Bryan is a numbers guy. One day during the first leg of his 3 hour commute Bryan* thought it would be fun to calculate how long he spent commuting to the city during his 20+ years trading on Wall Street. The answer jolted him: 304 days. He had spent nearly one year of his life on the train.
That morning as he climbed the stairs to Penn Station he saw life through a different lens. The work, which he used to love, owned a part of his life that he couldn’t get back. The job was changing and his boys were growing up without him. It was time for a change and time to make a call. But it wasn’t his boss or his wife Bryan called. It was to his financial advisor.
“Frank,” he said, “I’m ready.”
For four years Frank had managed Bryan’s money. He prepared his taxes, advised on investments, reviewed his insurance, assisted him building his estate plan, and helped him and his wife plan for children’s college, and their eventual retirement. But in those four years Frank was listening to more than Bryan’s goals for safety and wealth accumulation. He listened for insight on Bryan’s peace of mind, his satisfaction with life. He compared Bryan’s passion for the financial markets with his personal “return on life”. What he heard was that though his job was lucrative Bryan was miserable at work and his relationships were strained at home. He saw that Bryan lacked energy, that his passion had wilted. So he said to him gently one day, “There are other careers you would like. You have potential to grow and be happy if you make a change.”
It was a kind of a life coach moment Bryan didn’t expect to have with the guy who “managed his money”. It didn’t move him to quit that day, but the idea stuck with him for weeks because he’d come to trust Frank.
“He was like a guardian angel on my shoulder - saving money for college, the mortgage, business investment opportunities - he advised me on them all. Before, I was always the one to make those decisions. There was peace of mind knowing someone was looking over my shoulder in those decisions. It gave my wife peace of mind. She knew if something happened to me she could make one phone call and have the life insurance check and someone to map out a plan for her and the kids.”
“What he gave me was permission,” Bryan said. “He showed me options.”
Bryan’s industry was in transition. He could see it coming down the path. Frank could read the nonverbal cues on his enjoyment of life. He suggested Bryan visit a career counselor, read his assessments and went over them with him. This had zero to do with his money. It was about giving him the insight he needed to live a worthwhile life.”
That kind of counsel is the essence of financial life guidance. It’s a deeper level of service where an advisor becomes a coach and the client a friend. The coach’s leadership extends to all areas of the friend’s life. Instead of offering advice a financial life guide offers insight, a true understanding of the client’s life and bigger picture of how things intertwine. The goal: To restore vigor and passion to the client’s life in every area.
When an advisor provides financial life guidance, he or she can weigh in any aspect of life where you need clarity and insight, at work, in business or at home as you and your family plan your lives .
Have an annual review coming up with the boss? Rather than going in guns blazing a trusted coach might say, “There’s another approach you might want to take, try these tactics...”
It could be guidance on whether to invest in a family member’s business or someone to give you perspective on that new real estate investment you’re considering.
For Bryan, that financial guidance started when he came to Frank for tax prep and wealth management. As they worked together over the years he came to trust Frank’s advice. Bryan was able to let him coach him on all the areas of his life where money is a factor (and that’s virtually everywhere). It culminated with the encouragement he needed from a coach to make a career change. He’s now the CFO of a local company he believes in. His commute is now less time than it takes to drink his coffee, and he’s able to catch all his boys games.
“In the four years I worked with my advisor it cost me $50,000. If I hadn’t hired him I’d still be doing ok. But I’d still have a three hour commute. I’d still not have areas of fulfillment in my life. He opened up new opportunities to me. That $50,000 has multiplied in value with what I’ve gotten out of them.”
If you’re approaching a new phase of life or chafing at the restraints of a life that no longer feels authentic, you’ve got an opportunity to stop and reevaluate your goals. A financial life guide can give perspective to evaluate your current life, and a financial plan to achieve what you really want.
Blue Blaze Financial Advisors offers free virtual office hours. Add your name to the waiting list.
*Client names and personal characteristics have been changed to protect their privacy.