Up Close: Tom Steelman

Q. What keeps you interested in financial planning?

A. I love the challenge of helping different people overcome different challenges. Helping individuals and families is never the same day in and day out… everybody is different. I like that challenge. I also love that from one day to the next situations and strategies change. It’s a career that requires a lot of study and reading to stay abreast of things – that would be challenging if you didn’t love the work!

I love my work and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. It’s particularly rewarding when clients mention that we have made a big difference in their lives.

Q. What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?

A. Big family breakfast. Playing with kids. Going to kids activities. Honey-do lists. Catch up. Hopefully watch a game on TV. It’s not glamorous, but it’s a great life.

Q. How do you try to instill your “money values” in your children?

A. I have taught basic finance classes to elementary school kids and feel SUPER strongly about teaching kids about money. I just try to help my kids understand how money is a tool and can be used for great good. A strong work ethic goes hand-in-hand with managing money well. I try to create opportunities for my children to earn money, but I never force it. We use the saying “earning money is a privilege.”

I also try to reinforce some of the basics to my kids: to “sleep on it” before making big decisions with their money (like 20 bucks) and helping them to decipher between a true “need” and just something they “want.”

Q. What is your go-to advice for people who want to better manage their money?

A. The common denominator of those who succeed with money is discipline. Even if you have enough money to allow you to be undisciplined with your relationship with money – it simply doesn’t feel good to those people. They know intrinsically that something is not right. On the other end, we see very frequently the life satisfaction that comes to those that have mastered the discipline associated with money and saving/spending. It really provides a springboard for every other important aspect of your life. Money truly can be a huge inhibitor or a great enabler — but it takes discipline to get there.

Q. What’s your favorite part of being a member of the Helmstar team?

A. I love the Helmstar team. I feel like we all enjoy the experience we provide to our treasured clients and recognize the collective impact we make in their lives. Ultimately this is about enabling them to use their time and talents in ways that help them to be most fulfilled. My favorite part? Just the privilege to be a part of the team – it’s a joy to come to work.

Postscript...

...I’m really just a very normal guy with what probably seems like a very boring life to some. Of course, I don’t think so. I find an immense amount of life fulfillment through my family and my career. The annual vacations we plan on and take are the icing on the cake for our family and our kids. – life is truly wonderful!

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