When I began my financial planning career 14 years ago, my Orthodox Jewish faith was obvious to most people because I always kept my hair covered with a "snood," which is like a cloth scarf. I explain specific Jewish practices when people ask me about them or it seems appropriate to the discussion, but otherwise keep my conversation to values that are universally shared. Eighty percent of my clients are neither Jewish nor strongly religious, but I believe many have been drawn to me because they feel I stand for something.

The recession has awakened many people to value saving and to stop spending on things that they can't afford. Now is a great opportunity for all financial advisors to step up and begin real conversations about why responsible financial behavior is good for the family, society in general-and for the soul.

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