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Building generational wealth means starting now, even if your finances are “embarrassing”

People who want to be financially secure have to play the long game with

their money, which involves “discipline, time, and behavior changes.”

That’s according to Brian Mills, a financial advisor with Northwestern

Mutual based in Mendota Heights. A sponsor of Black Entrepreneurs Day

at the Capitol, Mills specializes in working with people of color and Black

business owners to help them build generational wealth.

But too many people are paralyzed by past money mistakes or ongoing

financial troubles. That stands in the way of creating a plan now to build

financial security for the future.

“There’s so much embarrassment out there—-people think they shouldn’t

be in so much debt, that they should know more than they do, that they

should have saved more,” said Mills. “The irony is, most people I talk to

think they are in a worse place that everyone else when usually they are in

the same place.”

Mills said that many people think that they cannot begin working with a

financial adviser while they are carrying debt or are not high income

earners. He encourages consumers not to wait until they are on more

stable economic footing to begin making a plan.

“They should start when they need the most help,” he said. “The most

powerful force out there is inertia; people keep doing what they’re doing.

Even if they have a compelling reason to change, they might not know

where to go.”

Mills explained that financial advisors like him help their clients build new

habits. He guides clients to pay off high interest debt, spend less than they

earn, and begin saving what’s left.

He then offers a detailed list of recommendations to help them achieve

their financial goals, like buying a home, saving for college and planning for

retirement. encourages them to diversify their portfolio and put away money

that they won’t touch for a long time.

“With an advisor they can set up a road map, a path, system. They need a

system because if they don’t have one they will just do what they’ve always

done. An adviser can help their money systematically work for them,” he


Mills said that he encourages people who work with him to diversify their

portfolios and put away money that they won’t touch for a long time to give

it time to grow. While the stock market is surging right now, Mills thinks that

“getting wealthy should be kind of boring” and discourages knee-jerk

responses to economic cycles.

“It takes a plan so that no matter what crazy thing happens in life—and it

will happen—it won’t throw you off the path. In my own life, I had to figure it

out on my own. I want to build an ongoing partnership to help them build

wealth,” he said. “I want to be the advisor that I never had and help them.”

To reach Brian Mills, you can connect through his LinkedIn profile at


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