I get a lot out of meeting with advisors and clients. It is always good to hear what people are thinking, listen to their concerns, and spend time understanding where real people who live outside of the investment bubble that I inhabit are coming from. The past week spent traveling was a great opportunity to do just that. But sometimes you get more than you expect.
At one of my stops last week, I was talking with the advisor about the event’s attendance. He noted that one of his clients was in hospice care, at his home, and couldn’t attend the talk. “What a great guy he is,” the advisor said. “It’s a real shame he can’t be here. He would have loved it.” Without really thinking about it much, I said, “Well, why don’t we go and give the talk to him at home?”
And so we did.
We called ahead, of course, and got the okay. But everyone was still surprised when we showed up. We spent about 45 minutes talking with the client, a little bit about the presentation—we brought a printout of the slides—but mostly about his life and times. He was at home, in his own living room, with caregivers on-site. When we got there, he was meeting with a friend from his investment club to hand over his responsibilities there. When we left, his sister was arriving.
This is what we do . . .
This is what we do. Life happens to all of us, but our job is to ensure that our clients are prepared for anything. This gentleman, because of his preparations and his advisor’s work, is able to live out his life in comfort, in his own home, with the care and attention he needs. I have never seen a better example of the value that financial planning, and financial advisors, can add to someone’s life.
This is what we do. The planning, the investing, everything that I spend my life doing, is not the point. The point is the clients who can travel during their retirement, spend time volunteering for causes they care about, enjoy life with their grandchildren, or, at the end, pass gracefully in their own homes. Investing is just a tool, which is something I, in particular, need to remember.
This is what we do. As advisors, we help our clients financially, but we are also their friends. We are there for them to talk, to discuss worries and fears, to help guide them through a financial world that is full of concerns and risks, and to get them where they want to go.
This is what we do. We take away as many of the financial risks and concerns that we can, so families and friends can focus on more important things.
It was an honor to spend time with this man. I am glad I offered, glad he accepted, and proud of our advisor who was able and willing to spend the time.
This is what we do.