Why I Do What I Do

My parents were both 48 when my Dad passed away. Once a successful business owner, a brain tumor had ravaged him both physically and financially. The comfort and security my brothers and I grew up with was long gone; either sold, foreclosed on, or repossessed . My mom, who stayed at home to raise three boys, was thrust back into the working world after a twenty year layoff. For my family it was a period of time that was just really rough.

A few years later I graduated from college, worked a bit in corporate finance, and ultimately entered into financial planning. Along with being a great career opportunity and satisfying my entrepreneurial spirit, I was driven by something more personal. I wanted to make sure that, no matter what the circumstances, other families wouldn’t have to endure what we went through.

As my practice grew, I noticed I was beginning to build a niche of divorced and widowed women. I’m sure there were many reasons, but based on feedback this is what I found:

1. I’m pretty good at just shutting up and letting people tell their story.

2. I hate overwhelming people with numbers, ultimately it never helps anyone make a decision.

3. I always thought that could be my mom on the other side of the table, so I made sure ed to come from a place of empathy and caring.

(*OK there may have been a 4th. I mean if a little of the ole Scott Powers Charm™ happened to slip out, then who was I to stop it. ;) )

There was one instance when I met with a woman who had been recently widowed. She has just met with another advisor who had proceeded to overwhelm her with numbers and percentages. I could tell that I had a very small window to make my case, and of all things I suddenly found myself telling the story of how I taught my Mom to pump gas.

As a precursor, my Dad did everything for my Mom. He felt that was his duty, including doing the driving and taking care of the car. We also grew up in a small town in Maine that at the time only had full service stations, so my mom never had to pump gas for herself. (Since we lived on a peninsula we also had to drive 45 minutes to do just about anything, and my house was so remote that we couldn’t get cable TV until after I left home…….I was supposed to be part of the MTV generation dammit!! Saying I was sheltered might be a bit of an understatement.)

So my story was that my Dad was getting treatments at Duke Medical Center in NC when he was sick, and after a long day at the hospital my mom and I ran out to grab some dinner. When we stopped to get gas she asked me to show her how to pump it herself. It seemed like such a simple task that it never dawned on me that she didn’t know how (she would either find a full service station or let the car run on
fumes until one of her sons would fill it). She also never wanted to ask anyone for help because she was always afraid of people making her feel stupid for all the things she didn’t know how to do. She wasn’t stupid at all…she just didn’t know what she didn’t know. When we were done with our gas pumping lesson she thanked me for being so understanding. It’s one of those small moments that meant so much and really stuck with me. It was my Mom, she didn’t have to thank me for anything.

So I told this story to the lady sitting in front of me who had just lost the one person who was supposed to take care of her. My promise to her was that “There are going to be a lot of things you don’t know about your money. It’s my job to teach you, and you will never be made to feel less for what you don’t know.” Of course she became one of my favorite clients and I got the privilege of watching her put her kids through school and eventually fall in love again.

And that is why I do what I do.

Oh, and if you are wondering about the other “about me” kind of stuff, here ya go…

Being average is the bane of my existence. I hate ordinary and the things “you’re supposed to do” as an adult. Some of those things are necessary, most are not.

It took me a long time to get there, but I now just follow my own rules. For the most part that has worked out as life always does. I spent over a decade as the owner of my own financial planning practice, which I ended up selling to pursue my acting career in LA.

After the market crash in ’08 and spring of ’09 I realized my heart was not in managing money anymore. I am fortunate to have a wife who not only supports my acting career, but has become a part of it (we have been cast twice together; in a Visa commercial and in the movie Ghost of Girlfriends Past). Together we decided to sell my practice, leave our home in New England, and move our asses to LA….. so here we are.

For the most part I didn’t miss managing money, but I did miss the people and missed the opportunity to help those people, and I missed being an entrepreneur. Thus the reason for me starting this new venture. Hopefully you’ll get to know me better and the things I write about can help educate, entertain, or be printed and used to line the bottom of birdcages.

A few little nuggets about me:

  • Owner of Powers Financial Group for eleven years.
  • Has appeared in over twelve commercials (including Comcast, Pepsi, Visa), three major motion pictures, and numerous print campaigns (Staples, Bose, Canadian Club, etc).
  • Graduate of Tony Robbins Mastery University and Leadership Academy
  • Started a Special Olympic Track & Field program with a few of my best friends that ended up serving over 75 athletes a year. We raised money for our squad every year by jumping into the frigid Atlantic in Hamtpon Beach, NH on Super Bowl Sunday…. an event I have happily retired from.
  • Played NCAA baseball, was the Maine State Monopoly Champion, ran a marathon, broken boards with my barehands, and walked on fire, and all after spending a good part of my childhood as one of the “fat kids”.

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