Okay, I may be reaching here but the subject of tattoos and their financial ramifications has come up so frequently lately that I took it as a sign to blog about them. Let me say that if I wasn’t a financial planner, I’d probably be covered in them. (I have one; it’s small and easily hidden.) I love any means of self expression but I limit my own because, if you noticed, I said “If I wasn’t a financial planner”. I don’t know how prospects would feel about a tattooed financial planner.
In the 21st century, tattoos are almost considered normal because so many people have them now, they’re not even considered all that rebellious except to the older more conservative folks. Have you ever read the Dr. Seuss book “The Sneetches”? It’s about how some Sneetches have stars on their bellies and others do not. The ones who have stars get all snobby about it, so a man (?) comes along to put stars on the non-starred Sneetches’ bellies. The originally-starred Sneetches get all mad and have the man remove their stars so they could still discriminate against the others. It goes on and on until no one remembers who had what and they all live happily ever after (the man making and removing the stars got pretty rich profiting from their prejudice and desire to fit in).
“So, what,” you may be wondering, “does any of this have to do with finances?” Well I’m getting to it!
I know lots of people with lots of ink and the majority are lovely, honest, authentic people. They are not, however, in traditional work. (I do know two people -an investment adviser and a trust officer- who are inked up nicely but whose tattoos are also easily hidden under a business suit.) The tattooed typically are in creative fields where self expression is welcome, in law enforcement, or (sorry, you knew it was coming) are sailors. I was talking to a friend of mine (Robin Wilson) who specializes in social media marketing. We were discussing the difference in marketing/branding styles and that some companies may prefer the button-downed traditional approach to marketing but that social media’s spark is that it is not traditional; it is not button-downed and that’s exactly what makes it work.
When I shared with Robin that I’d love to have more tattoos but fear what it may convey to prospective clients, she made a good point: “If you had lots of tattoos, you’d have a completely different clientele.” And, to her point, maybe a clientele that wouldn’t feel comfortable around a stuffy traditional financial planner (not that I’m that, either). I worked in a bank’s trust department some years ago. We had a young woman come in who won the lottery. She was covered in tattoos. My manager called her “Spider-woman” because she had a tattoo of a spider on her neck. I don’t think we got the account … I wonder if she’s still looking for help.
People who have tattoos relish in their rebelliousness. They’re rule breakers on a certain level and that’s thrilling. There have been many instances when we, as a society, celebrate rule-breakers because they show us how to get out of our boxes. They’re courageous. They’re risk takers. Uh-oh, that’s why some people are afraid to hire them. People looking to hire an employee generally are NOT looking for a rule-breaker, they’re looking for a rule-follower. The tattooed applicant communicates a part of themselves that may not walk the straight and narrow and for some managers, the risk is too great. Unfortunately, it can be these same risk takers who change the world because who else is brave enough?
Those who enjoy self-expression via tattoos and piercings may just have an inner entrepreneur that needs to come out; not only for them to live their destiny (sorry if that sounds a little cheesy) but also to avoid getting discouraged because others won’t take a chance on them.
So, if you’re an inked up person who is financially confused and wishes someone would “get” you, give me a call.