Where does the time go?
As a look up in the summer of 2019, I realized that I’ve been working full-time in the financial services arena for 34 years. I’ve been specifically handling financial planning for individuals for 23 years.
When I first started financial planning, I thought the job was going to be similar to my work as a bond analyst for Standard & Poor’s. That’s to say heavily quantitative. And while that turned out to be true, the real value that I believe I bring to my clients (which I was fortunate to understand sooner rather than later), was listening to my clients and what it is that they are trying to achieve.
Early in my career, I would explain during initial prospective meetings – I am sure in way too painful detail – the process of how financial markets would be able to help them. Given the smallest opportunity, I would love to talk about the various factors that drive financial returns.
I look back now in amazement that anyone decided to join me as a client. I often joke now that they must have concluded, “he seems to know what he is talking about” because my explanation was way to in the weeds for any true benefit to them.
Fortunately, I quickly determined that in order to deliver personalized solutions and good advice, I would need to have honest conversations with people. These conversations deal with not just what they want for their future, but just as importantly, what is actually possible.
These conversations through time have been the foundation of building trust between us. This trust becomes important through difficult financial markets, but just as importantly, when life gets difficult. No one can truly prepare for some of the heartbreak that occurs in all our lives and the difficult decisions that need to be made and the impact of those decisions financially.
That is why we believe our value increases through time as we become an invaluable asset to bounce ideas off of. So, while our clients expect that I will be able to build an investment portfolio to help them fulfill their envisioned life, they come to trust that I will help them make informed choices.
We work with our clients to help them embrace uncertainty and focus on controlling the items that can be controlled. We will monitor the outcomes as the journey unfolds so that we can help steer them in the right direction.
We got to see this trust in action during the significant global crisis which occur in 2008. A few years back I told this story to a Wall Street Journal reporter. The reporter stated how difficult the job of an advisor is especially when most investors flee the stock market in markets like 2008. l stated that not a single client of ours sold their stock positions during this time period.
During the global downturn, we had numerous conversations that resulted in the same conversation. As I explained to our clients that we would be re-balancing portfolios which meant we would be selling short-term high-quality bonds and investing back in the stock market, numerous clients had the same reaction: “Dan I hope you right.” Trust overcame fear.
We work hard so that our clients understand that at times they will have disappointing investment returns, but we hope that they are never surprised by these temporary market declines.
So, while we been able to build enduring trust, we quietly laid the foundation for a great business for our clients and for us. What a great job to have over these past several decades, and hopefully for a couple more decades.
Hope you have a great week!
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