It’s an odd question. I’ll repeat it. What are you doing to grow?
This year has been a weird one filled with uncertainty and often doubt about the future. And it would be easy to hide away or take a nap until it all blows over. However, it may be quite some time before that happens, and we may never return to normal, whatever that was. This pandemic will likely change things permanently in the way world wars, deep recessions, and other crises have in the past. Uplifting events also changed things forever. JFK’s commitment to put a man on the moon and return him safely to earth lead us to the discoveries that enable you to read this article on your computer or even your phone. This time could yield similar discoveries if we commit to them. Kennedy chose to rally the country around a common goal, to focus the nation on accomplishing something he felt would change our country’s arc. FDR faced an unprecedented financial crisis as he entered office in 1933. Come January, our next president will also be tasked with digging out of the pandemic’s economic impacts. So, whether there is a crisis at hand or whether you make one up (the Soviets getting into space before us with Sputnik was considered a crisis at the time), there is an opportunity to affect significant change. While we can’t control a nation’s trajectory, we can decide in our own lives to make this crisis an opportunity. We are taking this opportunity to grow, and I hope you are as well. If there is anything we can do to help in your path to growth, please let us know.
Here are some of the things we are working on to grow and deliver better service.
We hired Julie Murillo as our Director of Client Services. I wanted to call her Director of First Impressions and decided against it when I realized companies often give that title to receptionists. Julie is much more than a receptionist. She has been working with me for about a month to improve our systems and allow me to focus more on my zone of genius, which is speaking to and meeting with clients, and coming up with solutions to what are sometimes complex financial problems. Sure, I want to make peoples’ accounts grow, which is part of my zone of genius. And sometimes clients have to work through conflicting goals, like sending their children to college and saving enough for retirement or balancing the desire to grow their assets in a challenging market while managing risk. Julie is tasked with making the client experience better and keeping me on task. We used to deliver most of our client experience in person, which is my preference. Now everything is online. Online is not bad; it’s just different, and we need different systems and technologies to bring the quality of service we want to deliver. You will be hearing more about Julie in the coming months because I believe she is a game-changer.
Online is the new normal. We’ll be making a significant investment in online tools that will reduce the need for copying or scanning statements and documents and sending them in email, as well as presenting our findings and recommendations in visual formats that should improve understanding and engagement. Our goal is to take you, the client, through the planning process without having to print anything out. While I miss meeting in person, there’s an upside to this change:
- In going more digital, we use less paper.
- We use software and online tools to bring you what I believe is a better experience than we had before.
- I am not driving around as much.
- Our hope is that meetings will be shorter, more to the point and focused on goals and solutions rather than going through documents.
Stay tuned. This process may take a while, but we have already begun and have already uncovered better ways of gathering information and presenting solutions.
So, here is a parting thought. Lately I have been watching a lot of documentaries and listening to a lot of podcasts about healthy living and sustainable farming. I believe there is an intersection here. As farming has gone more mechanized and less local, the quality of our food has gone down. Farmland is less and less productive and requires more and more fertilizer to yield the same amount of food. There is a movement around sustainable farming which has a couple of added benefits, the quality of the food is better, and the soil is healthier and captures more carbon which reduces greenhouse gasses and could reverse climate change over time. Don’t believe me? Watch these two documentaries:
- Kiss the Ground, narrated by Woody Harrelson, 2020
- The Biggest Little Farm, Winner, Boulder Film Festival, 2018
If we committed to sustainable farming in this country, it could reverse climate change and give us the focus putting a man on the moon did in 1961. Too big a dream? I think not. I am counting on us.
This Month’s Reading List !
The Psychology of Money, Morgan Housel [“Morgan Housel’s new book clarifies – with razor sharp and accessible insight – that building wealth is a mindset problem, not an investment problem. This is the first book any investor should read.” Tim Hale, author of Smarter Investing: Simpler Decisions for Better Results]
Tapping into Wealth, Margaret Lynch [“For many of us, increasing our wealth is one of our greatest ambitions, but also an area where we feel the most stuck because we have limiting fears and beliefs that sabotage our success.” From the publisher, TarcherPerigee]
Discover Your Purpose, Rhys Thomas [“…discover your life purpose and align your decisions with your deepest self, so your life is fulfilling, productive, and full of joy.” From the publisher, Penguin]
Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman [“A tour de force. . . Kahneman’s book is a must read for anyone interested in either human behavior or investing…” Larry Swedroe, CBS News]
You are a Badass at Making Money, Jen Sincero [“…combines hilarious personal essays with bite-size, aha concepts that unlock earning potential and get real results.” From the publisher, Penguin]
I Will Teach You to be Rich, Ramit Sethi [“…based around the four pillars of personal finance—banking, saving, budgeting, and investing—and the wealth-building ideas of personal entrepreneurship.” From the publisher, Workman Publishing Company Inc.]
The Science of Getting Rich, Wallace Wattles [“…first published in 1910 … it’s for many the crowning masterpiece of success and prosperity books.” From the Barnes&Nobel overview]
Your Money or Your Life, Vicki Robin [“…transform your relationship with money.” From the YMOYL website]