What do the JMU Duke Dog and Financial Advisors Have in Common?

David Larson |

If you live in Harrisonburg, there’s a good chance you know and love the Duke Dog. His high-fives are almost as legendary as his ever-present grin, and he’s also there to hug it out with you when times get tough. He has a way of bringing the best out of the entire community, from the players out on the field to the fans in the stands. 

In my opinion, the Duke Dog is one of the best mascots in Virginia. Sure, many of us are alumni, professors, and students with connections to our own favorite university.  I’m fully aware of my bias in my preference of a Harrisonburg canine over a Charlottesville swash-buckler or a Blacksburg turkey. But regardless, I think that many Virginians would agree there’s something truly unique about the Duke Dog.

So why exactly do we love the Duke Dog so much? To find out, I went directly to some of his biggest fans: good friends of mine with three young kids who have been to more JMU football games in their short lives than I have in 40 years. I imagine these dedicated fans all had purple and gold pacifiers when they were babies, and they will always hold the door for you when entering a building. So I asked them, “what makes the Duke Dog so great?” When I heard the answers, I found some striking similarities between the beloved mascot and those of great financial advisors. Here’s five things that the Duke Dog and great financial advisors have in common:

The Duke Dog is Strong: When the game is on the line in the fourth quarter, the players and fans need confidence more than anything. The Duke Dog stands strong to support the team as they march on to victory. In the same way, a great financial advisor needs to give you the confidence that your plan is on track and set for success. He or she needs to be strong enough to deliver tough news about your plan, even when you don’t want to hear it. They need to be as honest and transparent as possible to prevent you from making mistakes that will prolong your retirement into overtime.

The Duke Dog is Nice: Let’s face it, some sports fans can be pretty rude. Have you ever been an opposing fan at a Philadelphia Eagles game, or wearing a Red Sox jersey to Yankee Stadium? Despite the competition, the Duke Dog not only loves all JMU fans unconditionally, but also always respects the other team. Similarly, great professional advisors love their clients and treat all of them well, regardless of portfolio size. More importantly, they honor their privacy – you won’t hear them gossiping or dropping client names at parties. They’re also humble, recognize their own limitations, and don’t bad-mouth their competitors.

The Duke Dog is Energetic: I don’t think anyone can argue with this one. Few mascots can rally the crowd like the Duke Dog. His energy is contagious. Likewise, great advisors spur their clients to take action. They lay out exactly what needs to be done and are more than happy to show them how it can be done. Whether saving for college, preparing for your retirement, or getting ready to sell your business, great advisors give you the energy and encouragement you need to work toward your financial goals and reach those important milestones.

The Duke Dog is Locally Recognizable: I think it’s safe to say that no one in Harrisonburg is as recognizable as the Duke Dog. Why is the Duke Dog so famous? One main reason is that he’s shown commitment to the community for such a long time. Similarly, your advisor should be an active and engaged citizen, serving on boards and volunteering for organizations. Advisors typically have flexible schedules and should take advantage of this freedom to make connections to serve the community in impactful ways.

The Duke Dog is Fun: Although the Duke Dog wants to win, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He realizes that you ultimately cannot win if you don’t enjoy the game. In the same way, great advisors help you see the big picture. Beyond all of the charts and graphs are more meaningful moments like family vacations, college educations, and other life experiences that you don’t want to miss. Simply put, great advisors help filter out the noise so that you can stay focused on what’s really important.

We should all strive to be a little more like the Duke Dog, but especially your financial advisor. You should always look forward to seeing your advisor, and he or she should make you excited about your financial future. You and your advisor not only celebrate the victories, but also reflect on the setbacks. If nothing else, there’s one thing we know for sure: both the Duke Dog and great financial advisors have a way of instilling the team spirit that’s needed to accomplish our goals.


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