If you were lucky, you had a mentor early in your career. A role model may have been someone to look up to, but a mentor invested his or her time and knowledge in your development.

A mentor is someone who has traveled the path before you and offers guidance on similar types of situations they may have encountered. The value of having someone guide you through crucial parts of your career is immeasurable, but it’s not just the big decisions where their help is important. One of the biggest benefits of having an engaged mentor is in the little stuff, the everyday details that can make or break a person’s career.

Establishing good work habits and a system of best practices is something you might properly develop over time, but you can get there a lot faster with the help of a mentor. Having a family member as a mentor can be wonderful, but having a person who is independent of the family dynamic may actually be more effective. What you want in a good mentor is knowledge, experience and above all else, the belief that they are truly looking out for your best interest. The relationship between mentor and mentee has to be built on a foundation of trust or it will fail.

There are lots of similarities in the relationships I have with my clients when it comes to retirement planning. Many people who enter retirement didn’t have the benefit of having someone guide them through the planning process. It can be a daunting experience and a time when you feel very much alone in the decision making process. It doesn’t have to feel that way, especially if you find the right, qualified financial professional to work with.

You should be confident that your financial advisor is looking out for your best interest, and has the experience and knowledge to help you properly prepare for retirement. Just as in selecting the right mentor for your career, the relationship with your financial advisor is very important, so choose wisely. We believe it all starts by establishing a strong relationship, and it’s why we offer complimentary, no obligation meetings before we begin working with someone.

The meeting takes money out of the equation and allows us to figure out if we’re a good match in the relationship department first. We’ll discuss a lot of personal issues like family and finances, so being comfortable is very important. Once we understand your financial situation, we can discuss your retirement goals and start working on a strategy to help you achieve them. The process of guiding people through a very important time in their life brings me great satisfaction.

Remember, mentoring can be a very rewarding way to pass on your knowledge. So, put all of your experience to good work and make a difference in someone’s life.