Benjamin Franklin once remarked there are two certainties in life, death and taxes. One is an inevitable part of being a mere mortal on this flying rock, and the other is the price you pay for a civilized society. In my line of work discussion about taxes is inevitable. It’s part of this whole wealth management gig, and goes with the territory. A person can take classes and attend conferences regarding wealth management, hence someone can become pretty knowledgeable on the topic. What isn’t discussed, and there’s no hand book on how to deal with it, is the death of a client.
The advisor/client relationship is really at the core of what we do. The investing world is complex, and doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. We are required to know the most intimate details of our client’s lives to serve them. Clients have to feel comfortable sharing their hopes and dreams, fears, family problems, etc. with us. It’s the only way we can do our job properly. When we start this journey people start off as clients, but as we jump further down the rabbit hole they become friends. Then eventually you become best friends. If you’re lucky enough to reach that status with anyone much less a client, cherish it because it doesn’t happen that often.
It means you spend more time talking about personal things than money things. You spend more time looking at photos of family vacations and grand babies, than performance charts and stock graphs. You spend more time arguing about who’s going to go deep into the playoffs, than what stock is performing best at that given moment. You hear more about life stories and experiences, than you do about the most recent statement or the state of the market. It’s the guy who calls you up during a market panic and says hang tough we’ll get through this.
Inevitably though, people age and the years pass, it’s an unstoppable force. Time is the only enemy we face that is not subject to casualties. Eventually, you get the news that your friend has cancer. You bring the family in to go over options, and what needs to be done. Then you realize in between the bickering about the playoffs and scanning grand baby pictures, everything has been set in place. There’s nothing to do, but wait and hope. You cherish the relationship even more, and you even start to root for his stupid baseball team just because. Maybe they can send the ol’boy out with some style and grab the pennant for him.
The call will come, as it always does. It’s usually the wife, but sometimes it’s the one child that stuck close to home. He’s gone, your friend has passed. It’s mixed emotions because he’s gone, but he’s not suffering anymore. He was the Patriarch of his family, the rock that everyone looked to. The man was unshakeable, and had a personal constitution that was unbreakable. He fought in this country’s wars, and worked in her factories. He built a home on her soil, and was proud of that. This country has lost a great man. I have lost a great friend. His family has lost even an even greater Father.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations of any particular security, strategy or investment product for any individuals. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable but not guaranteed. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing.