Laura and I have returned from a week long conference in Nashville. We stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. For those who have never stayed there, bring comfortable walking shoes, you will need them.
During the week, we were bombarded by all the latest jargon, “Top Down, Bottom Up”, “The Great Resignation”, “Hybrid Remote Staff”, “The New Normal”, “End to End”, “Digital Experience”, “Deep Integrations.” As if though those phrases were going to sanitize and distill one of the worst times in our history.
I was shocked by how many advisors are happy that they only meet with their clients online but were simply ecstatic to be able to come to this conference. Something didn’t feel right about that. Then there was the latest technology that your admin could use to do a one-page financial plan in 15 minutes. Don’t get me started, I could blow holes in that big enough to turn a semi around in. But the thing that was most shocking was the buy in from other advisers and the notion it would work.
Then there were the third-party money managers, with their lofty presentations of account performance (past performance does not predict future results). The hook is now advisors can spend more time prospecting for new clients. In one break out session the panel said that if you are using a third-party money manager and the client is unhappy with the performance, just tell the client you will change managers. Now there is a clinical way to abdicate your responsibility.
And least but not last, there was several panels on succession planning for advisors, with the emphasis on how to value and market your “book.” This is the singular most offensive way I can think of to describe the clients and friends that we work with. We will never, ever refer to our clients or our firm that way.
The silver lining was that this week long conference made Laura and I re-examine why we started our firm and the values that we hold near and dear. I am reminded of a TV commercial that was popular in 1986, featuring John Houseman as spokesman for Smith Barney. The tag line on every commercial went something like this “We make money the old-fashioned way, we earn it.” Our clients aren’t numbers, there lives, future and retirement aren’t just some formulated cookie cutter programs that spits out a 4% rule of thumb number. We know the importance of making what you are working for or have worked for, work for you. There aren’t shortcuts to any of it and we earn every bit of it.
If you are tired of sitting in a phone ques, or want something more tangible than a digital exchange, give us a call.
Mike Mickels is President of CochranMickels Retirement Specialists and an avid sporting clay competitor. CochranMickels Retirement Specialists provides personalized planning and investment services to individuals approaching and in retirement. They also provide retirement and benefits training to Federal employees. Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a broker-dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc, a Registered Investment Advisor. CochranMickels and Cambridge are not affiliated.