What’s My Why?
I recently had a Jerry Maguire moment in my business. For many people their Jerry Maguire moment occurs when they take a leap of faith and go out on their own. Like the famous scene where Tom Cruise walks out of the office with the goldfish after yelling Show Me the Money! My Jerry Maguire moment had more to do with the core of what Jerry was getting at in his written manifesto (Its not a memo). He wanted to have more meaningful relationships with his clients. He felt the business had become too focused on the wrong things and they had lost sight of what they really did as agents.
“How can we do something surprising and memorable with our lives? How can we run this job, in small but important ways into a better representation of ourselves?” – Jerry Maguire Manifesto
In the circle of financial media, law makers, financial planners and financial advisors there has been an ongoing discussion around fees, fiduciaries, robo advisers, active vs passive investment management and how we as advisors fit in.
It is an interesting time in the financial advice business. Technology has dramatically changed the landscape some of it for the better and some of it for the worse. I think we as an industry have lost focused on what we really do for people.
“The more things change the more they stay the same!” – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
Fundamentally at the core of what I do is help people. Helping and serving people has been at the center of my core going back to my days at St. Joseph High School volunteering at the local nursing home through my mission trips during my time at Gettysburg College and UVA. I derive great satisfaction from helping others and that continues today and leads me to my discussion about the future of financial advice and my chosen profession.
Here’s the reason!
The last few months have been very trying times for many people across the country. Between the election, the holidays, and just trying to survive the everyday trials and tribulations it has been a very difficult time. That leads me to the month I have experienced with my clients and why I feel that we as planners and advisors provide a vitally important role in the lives of our clients.
For the most part the election was a non-event for my clients but several of their children had significant meltdowns related to the results. As I reminded them we have had 56 Presidential elections and we have survived all of them and we will survive this one. The people of this country are strong and resilient and we will not only survive we will thrive into the future.
Shortly after the election I had a client lose their mother and they did not know that they were named executor in her will. They were not prepared for her passing much less the responsibility of being executor. They turned to me when they needed help and I helped them navigate a difficult time. The passing of a parent is never easy but they could grieve because they knew I was there for them. I helped take away some of their stress and worries. No computer algorithm will ever be able to do that.
I had a client call me in a panic earlier in December saying they were getting a divorce and they didn’t know what to do. I obviously didn’t provide them legal advice but I told them to take a deep breath and everything would work out. After they vented for a little bit I helped them develop a financial strategy to fund the needs that were going to be coming up and gave them the names a few attorneys to interview. It was a difficult conversation but that is what we are supposed to do. I have difficult conversations with clients about their goals, plans, investments, or financial matters every day. It can only happen because I develop deep relationships with my clients and spend time getting to know them. No online questionnaire and plan spit out by a robo-advisor can do that.
I had another client that called me to tell me he had enough with their current job and wanted to know if they could make a change. They were over 60 but the plan we had been discussing for several years was to work a few more years. After spending some time talking about the logistics of what they were considering and then doing some calculations we determined it is possible for them to make this change. It is these life moments and helping clients navigate through them that drew me to this profession.
I am not scared of change. But I am certainly skeptical of it. I do find many of the new technologies coming out very interesting but at the end of the day the more things change the more they stay the same. No technology or remote call center can replace being there for my clients in their time of need which this month reminded me happens frequently and at unexpected times. I think that I am part of one of the most important professions. My role is to help guide people through all phases of their financial lives. It is never an easy task, but it is an exceptionally important job. Every client has different goals, needs, and understanding them is vital to helping them succeed and thrive.
As Thorium Wealth Management evolves into its next phase I will never lose sight of the important role financial planners play in clients lives. We will continue to focus on life planning because that is what I really do for clients. It is about more than a number, it is about all the events and moments that make up a life. If this is the type of relationship you are looking for I would love to learn more about you. Shoot me a message (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give me a call in the office at 336-310-4233 to schedule your time to talk.
Peter Huminski, AWMA
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.