Douglass Belt, WestPoint Financial Group
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Douglass Belt, financial advisor, WestPoint Financial Group.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
Our behavior when it comes to money, finances, and the future varies greatly on changes to market conditions and personal circumstances. Learning about my clients’ reactions to various situations and their thought process about money can be both challenging and rewarding. Many have never taken the time to understand what is important about money to them, so having that conversation usually leads to some really good discussions and helps put things into perspective. The most rewarding is having our “possibilities” discussion, where we explore all the possibilities they want to achieve. In addition, it is also seeing the “a-ha!” moment when they realize that financial planning does not have to be complicated or scary. When they have that “lightbulb” moment, that is a fun experience to be a part of.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
Harold Anderson is someone I admire greatly. After failing many times trying to start a grain storage business in Toledo, Ohio, as well as dealing with family tragedy and his own demons, he came to create The Andersons Inc. It is now a multibillion dollar agribusiness company that is publicly traded on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Our two families were very close, and getting to know the Anderson family over the years had a big impact on me. Even though they were an incredibly successful family, they were even more down to earth and humble. “Work is a blessing” was one of their famous sayings around the house, and they truly lived it. The Andersons are one of the great American families who have positively impacted this country.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Being able to take my passion of personal finance and planning to really help people from all walks of life. There are not too many jobs where you can have that kind of personal and immediate impact. It is so much fun!
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
There are two things. First, everything happens for a reason! You may not be able to see or understand it when you’re “in the storm,” but things have a way of working out. The second is it’s OK to fail and, in fact, it is never a failure if you learn from it. I would call that a lesson. As such, I have had many lessons in my life!
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
I am a transplant from Minnesota, so one of the things that drew me here was the beautiful lakes, the variety of landscapes, outdoor recreation opportunities, the world-class university (the fact I have been a HUGE Badger fan from birth didn’t hurt either), and the size of the city. It is big enough to have most of the amenities of a large city but small enough to have a close-knit, small-town feel.
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
I am a HUGE Metallica fan! I have learned most of their songs on guitar over the years. I’m not sure if that is really a talent or more of an obsession. I also have a pretty solid George H. W. Bush impression (thanks to Dana Carvey and SNL).
What are your guilty pleasures?
During the pandemic, I have developed a passion for working on jigsaw puzzles and learning chess. Now I am kind of obsessed with both of them. I also really enjoy bird watching and identifying various types of raptors and birds throughout the southern Wisconsin area.
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