One of the topics routinely skipped in training and developing financial advisors is explaining how important it is for you as a business owner to get out and vote. As a licensed professional, you should know that getting the word out about the importance of being part of the political process is one of the most important initiatives you can undertake with your clients each year.
This two-pronged approach is a critical NAIFA initiative because we want financial advisors to be aware of the issues and get out to vote as well as to advocate to their clients about why they should exercise their own right to vote.
Each day, NAIFA works to be a strong advocacy partner to financial advisors like you who work with Main Street Americans to make understanding legislation easy at the state, interstate and federal levels. To help drive awareness, we routinely partner with political pundits who can provide insightful breakdowns of the process and aid advisors in preparing for anticipated outcomes.
And while political pundits and professional lobbyists play a key role in advocacy, that also puts a layer of separation between the voter — in this case, you — and the outcome. Financial advisors often believe they don’t have a voice or a role to play because the work is being performed by others.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Agents and advisors have incredible power, and every elected leader will listen to you because of what you do and who you serve — but only if you show up. We sat down with Nathan Gonzales, a renowned nonpartisan election analyst on congressional, gubernatorial and presidential elections, to talk about the importance of professionals being involved in politics as part of their duty as an entrepreneur and business owner. If you’re not familiar with Nathan Gonzales, you can review his resume, which includes appearances on PBS, ABC News, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News, MSNBC and NBC’s “Meet the Press,” to name a few.
Suzanne Carawan: What should financial advisors know about the power of their vote?
Nathan Gonzales: Well, of course, advisors aren’t a monolithic vote. Where an advisor lives — in a city or rural area — whether they have a college degree and their race greatly impact which candidate and party they’re likely to support. Having said that, the most critical factor is that advisors take action and actually participate in the political process.
SC: What do you most want financial advisors to know about why their voice is especially important when it comes to building relationships with elected leaders?
NG: Business professionals are uniquely qualified to provide feedback from the viewpoint of a specific population, and not just one opinion, because you have a clientele. That clientele serves as a microcosm of how the community will react to proposed legislation or regulation. Elected leaders pay particular attention to financial advisors because they have a direct bead on how the proposed legislation would economically impact the friends and neighbors the elected leader represents.
SC: What do you see changing when it comes to who is running for office?
NG: Women voters consistently make up a majority of the electorate, so they really are the kingmakers in our elections. Both parties are committed to recruiting women to run for office because they believe voters are willing to consider, and even want, someone besides the traditional incumbent.
It’s particularly important for women who are financial advisors to understand the amplified power of their voice and how open the system now is for political engagement. However, women often have to be recruited to run for office because, unlike many men, women don’t assume voters want them to run or that it’s automatically their turn. Typically, women need to be asked more than once to run, but we need to continue to encourage more people to get involved in the process.