MONTE HOLM'S BIOGRAPHY
WFG BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEMBER MONTE HOLM:
BUILDING THE AMERICAN DREAM ONE FAMILY AT A TIME
World Financial Group's Monte Holm is no stranger to financial setbacks.
Little money, almost losing his home and the struggle to find work in the construction industry marked the early years for Holm and his wife, Lisa. But when he discovered the financial services industry while he was in college, he began helping families build financial futures, and that's when his own family's fortunes turned around.
Little more than 25 years later, Holm finds himself as one of the top leaders of World Financial Group, a financial services marketing organization with independent associates throughout the United States and Canada, with an eye on other international markets. He is more than willing to share his experience and strategies for building a successful business, as well as his passion for helping families become financially independent and realize their dreams.
A HUMBLE BEGINNING
Holm spent many of his early years on a modest farm in Idaho, with the same dreams as any young boy. But at age 14, his world was turned upside down by the sudden death of his father and the subsequent loss of the family farm. Like many of his generation, Holm's father had not invested, possessed limited savings and had little extra money for life insurance.
Lack of financial foresight and proper protection left Holm's family with few options, and it had a profound impact on him throughout his life and career - making Holm determined to provide his family with the proper protection and resources to survive whatever Life brought their way.
DESTINY CALLS - TWICE
After high school, Holm enrolled at Dixie State College in Utah. He was working in the construction business and taking classes when destiny intervened - twice. It was while he attended Dixie State that he met his future wife, Lisa, and also found his future in the financial services industry.
An acquaintance first introduced him to the opportunity of a career in the financial services industry when he was completing a two-year mission for his church in North Carolina and was unsure of which direction his career would go next. But when he was re-introduced to the industry while at Dixie State, he knew almost immediately that this was the vehicle that would allow him to realize his desire to help others prepare for their financial futures.
Holm immersed himself in learning the business. When the opportunity arose to attend a financial services industry convention, he knew the value of attending such an event but lacked the funds to do so. Then he got an idea. As a newlywed, he asked Lisa if he could sell her car - a 1968 Volkswagen that her father bought for her in high school - to pay for expenses associated with the trip. She agreed, and Holm put the money to good use at his first meeting, by soaking up everything he could about the financial services industry and building his own business.
"That [convention] absolutely changed my life," Holm said. "That's an example of one of the many, many sacrifices we made in those days to get our business launched."
When he returned from the convention, the first thing he did was sit down with Lisa and set their personal financial goals. Then they made their plans for building their new financial services business.
The first few years in business were difficult for the newlyweds. Money was tight, and they had a growing family to feed.
There were many defining moments of Holm's life - his father's death, meeting his wife, the birth of each of his children - but the defining moment that solidified his career happened when he came home one afternoon after a really, really bad day. One of Monte's teammates had quit, one of his clients had canceled his plan, and his starter home had fallen into foreclosure.
"I would say I was lower than a snake's belly," he said. "I could have crawled under the door."
Everyone has a breaking point, and that day, Holm reached his. He sat alone in a room and asked himself if he was in the right spot. And after much soul-searching and even a prayer, the answer came to him.
"I had the most incredible feeling of peace sweep over me that confirmed for me that even though there are struggles, it was going to be okay," he said. "I left that room and from that day to this day, there has never been a flicker of a second where I questioned my decision. It was final, and I have never looked back."
Holm remained committed to building his business, and it wasn't long before he saw the rewards of his hard work. In his first year in the financial services industry, he made a little more than $7,000. But in his second year, he made $100,000 - and the business only grew from there. In the early 1980s, he went from making no money to being a millionaire and then a few years later was a multimillionaire.
Beginning in the late 1970s, and continuing for more than two decades, Holm built a successful financial services business and managed a team of sales associates located throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2003, World Financial Group recognized Holm's leadership and experience by naming him chairman of the Financial Division, one of the company's two newly formed sales divisions. Under his guidance, the Financial Division realized record-breaking growth in all measurable areas. In early 2005, he was asked to assume the position of president of World Financial Group, Inc.
Recently Holm has decided to take on a new challenge and transition from the day-to-day management of the company to a field leadership role.
Regardless of the personal and professional success he has achieved, Holm has never lost sight of his desire to help families achieve financial independence whether as clients or through building their own financial services business. A strong advocate for the mentoring business model, Holm is always willing to share the success principles that have guided his business life.
The Principles of a Successful Life
Holm says that it takes a conscious decision to win - to truly succeed in business. To achieve his success, Holm placed an emphasis on the initial setting and daily reading of his goals and he paid heavy attention to recruiting.
"I became passionate about trying to make sure I was a leader in the way I walk, the way I talk, the way I act, the way I dress, the way I project myself," Holm said. "I wanted to make the changes and mold myself into the leader that others would want to follow."
Holm believes there are four keys to strong, successful leadership: perfect clarity for what you want and expect out of life; a written logical game plan with deadlines as to how you plan to achieve your goal; every person in your stewardship must know the goal and their role in it; and have an accountability system to measure where you are at any moment in relation to the goal.
Many years ago, Holm moved beyond the money in the business and focused instead on the love of the people, the teamwork, and a belief that he - with WFG - could help change the world, one entrepreneur and one family at a time. He believes in this organization, that WFG creates the best opportunity in the world for its associates and dramatically increases the odds that its clients can boost their financial security - and live better lives.
"There are many great causes in this world - educational causes, charitable causes - but from a business standpoint, there's no greater cause than helping families achieve financial independence, " Holm said. "I just love [WFG's] mission statement - to create financially independent families positioned to realize their dreams. That's WFG's goal, and it's my goal, too."