We sometimes have really fun financial planning meetings with clients where we discuss what I refer to as “first world problems.”
Many of us in this country are so fortunate that it can be hard to maintain perspective on how well we have it compared with others in the world. At the same time, those problems that we do face can seem insurmountable or at least quite difficult.
There have been a couple of themes that have risen up to the top lately that I thought might be worth sharing.
- Everyone deserves and is worthy of help, if they want it, in my opinion. If we can help, we will, and often just having someone to brainstorm with over the situation can help immensely.
I was horrified recently when a client jokingly said:
“Are you sure we can still take up your time even though we don't have a ton of money with you?”
Forget about the obvious thought that she's a human being worthy of help. More pointedly, I think that people who have less saved, problems with spending, debt, bankruptcy, or medical issues causing financial problems, need the help the most. It is an honor to try and help.
Please don't ever feel that your question is not worthy or that you're bothering us. Our professional purpose for existing is to help you.
If there is anything that we can do through brainstorming, conversation, planning, etc.,
we would love to do it!
- The other theme which is difficult to alleviate is complexity.
When I’m neck-deep debating performance attribution techniques with my colleagues, it's easy to forget some of the other parts of financial planning that most people aren't thinking about all the time.
Charlie, Matt, and I recently spent almost 45 minutes on a Friday afternoon debating allocation-based benchmarking versus static benchmarking to a US/international portfolio, and whether or not the allocations along mid-, small-, and large-cap are applicable or not.
Long story short, this minutia is nauseating to most anyone other than financial planners and is not exactly consequential to big-picture financial planning topics of which we endeavor to help you with, either.
Sometimes the minutia of debt, for instance, can get lost in the discussion for us.
One of our clients, that is probably smarter than any two of us put together, said that his brain was full the other day, in a meeting, and that he wanted to go home. He referenced a Far Side cartoon by Gary Larson. On a side note, Gary Larson is one of my favorite cartoonists, and I used to own all the books when I was a kid.
The child with an oddly small head raises his hand and says:
“Miss Osborne, may I be excused? My brain is full.”
Ultimately, I think simplifying, prioritizing, and helping with the to-do list of financial planning is what we do.
When we get in the weeds and aren't answering your questions, please bluntly stop us or tell us you want to go home. The feedback is appreciated, and I think it helps us get to where we need to go.
We have helped people give more to charity, provide more for their family, and have significantly higher peace of mind that they are (in most cases) going to be okay financially.
Working in investments and financial planning means learning every day, and that includes learning how we interact with the people we're trying to help.
We've added some digital tools to make it easier to help you, but it's simply whatever works to get us there together.
If you want to put it all on a 3x3 Post-It note, I get it!
There is beauty in simplicity.
Thank you for taking a look!
This article represents opinions of the authors and not those of their firm and are subject to change from time to time, and do not constitute a recommendation to purchase and sale any security nor to engage in any particular investment or legal strategy. The information contained here has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed for accuracy.