When you think about it, the idea of success is an interesting concept.
We all aspire to it. We all reach for it. But we rarely attain it because whenever we get close to the destination, we redefine success.
Think of it in the context of money and financial success. We all want to be financially successful. We want to have money. We want to save money. But when we reach our goal, we want more.
So then, how do you define success when it comes to working with a financial advisor?
When I ask this question to clients, most say, “I want you to make me a bunch of money,” or, “I want you to beat a certain index.”
Then when we dig deeper to find out why, they say, “if I make more money, I will reach my goals faster.”
Success, when it’s just about dollars and cents, can feel unreachable. But success becomes possible when it is all about reaching your goals. Success is all about developing a plan and helping you get there.
Sometimes, the perception is that advisors have jet fuel to help you make money. Yes, sometimes advisors are the fuel, but more often than not, we are the brakes. You see, every client has different benchmarks, different goals, and different risk levels. It is our job as advisors to help create guardrails to protect you, your goals, and your money from, well, you.
For us, success is about keeping you on track to reach your goals. We want to help you rethink success and money so that every market fluctuation doesn’t create panic.
Now, getting people to think differently is the hard part.
We aren’t wired to be rational. Remember: At our core we are cavemen with cavemen brains. Our brains are built to hunt, gather, and protect. Stepping back and looking at the big picture wasn’t top of mind when a lion was chasing you.
Financial planning is a process of defining goals and developing a long-term strategy to reach those goals. Then, investing is the fuel to reach those goals.
If investing is just about making as much money as possible, then you are really just missing the point.
My job is to help you be rational about investing. It’s about helping you deal with failure and protecting you from yourself.
My goal as an advisor is simply to stay tight to the benchmarks, create after-tax benefits, and help you real your goals. That is how I view success.
We don’t try to smoke the benchmarks, because then next year that type of aggressive gambling may create losses.
Renowned Investing Wiz Ray Dalio said, “To succeed in the markets is more difficult than to succeed in the Olympics — there are more people who are trying to do it, they’ve got more money and resources.”
The key is consistency.
In baseball, if you could guarantee a single every time, you’d be the best player in history. But everyone wants to hit home runs.
Financial planning is a million little things to help you hit consistent singles. It is tax planning, estate planning, and even a little human psychology.
All of the above ultimately creates long-lasting success.