Nathan Byers, BMO Wealth Management
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Nathan Byers, senior wealth planning consultant, BMO Wealth Management, U.S., Madison Office.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
Avoiding the use of industry jargon with clients is my biggest challenge. All professionals probably run into this a little bit, but the financial services industry seems to have more jargon than most. Just because jargon makes it easy for me to summarize, doesn’t mean I’m using the right words for somebody else to take action on my advice.
It requires me to slow down, ask questions, and recognize what a client is hearing. When I’m successful at this, it’s very rewarding to see somebody move from a level 1 to level 2 understanding. Once we move to this second level, we have better conversations, which create better outcomes.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
My greatest admiration is for anybody who does work they love and creates flexibility to focus on their physical and mental health. I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs and professionals who might have one or the other, but I rarely see this successfully balanced.
I’ve met miserable multimillionaires who have sacrificed their health or regret missing out on certain things. Finding your point of “enough” is important to achieving this balance. I’ve been fortunate to have a mentor who has achieved balance. We also live in a time we can follow individuals online who have learned from their successes and failures.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
It was after a few months of working with my third financial planning client. They expressed so much gratitude for the work we did together that I truly knew I was in the career that was meant for me.
My primary job is to work through the financial impacts of life’s many transitions for my clients. I run the numbers, identify the risks, and optimize their financial facts. This is fun for nerds like me. However, the high points happen outside of the spreadsheet. It’s through those deep personal connections that make an impact on people’s lives.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
Relax. Focus on the process and enjoy the journey. At that age I always wanted to be at the level I hadn’t reached. My head was always in the clouds and missing what was right in front me. This also made me victim to paralysis by analysis. Ultimately, I would advise myself to chill out and just try new things.
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
There is always something to do! My family and I love staying active, and Dane County is full of opportunities to get outside. Mix in the Badgers, great restaurants, and live entertainment, and it’s hard not to love living and working here. It’s also great to see the growth of the area. It is truly a great time to be part of Dane County.
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
When people learn that I cut my own hair, they’re usually surprised and say I do a good job. Seeking voluntary hardships like cutting my own hair, walking/biking to the grocery store, taking the stairs, etc. might be my secret talent/ability that is uncommon in my circle.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Finance Twitter is my guiltiest pleasure. As an “infomaniac,” it feeds my never-ending need to learn something new. It’s the best resource for finding interesting blog posts, audiobooks, and podcasts. Audiobooks and podcasts are a close second place. Any chance I get to plug in and listen to a financial or psychology topic, I give in to the urge. I also have no problem eating an entire bag of sweet potato chips in one sitting.
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