October 21, 2020

I remember one of my first experiences working with a new client--what he said will likely tint the lens I see the world through forever.

We both recognized there was a lot to accomplish. In my mind, it was going to be expensive to take care of it all. As one of my first experiences with a high net worth client, I was a little intimidated about telling him the cost. Advanced planning and money management takes time.

Let me be candid; I was not a little intimidated--I was about to sweat through my clothes from being so nervous. He was an intelligent man, and understood investing quite well. There was a chance he would decide to try to do it himself.

I should not have been worried. The electrician does not think it is worth it to hire someone to run power to a new room. Everyone else does.

Upon hearing how much it would be, my client laughed. Here we go, I thought.

“That’s it? Great. Let’s move forward.”

We are on the second floor of our building; the folks on the first floor were probably wondering why my jaw had dropped into their office.

My shock was not lost on my client. In fact, he was rather enjoying the moment. I heard myself saying “Are you sure? Usually I recommend sleeping on this before moving forward.”

What he said next stays with me years later.

My client laughed and said “Conner, you can’t take it with you. I trust you to take care of this. If you can keep me from having to think about this stuff even most of the time, you will allow me to reclaim something dear to me. My daughter is growing up. I don’t want to spend weekends worrying or figuring this stuff out on the computer. I want to be present with her. This life is short, and you taking care of this will let me focus on the things that are most important to me.”

He stopped for a moment and smiled.

“How’s that for financial advice? Maybe you should pay me for that little nugget of wisdom.”

We are grateful for our work; it gives us perspective on what is important to people at different phases and junctures of life. It helps us keep our own balance, reminding us what matters. People reach out to have goals achieved and problems solved; they come to us requesting we give them their time and headspace back.

A common theme we observe as people reach the final stage of their life: we rarely ever hear someone lament about spending more time on their money. If anything, they wish they had spent more time with those they love and less time worrying about everything else.


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