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Success in Their Own Words

Success in Their Own Words

December 27, 2019

Nearly two-thirds of Americans lack confidence in their financial well-being, according to research. They have goals — saving for a home, protecting their family, putting money aside for retirement — but they can’t get, or stay, on track to meet them. Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. While financial success looks different for every person, working with a knowledgeable, trusted professional can move you from concerned to confident.

Most importantly, a financial professional can help guide you on ways to adopt financial behaviors shown to lead to greater satisfaction in life. We recently asked Financial Representatives for the wisdom they’ve gained on how to become more successful.


It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s ideas of what financial success looks like. Retire early. Buy a vacation home. Sail around the world. All worthy goals — but do they speak to your heart? Eliot Sokalsky of Doctors Asset Group (Fort Myers, FL) says to examine what makes you happy.

“When I was younger, I worked in a restaurant in a summer beach community. My section usually had tables of eight to 12 people who were celebrating. Each week one would pick up the check for their friends. I always wanted to do that: provide a good time for my friends without anyone worrying about money. Treating my friends gives me the most joy.”


Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to financial confidence. People who focus on the short-term and find it difficult to defer gratification are prone to be stressed about money. Amy Salo of Wealth Advisory Group LLC (Albany, NY) remembers her grandfather’s advice.

“When you come to a hill, keep your eyes on your feet and put one in front of the other. Before you know it, you will be at the top.” She counsels people to aim for step-by-step improvements in learning how to live within their means and save for important goals. “Progress, not perfection, is the true path to success,” she says.


Research suggests that 20% of workers are in the wrong job.[1] Even if they’re good at it, they aren’t happy. What do you want from work? What defines success for you? In Sokalsky’s case, it was flexibility. “We never have to ask our boss for permission. If there is something we really want, I can put in the extra effort to earn more with no limitations on my income. The freedom and flexibility is the success, not the money.”


Millions of Americans lack basic money management skills and often feel stuck in negative financial situations. However, there are many ways to take control and change your life. From Jim Lake, Head of Sales Life, DI, & Retirement The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America: “The quote I use all the time is, ‘common people say it is what it is, but uncommon people say, it is what I make it.’”  Uncommon could mean living within your means, which is tricky in a credit-card-happy, no-money-down world. To become more financially empowered, start with this online quiz. At the end, it will recommend three ways you can start improving your financial confidence—tailored to your unique profile.


People with the highest degree of financial and emotional confidence are not workaholics. In fact, they make it a priority to balance their personal and professional lives. Instead of “me-first,” they put others first in their financial strategies. “The journey to finding success starts by operating from an unyielding desire to serve others,” says Matt Lipscomb of Ashford Advisors (Atlanta). Success is realized over time, he says, and the following seven principles can help you stay the course:

  • Endure with dogged perseverance
  • Learn well from failures and set-backs
  • Develop experience in niche markets
  • Take smart risks
  • Moderate your emotions
  • Build meaningful relationships
  • Find balance with work, family, faith, and fun

Sokalsky similarly prioritizes balance: “I always said that when I have a family I want to be able to be at every school play, ballet recital, Little League game, school trip. I want to be able to take my family on vacation and take advantage of opportunities for unique experiences. This business allows us the freedom to do all those things.”

Take it from the professionals. Confidence and success go hand in hand and it all stems from having a vision, sticking to it, and finding your balance along the way. And should you need any more inspiration, have a look at our video on financial independence here.


Brought to you by The Guardian Network © 2017. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®, New York, NY

2019-83701 Exp. 07/21