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At 17 years old, I decided to request the prospectus of various investment companies. Once they arrived, I couldn’t understand the majority of what was written, and legally due to my age couldn’t do anything with the information even if I had the money to. The world of investing is something that I knew nothing about, and I wondered just why that was? Eventually, I became licensed to sell insurance and investments, and found myself apart of an industry that wasn’t nearly as glamorous or lucrative as I once thought. But, I certainly loved the work hard /play hard mentality coupled with the underlying mafia undertone driven by the Director and his top henchmen. He had a corny, hug it out, “Danny Tanner” vibe, with the ability to make people immediately fear and trust him. The majority of words he spoke were typically about family or business. I’m sure he’s rubbed off on me.

Although I had prepared myself to be a seductive, busines maverick like Heather Locklear from Melrose Place, surprisingly I had never been told more times by men to find a nice person and get married. In their eyes family meant bills, and bills meant you were forced to make money, and that meant make them money. There was no time for a single, sexy, and care free attitude. Imagine that?

About a decade and a half ago, there wasn’t nearly as much marketing done about financial companies on commercials like it is now. And certainly, these companies wouldn’t randomly pop up on your screen to try and get your  personal information. At times it could seem like no one wanted your money, and you hoped to one day bump into someone that could assist you with it. The profession of Finance was very vague, and not nearly as accessible as today’s beginner licensees dying to build their book of business.

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Like anyone who was a teen in the 90’s, when you wanted to learn about or become something it took a lot of work and research. People truly valued who they were, and so did others. Everyone knew it didn’t happen overnight. Today, people naively assume that all they need to know is given, so there isn’t a reason to dig further. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. An even more laser focus is necessary to weed past the senseless distractions, and seek after the knowledge that can take you to the next level.

In essence, please do not be content with the instruction anyone will easily give you. Do the hard work so you can truly reap the rewards. Even if you end up feeling like a 17 year old girl that can’t do anything with what you have found, there will come a day when you will be able to, and you will be armed and dangerous. In my case, after I had sold enough expensive sunglasses to Financial Advisors I finally had the courage to ask one of them, who is still the best dressed woman I’ve ever met, “How do you become one?” It may not be an industry that many stay in forever, but there are some hugely successful people who spent time in this sector before their curiosity took them elsewhere.

With the recent exposure of the reckless behavior of some politicians, police officers, fraternity’s and members of our own communities, all of us need not assume we know how things work. Many systems and practices are disguised as modern, but underneath are not too far from the way things “used” to be. And, maybe if we had been just a bit more interested in seeing that before, we could have done something about it up to now.

Rachel Bryant Lundy