Year End Thoughts
Some years ago I was watching a film about a photographer from National Geographic. The program was about how he did his work, he selected the shot through his viewfinder, aware each shot could be the picture that defines his career.
Early in the film, this man said something that struck a cord for me. “We are taught we have to see it to believe it,” he said, “but maybe sometimes we have to believe it to see it.”
That could be a way to describe faith and it’s a perception that can be applied to many things in life; it’s also a view that gives an interesting perspective to financial planning. The most difficult thing in financial advising is to get clients to define their goals, for next year or five or 10. How can you “see” the future?
My role is to help people believe they can. Once they have confidence in the process, believe they have some control, then developing a plan “seeing” the path is much easier.
It takes different approaches for different people, some clients follow the economic news daily and some never pay attention to any news at all. However, for all clients, the one common need is trust – that they can have some control over their future, that I know what I am talking about, that I will advise and act in their best interest.
Many of the regulatory agencies and the big institutions miss this idea because they don’t recognize that financial advising is a “relationship” business not an insurance or investment business. Insurance and investments are merely tools that help build the financial structures to achieve or protect life goals.
Clients are more animated when we talk about affording their children’s university costs than they are when we talk about the cash value of their life insurance. For most people, those financial structures are under the surface, and only rise if they are not working. Real life is about kids and parents, job stress, vacations and retirement activities.
One of the real rewards in any “relationship” work is getting to know people, to understand how many good people there are in this world, how they work and hope, love and create.
I see the good because I believe it, Season’s Greetings to all, may your New Year be complete with good health, happiness, and prosperity.