You’re a financial planning veteran who has built a successful practice, and you’re proud of what you’ve achieved. You’ve learned a lot, but you also likely made a mistake or two along the way. What advice would you give to your younger self if you could go back in time and re-enter this profession as a newbie?

“First of all, I would advise a younger self—and I would advise any younger advisor—to learn as much as possible, learn from everyone and never stop learning,” says Michael Nathanson, 52, chairman and CEO of the Colony Group, a Boston-based independent wealth management firm.

His second point of advice: Bone up on taxation issues.

Nathanson, who spent 13 years working as a tax attorney before joining the Colony Group in 2004, doesn’t expect all advisors to become tax gurus. However, “knowledge of taxation, at least the fundamentals, is critical to providing differentiated valuable service in an industry where it’s difficult to provide differentiated services,” he says.

Nathanson advocates that people should discover their own zone of genius. This term from the book The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership refers to something that “you can become a master of, that you have passion for and that you find joy thinking about and talking about,” Nathanson says. “That will make you invaluable.”

He would also tell his younger self to find allies in the industry. “By creating alliances, you’ll end up being a better advisor and a more informed advisor,” he says.

Nathanson remembers speaking years ago with a client about ways to remove assets from the client’s estate. “I was so focused on taxation that I wasn’t asking questions about everything else,” he says. “I assumed others were looking at the rest of the picture.

“Had I known then what I know now, I would’ve been asking those questions directly,” he says, instead of delivering straight tax advice without understanding the client’s finances and personal goals. “I would’ve been much more holistic in my approach,” he says.

Amy MacLeod, 43, a wealth management partner with Manchester Capital Management LLC in Montecito, Calif., would tell her younger self to keep financial education and terminology simpler for clients and to focus on sharing clear, concise information that’s relevant to clients’ goals and interests.

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