Who’s Got Your Financial Back
Why You Need an Outsider’s POV When It Comes to Your Money
Money is the least of your problems. You may not believe me. You picked up this book to learn how to put some aside so you can build what you have into more, how to spend it wisely, and how to use it to reward some people. Well, I am going to tell you how to achieve all of that – and more. If you follow my advice, you will be a lot more secure. However, for this journey we are about to embark on together, I am going to show you not only how to have the degree of wealth you want and need, but also how to have a richer life.
As a financial advisor and wealth manager, I work with people from all walks of life, from multi-millionaires with complicated lives to hard-working middle class individuals and couples with modest nest eggs and equally complicated lives. After all, whose life is not complicated?
My goal is to encourage, challenge, educate, and inspire you, the reader, to take a more active role in your financial future. In the following chapters, I tell stories about how a little planning and a lot of trust can go a very long way. Some stories deal with my own personal and familial matters, and others center on clients and friends. Some of these stories are inspiring, and some are cautionary, but I am certain that all of them will be useful to you in moving forward with your financial plans.
They say hindsight is 20/20, which is why I open the book with my own family’s financial history. Had my parents had the foresight to make definite plans in terms of retirement funds and life insurance – before my father got sick and before my mother was left to struggle with the family business, for which she was greatly unprepared – perhaps my mother would have been able to live out her remaining years in peace, rather than stress. I begin this way, not to ask for your sympathy, but so that you can learn from my family’s missteps and have the foresight to start your planning now.
As in life, families are a huge part of this book. They can range from being a tried-and-true support system, to being a brute, antagonistic force. One of my clients, whose story is explored in detail in the book, has four financially dependent adult children who cause their father many headaches. In fact, many of my clients have financially dependent adult children. I offer their stories and to show that while there is nothing wrong with having dependents and involving your family in your finances, they must not be allowed to be draining, either in the arena of money or morale.
You might be saying, “Why do I need this book? I know how much money I have and what I want to do with it.” Perhaps you’re right, and you do know exactly how to invest your money yourself, but you are in the minority. I think it’s important for people from all walks of life to have a financial manager working for you, whether you think you can handle it yourself or not. We allow you to keep living your life, working at your job and raising your families, without having to micromanage your assets. Leave that task up to us. I will be the first to admit that being a financial manager is not easy. It takes patience, moxie, and heart, as well as a finely tuned ear to the financial climate –excellent math skills don’t hurt either!
I’ve been working as a Financial Advisor for many years, and I can tell you that being entrusted with other people’s money is no small potatoes. You have someone’s – or more often an entire family’s – life in your hands. I like to imagine that I’m dealing with my own money each time, because that is how important my clients are to me. I believe this is where so many other advisors fail. They tend to put their own needs ahead of their clients’, and don’t take into account the consequences attached to someone else’s fortune. It is no wonder that once the Madoff scandal broke, people started getting even more careful about who to trust with their money – for good reason! Celebrities, professional athletes, and too many average Joes have fallen victim to shoddy investors. While some financial planners may seem to have you and your money’s best interests in mind, if they don’t possess the tenacity, the experience, and the passion for caring about you and your family as their own, your estate might be in danger. That is why I’ve written this book – I am the kind of advisor who will care about your money as much as, and maybe more than, you do. You need to find that kind of person for your financial future.
How do you define wealth? I will devote a lot of time to this question, and provide examples of people who define wealth in vastly different ways than you might expect. This may sound like a cheeky thing to say, especially coming from someone who works in finance, but I truly believe that wealth is something each person must define on his or her own terms. Wealth transcends the physical green paper and how much of it you accumulate: what’s more important is how you incorporate it into your life. Do you control your money, or does your money control you?
One client that I have been working with for a long time is an older man who has become as close to me as my own family. He has a fortune that can rival some of the top-earning celebrities in Hollywood, but that doesn’t stop him from penny-pinching. He is laser-focused on his funds and is steadfast about staying on top of them. While some financial managers might become frustrated with a man like him and write him off as a “miser” or a “cheapskate,” he has actually become one of my most beloved clients. In addition to my doing it for them, some people feel the need to keep track of the seemingly minor details, for it is in those tiny details that massive mistakes can be made if you aren’t meticulous.
So why do people seek out financial managers? Is it just to have them count pebbles and balance books? Not at all. Some of the major reasons people seek me out, for example, include: retirement planning, expanding their properties (buying a second home or building a vacation compound for their family), how to invest an inheritance, building a balanced portfolio, or creating a nest egg to leave to their children. I have had clients who want to do all the aforementioned, or have other plans in mind.
I will tell you that my views on retirement are not for the feint-of-heart – as I see it, most older people these days are still living vibrant, exciting lives. My ideas may veer from the traditional and seem more radical than you’re used to, but if you give me a chance, you will see that I truly do have your best interests in mind.
Ultimately, the relationship between a client and a financial advisor is a special one, and you shouldn’t be frustrated if it doesn’t come easy at first. You will have to feel each other out and make sure there is mutual trust, and that your personalities are compatible. I have clients with whom I talk every day, and others I speak with once every few months. No matter what, we have to be able to respect and trust each other. The process of finding an ideal financial manager is part alchemy, part courtship. I believe that this book is the first step in showing you how to capture that magic.