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As Hurricane Harvey pounded Texas, Jonathan Swanburg, a planner with Tri-Star Advisors, found himself in the unusual position of receiving advice, instead of giving it.

As waters rose and then a tornado threatened his Houston neighborhood, Swanburg evacuated his home and emailed clients to let them know. He also told them he’d offer free financial guidance to those affected by the disaster. The response was not what he’d expected.

“None responded on the business issues at hand,” Swanburg writes in our Selfie column, “Hurricane Harvey twist: Advisor flees storm, clients offer aid.” Instead, “offers of assistance poured in. Clients offered my family their homes, food, clothing. Anything we needed. It was a beautiful thing.”
Swanburg was able to return home after several days to find minimal damage, but countless others weren’t as fortunate. “We are starting to get reports from clients who had catastrophic flood damage,” he emailed me after Harvey passed. “The nature of the disaster has changed but there is still a long road ahead.” He now plans to follow up on his free advice offer.

Allan Boomer, the founder of Momentum Advisors and the subject of the cover story, “The quiet revolution: How advisors are changing their industry for the better,” has also reaped the benefits of helping others. His New York-based firm has grown to nine professionals and $300 million in client assets, in part because of his dedication to mentoring new planners.

“Mentoring has provided a growth engine for my firm in terms of attracting new advisors,” Boomer tells me. “Many firms struggle with attracting and retaining talent. Mentoring is a strategic advantage for my firm.”

Although Boomer didn’t set out to be a mentor, his satisfaction at seeing his mentees succeed has reinforced his resolve. “You must see greatness in people and inspire and guide them to achieve it,” he tells me. The trust he has built with his mentees-turned-colleagues is apparent in this month’s compelling series of cover photographs.

A feeling of trust and connection also struck Swanburg when hurricane waters rushed toward his home and clients reached out with offers to help. “At its very best, financial planning is a uniquely personal business,” he says.

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