Money Matters (April 2016)
By Chuck Dudley
A Tribute to My Mentor
None of us will ever accomplish much in this world without help. That help may come in the form of advice, experience, money, recognition or some other type of assistance.
For many, it is a person that will take an interest in you, and help fill in the rough spots to get you on the right personal and career path. A mentor, if you will. I’ve encouraged my sons, and all young people to search for that person (other than me, of course) who will take a personal interest in them. My parents have been the perfect role models, but even they would admit it takes relationships with many people to realize your full potential. Mostly it’s up to us to recognize that fact, but we must be wise enough to know we can’t do it alone.
My mentor, Commander Owen Gene Barlow, passed quietly from this world in late March. He hired me to work for Union National Bank in Little Rock. At the time I was a raw, somewhat undisciplined young man, searching for an identity in the financial services world. And what a world it was back then, with 20% Fed Funds rates, 21% 90 day Treasury Bill rates and 14.75% 30 year Treasury Bonds. Pretty foreign to the investors of today!
While it wasn’t one particular thing, the fact that he was willing to take this young man with raw potential and work with him to become a knowledgeable and competent banker and financial services professional was quite remarkable.
Mr. B, as I called him (never, ever did I call him Gene…….) was a decorated pilot from the Korean War, and also served in the Naval reserves. He had a degree in Chemical engineering, a law degree, and a banking degree. He taught me about interest rates, bond trading, portfolio management, setting the bank’s liability rates and managing the bank’s position every day.
He helped guide me through the process to form the first bank broker/dealer as we pioneered ‘discount brokerage’ in the State of Arkansas. We explored, way before our time, hedging the bank’s portfolio with financial futures, and I was able to make speeches on this in Chicago and Wall Street. The point is: he was glad for me to learn, do the work and get recognized for it. He was a man without ego in that regard.
We learned about Fibonacci numbers and their influence on markets. We studied biorhythms to try to predict how the Arkansas basketball team would play that night!! He studied sunspots and storms on the sun to predict climate change way before the current political correctness came into being. And I learned to write a newsletter, which I call Money Matters
in honor of his newsletter he wrote to bankers years ago.
WHAT LESSONS CAN WE LEARN FROM MENTORS?
- • You can learn how to conduct business.
- • You can learn how to make important financial decisions.
- • You can learn how to make mistakes and recover from them.
- • You can learn forgiveness.
- • You can learn how to treat people the right way.
- • You can learn how to get along with co-workers.
- • You can learn it’s okay to have fun in business.
- • Definitely, you can learn to make decisions. And learn to be right when there is no margin for error.
- • Mostly, you learn how to grow up, and realize you really work to serve others. If you learn nothing else, this is the most important.
SO, HAVE NO REGRETS
This is important, no matter the topic.
If it is planning for your future, planning for your retirement, planning for your family, planning your legacy………..get started today. Time, waits for no one. Time is both on our side (if we start soon enough) and against us (if we wait too late).
The only regret I had with Mr. B, was I never was able to play golf with him. I picked it up later in life, and had moved on in my career when that happened. But he did get to see me play at North Hills Country Club. Followed us around a few holes, said some nice things and offered the usual suggestions! So, I guess we got that covered too.
Have a mentor, and be a mentor. Both will prove satisfying and will enhance all aspects of your life.
Thanks to you Commander. Well done.
If you really want to make sure you have right ideas for moving forward in a positive manner, we will listen. We’ve been able to help families and businesses learn to use money wisely, and we’d like to help you too. We would be honored to visit with you about how to help you and your business. My number is 501-318-0010, or you can send me an email at email@example.com.
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