A well-known coach in the financial services industry who trained advisors in a client interview process started with the question: “What does financial freedom mean…[uncomfortably long pause]…to you?” Whatever the client answered, like “a comfortable retirement,” he would ask, “So, what does a comfortable retirement mean…[uncomfortably long pause]…to you?” This line of questioning continued, with each client’s responses being held up to the silence as if an awkward salesy technique made them feel comfortable going deeper into answering questions and establishing trust.
I understand what he was trying to do, though I disagree with the method. He focused on helping clients uncover what was important to them, know what to shoot for, and have the insight to motivate them when the going got tough. Whether the Jedi mind trick was realized, it was a step in the right direction for an industry with more IQ than EQ.
I bring this up because I care about what people can do and how they feel when they have real freedom around money. I have seen what that freedom is, and the joy and fulfillment that comes with having, and knowing you have abundance.
Of the people I’ve known who’ve had that freedom, my mother-in-law had an ease with money that still inspires me because she didn’t have buckets of wealth, but she knew she had enough. In a world that runs on “more is better,” enough is an elusive treasure.
Mary had an income that met her needs, a fully paid house, and dividend-paying stocks that provided luxuries. She traveled with grace until she was 95. While I’m sometimes inclined to lament about the beltless, shoeless indignity of the cattle chute JFK TSA lines, I never once heard her utter a complaint. On the annual extended family St Patrick’s Day in NYC trip, she had enough to take car service from JFK and stay in a lovely hotel suite in midtown. The company of all the family and friends who came to listen to her adventure stories was a great source of joy. Treating the entire family, over 20 people, to a fancy dinner was her pleasure. One of my favorite memories is when an NYC policeman, one of many friends she accumulated on these trips – – played Scotland the Brave on the bagpipes at dinner, leaving no dry eye in the restaurant.
Spending time in NYC with Mary is a cherished memory of the Promised Land I’ve seen. When I work with you to discover what your “enough” is and keep your vision steadfastly in mind when we make plans to get there, I think of Mary.
This Thanksgiving weekend, as I think about the many things I’m thankful for, I am grateful for you, my clients. You have entrusted me with your money and your dreams and hopes for the future. I’m thankful for the experiences of working with you through challenges and setbacks, and of course, triumphs. I love what I do, and I enjoy every one of you and our relationships.
I’m thankful that I have meaningful work that challenges me every day. I’m grateful for Maggie and Lily and that we have a comfortable home to work from and enjoy. I’m thankful for the professionals I collaborate with who help me provide a host of services that make our business better.
I genuinely hope you’re beginning a wonderful holiday season, such as it is. For many, it has been a year of re-evaluation of what’s essential. In these times of change, maybe you’ll uncover some new ideas about your future. Whatever you come up with, I look forward to sharing your thoughts when we connect again so that the coming years will bring you the grace and ease of enough.