Our Perspective

Why is it Difficult to Trust?

by: Carl Santos-Ocampo
published on: 08/10/2016

On the surface, the definition of the word “trust” is pretty straightforward: believing in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of. Yet once I peel the layers and question the implications of “trust” in our daily lives and well-being, the word all of a sudden carries much more gravity. We all would like to think that we can build trust with people, but on the flipside, are we quick to reciprocate and trust them? Here are a couple reasons that may hold us back.

Our Past – those who have been hurt in the past often find comfort in maintaining a shell of protection by withholding trust believing that trusting is too risky and nothing good will come of it.

Unrealistic Expectations – people normally do not talk about expectations of trust until it has been broken.

Low Ability to Trust – several factors may affect our ability to trust including our personality, childhood role models, experiences, beliefs and values. A combination of these factors shape the way we extend our trust to others.

In this article there are two areas of trust that I would like to share and discuss: trust as it relates to survival and trust as it relates to doing business.

Trust / Survival / Skydiving

Let me take you back 3 months ago when my friend Danica visited Florida. Skydiving was something that we had both been talking about for quite some time and it had both been on our lifelong bucket lists. However, as thrilling as the idea sounded, it was equally frightening. Put me on the 3rd floor of a building or mall and tell me to look over a ledge and I already get that tingling tightening feeling in my body. Add the thought of relying on a “professional” tandem diver, some rope and a nylon blanket to cushion your descent down to earth, and then I really start to question the sanity of this whole idea.

So in my most logical attempt to make sense of the risks of skydiving, I researched the statistics and fatality rates of skydiving compared to an ordinary everyday activity such as driving. According to the research, and I source below, “Roughly 40,000 people die each year in traffic accidents in the United States. That’s 1.7 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles. Therefore, if you drive 10,000 miles per year, your chance of dying in a car wreck in any given year is something like 1 in 6,000” Compare that to the chances of dying in a skydiving accident which is 1 in 100,000. With that information it was enough to get me to make a reservation and sign all the digital waivers.

While I would have liked to think that the statistical information decreased my fears of skydiving, it didn’t! The thought of jumping out of an airplane to reach the speed of terminal velocity and giving away my complete trust to a professional tandem jumper to pull the cord, have the parachute work, and have him land us safely all remained overwhelming. Fast forward through all the preparations, I eventually found myself on the plane and as we took off, I knew that the only way back down was to jump.

Seconds after jumping off the plane, still in shock.

There comes a point in the process where you realize that the best way moving forward is to accept the fear, trust completely in the safety standards and enjoy the ride. After taking the leap from the airplane and experiencing one of the most unique feelings ever to free fall down to earth, I finally realized why getting over my trust issues was all so worth it.

Seeing that parachute open up was a relief.

After putting my trust in the parachute and with the right professional, I left with an amazing and unforgettable experience.

Trust / Business / Financial Advisor

I share this skydiving story because it shows how choosing to trust the right people can lead to healthy relationships and the most amazing experiences. Being in the financial industry, I also have come to realize that apart from investment performance and quality of service, a major reason why our clients stick with us is because they trust us.

To help you screen for a trustworthy financial advisor, you must really get to know this person’s character, background, and experience. In addition to using your intuition to choose who you want to work with, supplying you with a few sample questions as listed below will help you gain insight to how your potential advisor would do business.

Mr/Ms./Mrs. Advisor

  • What is the background / reputation of your firm? Are your registrations up to date and what is your record on Broker Check? http://brokercheck.finra.org/
  • What are your fees and will you be able to explain and show them to me easily?
  • What is the variety of your investment choices? Is your investment advice dictated by products you are constrained or required to sell?
  • How often would you keep in touch with clients and how accessible are you?
  • Apart from investment allocation advice, what are some other financial aspects that you help your clients with?
  • Can you share some of your personal values and how do they align or differ from myself and your clients?

The main takeaway from all this: whether you are concerned about survival or choosing the right relationships both personal and business, it is important to have trust. With trust as a foundation and by surrounding ourselves with trust-“worthy” individuals, we all can accomplish and experience a whole lot more!


"How Skydiving Works." HowStuffWorks. N.p., 27 Aug. 2002. Web. 29 July 2016.

"3 Reasons You Find It Hard To Trust People." Leading with Trust. N.p., 12 Jan. 2014. Web. 29 July 2016.

Views expressed are not necessarily those of High Net Worth Advisory Group and are subject to change without notice. Information provided is general in nature, and is not a complete statement of all information necessary for making an investment decision, and is not a recommendation or a solicitation to buy or sell any security. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing always involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss. No investment strategy can guarantee success.

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”- Albert Einstein

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