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Do You Have a Financial Role Model?


This is pretty neat: I received an invite for a contest for a VIP pass the World Business Forum. The September event in New York includes talks by Tony Blair, Colin Powell, Madeline Albright, Jack Welch, and Muhammad Yunus, and the contest is specifically for accomplished young professionals. The invite got me thinking about role models; certainly any of these guys would make good ones. But as I pondered those I admire in business and life, I want to ask you the same question I asked myself: Do you have a role model for your finances?

Role models are people we aspire to be like, and sometimes emulate. We should all have them. When we’re kids they may be athletes or rocks stars, as we age they may be business or political leaders, historical figures, or family members.

I have several role models in different areas of my life: my parents are role models: they have shown me how to love unconditionally, believe in myself, work hard, and be optimistic; I admire the Dalai Lama for his teachings of peace, compassion, and mindfulness; and in business I look up to several company presidents and CEOs I have had the fortune of knowing personally.

But what about a financial role model?

I don’t think I have a financial role model yet. Some of my business role models have become wealthy, but I know little about how they achieved their wealth other than what I know about how they ran their businesses. The same holds true for obvious candidates like Warren Buffett. Yes, every investor worships him because of the fortune he has amassed with savvy investing, but is that enough to make him a role model?

In my opinion, a good financial role model would be somebody who employs a pattern of earning, spending, and saving that makes them secure and successful, that you can relate to. In order to emulate the role model, however, you have to at least have a peek into how they manage their money. With the Dalai Lama as an exception, I tend to prefer role models I have met rather than those I haven’t, and that might be especially true for a financial role model.

I guess this post has more questions than answers. I don’t have a list of 10 super-savers that we should all go out and try to be like, but that might be pretty neat, too.

What about you? Do you have a financial role model? Who is he or she, and why do you admire them?

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.