A Passion For People: An Interview with Ben Craft
While there are many characteristics mirrored in financial firms across the country, having a true passion for the people you serve is a unique gift. Ben Craft has been a financial advisor for OneAscent Wealth since January 2018. He knew that he wanted to be in financial advising long before he ever joined the OneAscent Wealth team, but it was no coincidence that his journey led him here.
We interviewed Ben to learn more about the opportunities he has to serve clients and what he loves most about his job!
Do you need guidance in your financial strategy? Schedule a consultation today!
A Privileged Seat at the Table
Ben graduated from Auburn University in 2016 with a degree in business with a concentration in finance. Ben was fortunate to have several internships with Financial First during his time at Auburn, which further solidified that this was the direction he wanted to go.
“I have always loved working with people. I think I’m a coach by nature, and in my role as a financial advisor I get to do that with families and business owners.”
Both in his internships and in his time with OneAscent, something Ben found to be true about financial advising, no matter the firm, is a relational connection that comes through these experiences.
“We truly get a privileged seat at the table with these families. We talk about things that are significant, that have both an earthly and spiritual impact. It truly is an honor to get the opportunity to speak into the hearts of the clients, whether it’s about how to take care of their family or run their business.”
Walking Through Open Doors
When he graduated, he took his passion for managing finances and building relationships and started his own business. Ben comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and this was something he felt confident in and called to. But only for a short while.
Ben had known Harry Pearson and the business he had built with OneAscent. He heard their mission, passion for people, and the unique offering of values-based investing. He said to himself, “When the time is right, I want to be a part of this.”
A couple of years later, that time came. Ben felt the calling of the Lord to move beyond his business and into something new. Near the end of 2017, he met with Harry for breakfast one morning. Ben was part of the OneAscent team only three weeks later.
Helping Businesses and Their Employees
Ben primarily handles corporate retirement plans. While he does work with business owners, most of the time he is working with the day-to-day employees who are using their 401k or 403b plan to save for retirement. His goal is to help them take advantage of what their companies are offering. Many of these retirement plan participants wouldn’t typically have access to a financial advisor, so this provides a valuable opportunity for Ben to take what they’ve worked for their entire lives, and make it work for them.
“I work with experienced investors who are familiar with a 401k, have an emergency fund, and have built up a nest egg over the years. I also work with younger individuals who are just getting started. Whether I am sharing about values-based investing, risk tolerance, and preservation, or helping them create a foundation for their financial plan, it all comes down to where we are, where we want to go, and how we measure and track that progress.”
By working with businesses on their corporate retirement plans, Ben is there to guide both the employer and the employees. He starts by asking the organization’s leadership what they hope to get out of providing this benefit. While there are financial advantages, such as tax benefits, many companies want to reward and retain their top talent. It makes employees feel seen, recognized, and that their leadership is investing in them.
“We consult and come alongside leadership, propping them up and advocating for them, while helping their employees take full advantage of what they are offering. It builds trust.”
Asking the Right Questions
“As the saying goes, many people don’t know what they don’t know — and that’s okay.” One thing that Ben hopes for in all his client meetings is that he can guide clients through questions they would have never thought to ask themselves about their finances and values.
“We add value by making them aware of biblical financial principles. It’s amazing to see them get excited about the practices and principles that we talk about every day.”
Real Stories, Real Goals
For Ben, the best part about his job is getting to develop deep relationships with the people around him, both coworkers and clients.
“These are real people, with real stories and real goals. And we want to know their stories so we can help them reach their goals in the best way possible. The financial part of things, that’s just the foundation that allows us the freedom to have personal relationships with clients. It’s the best part of my job.”
In building these relationships, Ben says, “Begin with the end in mind.” When talking to a client, what is their “end?” Is it retirement? Is it passing on a legacy? By identifying what’s at the core of their financial desires, Ben can speak into these things, both practically and eternally.
Not Just About the Numbers
One of Ben’s most treasured memories in his years at OneAscent actually had little to do with creating financial strategies. He recalls, “I got a call from a retirement plan participant late one Friday afternoon. He sounded flustered and told me he was struggling over some situations. I took a step further into the conversation to discover some heavy things he was working through. With his permission, I prayed for him and what he was going through. I got a call from him again three weeks later as I was on the road to visit my grandfather, who was very sick. I shared this with him during our conversation and he asked if he could pray for me and my family. At that moment, I felt very blessed.”
Working With OneAscent Wealth
Ben is just one of our many advisors who are passionate about what they do and desire to truly serve each client that walks in the door.
If you’re looking for a financial advisor to assist you in retirement planning, investing, or getting started in your financial strategy, contact us today!