or a revelation in uncovering what really matters. And then as I learned more about that, and actually, this was a, you know, the, it was a, it was not a, it was not a direct flight from the first half to the second half. But as I moved more into kind of my second act, if you will, in my career, I just got really passionate about helping other people create the financial means to go do what they were uniquely created to do. And I didn’t think anything about that the first several years of my career, it was, again, all about creating worldly success and making a bunch of money. And so, you know, as I approached my, really right around my 50th birthday, interestingly enough, it just hit me as a ton of bricks, that I wanted to coach clients differently. And we wanted to serve people more holistically as I was going through my own sort of mid career examination about what brings me joy and significance as opposed to just the trappings of worldly success. I guess.

george grombacher 4:44
That’s a great term worldly success. And I know that certainly, that was a huge driver for me when I was in my 20s. And I wonder if that’s just something that we all go through, but maybe we don’t necessarily ever Make the switch over to what’s really important to me.

Unknown Speaker 5:04
Yeah, I don’t I’m not sure I know that there is life is life is kind of life is a journey in the early part of our life, and I write about this in the book a little bit, I use Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey metaphor, if you know, Joseph Campbell is. And, you know, we have to go through the stages, I guess, of development. But what I have found is that many people get there earlier, if they have a challenge in their life often. So I mean, there might be, you know, there might be people in their 20s, that have actually moved into the quote, and I don’t want to call it the second act, but sort of at least a mindset of things that are actually more important, because they’ve been through a life challenge. And, you know, when you’ve got a challenge in your life, a lot of the things that don’t really matter very much fall aside, because you don’t have the capacity to deal with them. And you understand it. But I think for most of us, we sort of go through life, and we, you know, we get educated and then we have success, and we start building a career and a family and country clubs and beach houses and all that all that. And at some point, we reached this point where, you know, we start wondering, Is that all there is, is this is, you know, it’s just Jack Nicholson said in a movie once, is this as good as against, and, and so I think that’s a dangerous time in our careers. Because if we don’t start a new journey to uncover what really matters, I mean, we can, we can fall into some really bad habits, and that’s where, you know, career crisis and midlife crisis and can occur. And so it’s really important to sort of go to the locker room is, as Bob Buford said, in his book halftime, or just re strategize the second half and figure out what really matters.

george grombacher 7:07
Yeah, I think that that’s really well said, and really well put. We think that and for good reason. All the things you described, country clubs, having money, a nice home, nice lifestyle, beaches, all of that. That’s, those are really good. And seems like we all need to sort of discover that for ourselves and less our development and moving along is hastened by some kind of an event that sort of snaps us into taking that look in the mirror and doing the introspection. So what is that? Is? Is there a process? How do we start asking those questions before something bad happens, or before we reach that midlife crisis?

Unknown Speaker 7:47
Well, I really wrote the book to speak to the mid to late career professional or executive or business person, or even someone who’s maybe early in retirement. Because I think as we move into our second act, we are faced with both some psychological and financial challenges. And that’s really what the book tries to address some of those. And I draw on a lot of resources. I mean, you know, I’m not an expert in in some of these areas, but I’ve read a lot. And I’m really interested a lot. And so what I’ve tried to do in the book is walk through as this mid career, my hero, this mid to late career, individual or someone who’s recently retired. And it’s really, you really have to, you really have to answer three questions. And what I try to do in the book is I try to the middle part of a book is actually a workshop I used to do that help you and ask some of these questions. But the first one is, you know, kind of What’s your why, you know, Simon Sinek wrote a great book and has a, you know, obviously a TED talk that was viral about, you know, start with y. So, the first thing is really figuring out, who are you? What do you care about what brings you to your knees? What are your values, what really matters? And that can be done quickly. I mean, that that’s, that’s the process to kind of go to the woods and and contemplate what really, what really matters. What is your you know, what, what’s your what’s your purpose, I guess? The second one is once you uncover your purpose, and your gifts, in other words, what are you uniquely gifted for? And we all are uniquely gifted in different things. But once you’ve once you get a pretty good some clues about what really matters, and what do you love to do and what are you great at doing? The second question is, you know, what, on what stage do you perform? In other words, what is your context? You know, is it being a grandfather? Is it running a business? Is it being a because, you know, there’s really three levels of happiness? There is, you know, pleasure you know, when you go on a great vacation, that’s how you’re happy, but those things are fleeting they’re important, and they’re good, but they’re fleeting. The second level of happiness is just well being, you know, eudaimonia, you know, where you’re you have, and a lot of that comes from being good at your craft in doing things that you like to do. And then the third level of happiness is how do you create value for others? What gives you meaning? And, and all the studies say that service to others gives meaning? So in this in the second part, about what is your context, you sort of combine those, you know, what is fun for you? You know, are you a golfer? Do you like to travel, the scuba dive? Those are all good, but they’re likely to be fleeting, you know, what are you good at, that you can continue to do through your whole life? Because, you know, retirements dangerous if you don’t have a reason to get up every day, you know? And then that third level is how, in what is the what is the what is your arena, what is your stage to serve others, and serving others could be your family, it could be your friends, it could be a nonprofit, in my case, it still could be in my professional work. So that’s second. So the first thing was purpose, meaning values. The second one was what is the stage? What is the arena? And the third thing is, how do you create the margin? How do you create the meaning? The means, you know, the freedom? How do you create the time, the financial resources, the energy to go pursue those things that matter, and my hero, this mid to late career professional, or someone who’s recently retired, faces an awful lot of challenges in that area. And so half the book is basically a wealth management toolbox to address some of the challenges which, you know, potentially lower expected returns, you know, lower bond yields, you know, high inflation, long life expectancies, behavioral mistakes that we all make, you know, the concerns about government programs, so, so there is a process about uncovering your why, what matters, your values, figuring out, where do I want to spend that energy to serve others? And then thirdly, you know, how do we create the financial margin to go pursue it. And so again, and there, you know, you know, in the, in the hero’s journey, and Joseph Campbell’s work, you know, in all literature and movies, and, you know, there’s a process and in that process, in most of the commonalities on these myths, or stories, is the hero has a guide finds a guide. And so you can find the guy that can help you with some of these firms like ours, and certainly the, the margin part. But also, they’re great books, and I’m hoping the book can be a guide to many people.

george grombacher 13:06
Yeah, I think that that makes a lot of sense. You mentioned going into the woods going on a pilgrimage, a vision quest. We are so busy, and especially when we are high achievers, our time attention, or energy or our limited because we have lots of interests. So do you recommend that people do take just how do I get the space to be able to have these conversations with myself?

Unknown Speaker 13:35
Yeah, that’s you’re absolutely right. That is very difficult. I think. The hardest thing for us to do, and I can’t I’m gonna butcher the quote, I love quotes, but I’ve missed the trivium Sure. But there is someone that said, you know, one of the hardest skills for mankind is to sit in a room quietly by themselves. And I don’t know it might have been it might have been, you know, Merton or somebody, Blaise Pascal, there we go. Thank you. But, right. So, I mean, I think you’ve got, you’ve got to create the space, whether it’s, you know, 30 minutes in the morning of, you know, personal worship or a quiet time or just listening to your Creator, however you define your Creator. It’s, you know, I think one of the things that I learned many years ago is I may not take a day that I call a desert day a quarter so once a quarter I just spend four or five hours with no agenda other than just walking around in the woods with a journal and praying and listening and, and so but but you do have to be intentional about it because life fills it up. You know, Stephen Covey. Covey has the famous analogy where he puts the rocks in the cylinder and fills in the pebbles in the in the sand In the water, and, and obviously, if you don’t put the rocks in first, there’s no room for anything else. So you do have to be intentional about creating the space. So no, I certainly encourage doing both of those things trying to create daily, daily time where you can just sit, I mean, I do it in the mornings, other people do it in the evenings, but at least have some short time per day, where you can just think about, and listen to what, and get some divine intervention in terms of what really matters. And you know, what, sort of some grounding and then try to carve out some space, at least, you know, maybe maybe once a quarter to think about what matters and go through these go through these processes. And by the way, you know, in the book, I do have some tools, but there are plenty of great resources that can help you with some tools if you need them. But no, I think that’s critical. Especially as we let life fill up, and other people fill up our our calendars.

george grombacher 16:09
Are we ever a finished product?

Unknown Speaker 16:12
Gosh, I hope not. I mean, the I mean, I think that we are it’s, you know, you can continue to grow in all areas of your life. And I think that’s the problem of society is we’ve created sort of this artificial finish line, at least with retirement, but maybe maybe with some of the psychological things as well. But But no, I mean, I think you can continue. Now it’s different. I mean, the things that matter to you, when you’re eight in your 80s or 90s, and maybe physically frail, are certainly going to be different than they are in your 50s or 40s or 20s. But no, I, I think that I think we can continue to grow and, and learn new things. I mean, I want to be a lifelong learner. But more importantly than that, I want to continue becoming, becoming closer to what God created me to be every day. And I think that’s a I think that’s a daily journey.

george grombacher 17:23
Yeah, it certainly it speaks to values, what is what is important to you, if if being able to chase grandkids around a great grandkids around is important to you? Well, that means that you’re probably going to need to put good food in your body and exercise or whatever it might be. And so those desires will change over time, somewhat to your point. So,

Unknown Speaker 17:45
yeah, well, that’s why the values clarification is so important. And then you revisit it daily or quarterly to question, you know, is, is my calendar, in alignment with what I said, really mattered? I mean, that’s what I mean, that’s the problem. We’re not intentional about figuring out what matters. And but but we still need a process to determine if what we’re working on and what we’re how we’re spending our day is consistent with those values. And, you know, I think it’s, I think it’s helpful to have some prompts as well, you know, have some, you know, some some cues around that remind you, you know, what your values are. And because in, it’s my experience, that the tactics change a lot, your your context can change a lot. The things that you do can change a lot. I don’t think your core values change that much. So I think your core values, you know, how you express some changes can change a lot. But I think the core values don’t, but I think the problem is, again, if we don’t reflect on our values consistently, you know, the day gets away from us, and we don’t, we don’t live a life congruent with those values. And I’m, look, I’m talking about this, like, I’m an expert on it. And I’m not I mean, I’m, I’m on the same journey every day, trying to live authentically to my values, just like your listener. So I think it’s important that we just recognize that it’s a journey for all of us to deal with the challenges of modern society. And all this. You know, Ashley Williams wrote a great book called time smart, and she calls it confetti, all this confetti is being thrown at us. And it can it can co opt our attention.

george grombacher 19:33
Yeah. Well said. Well, Jeff, thank you so much for coming back on where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with your firm and where can they get their copy of the money and meaning journey, a guide to clarity to clarity, financial confidence and joy?

Unknown Speaker 19:50
Yeah, thanks, George. So, Jeff Bernier author.com So as je FF, B E R N i e, r author.com is the website for the book so you can go there and learn more about the book. You can order it on Amazon and all the major retailers. So the money meaning journey is available on all those places. But at Jeff Brunner author.com You can see the link to the podcast some of my writing. And there’s actually some bonus material that has the workbook that kind of goes through some of these exercises that are actually in the book, but I created a PDF where people can actually work through some of these exercises. Jeff Bernier author.com our corporate website is tandem growth.com. And so you can see the podcast on money meaning show and as well as other resources there in the money meaning Show podcast is available on iTunes and Spotify and all the normal streaming places as well. So those are the best places Jeff Weiner author.com In terms of the book, and Tanda growth.com In terms of our wealth management practice.

george grombacher 21:04
Excellent. If you enjoyed as much as I did, so Jeff, your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. Go to Jeff Bernier author.com It’s Jeff B E R N i e r author.com. And check out the great resources. Learn more about the financial advisory practice at tandem growth.com. Check out the money and meaning show wherever you listen to your podcasts and get your copy of the money and meaning journey. Wherever you buy your books or Jeff Bernier author.com It’s good, Jeff. Thanks so much, George. And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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