A daisy by any other name...

Tina Haapala |

Last week I introduced the African Daisy. Actually, I introduced what a friend of mine told me about her African Daisies. The topic not only became the basis for an article, but I also spent some quality Google time and learned more about this flower.

You see, there is no such thing as the African Daisy. Well, at least there is no single flower by that name. Seems that any flower from Africa that look a bit daisy-ish is called an African Daisy. In fact, I haven’t found one that matches the description of my friend’s flower. But to be fair,  I did gIve up after realizing that there are hundreds of different plants that could be called African Daisy.

What does this have to do with this current column series about what I’ve learned after 20 years in the money business?  It’s all about how people see me and my business.

My search for an African Daisy is like a person looking for someone to help them with their personal finances. Where do you look? I used Google to hunt for the flower, so why not start there?

“Where do I get help with personal finances?” The results were about as wide-spread as the species of flowers that might be called African Daisy:

Certified Public Accountants
Certified (and non-certified) Financial Planners
Chartered Financial Analysts
Debt and Credit Counselors
Insurance Agents
Securities Brokers
Tax Preparers

That’s just the beginning. Even if the list of folks who might help you was as long as this column I’d likely be leaving out a few.

When someone asks me what it is I am, what title my profession holds, there’s no single answer. I can rightfully describe myself as a Certified Financial Planner®, financial advisor, investment advisor, investment manager, and insurance counselor. All describe either what I am or what I do depending on the particular needs of the client.

Like the flower that is called African Daisy can be many different things, I am more than one thing depending who you ask, and when you ask. And that’s just looking at my career.

This is not specific to me, of course. Each of you has skills, knowledge, and experiences that, depending on the circumstances, might define you in a very different way depending on who is doing the defining.

Take my Director of Operations, Michelle. Some of you know her as a personal finance expert from her blog. Others as the arts and crafts maven from a visit to her home or as recipient of a gift. I know her as a compliance expert with an ability to untangle any bureaucratic nightmare. Same person, three different interpretations.

More than likely, when you arrive at my office, you won’t want to speak with Gary, amateur curler. Depending on your goals, you will be looking for Gary, the financial planner or Gary, the investment manager. But then again, you may want to speak with Gary, the African Daisy expert. No matter what, you’ll be in the right place. 

This article was published under the title "Adviser is like African flower" in the Wichita Falls Times Record News on September 7, 2014.