If financial planning seems exciting you're doing it wrong.

When I was in my teenage years, I did the required self-reflection to determine what I wanted to be when I grew up. For almost a full minute I considered becoming a doctor. The problem was that I had no interest in putting in the required years of study to reach the goal. But what momentarily drew me to the profession was being able to respond to the question, ‘Is there a doctor on the plane?’. According to Hollywood, this happens about once every two flights and the cool factor that comes with being able to respond ‘Yes, I’m a doctor’ is infinite. You pull your alligator skin medicine bag out of the overhead bin and perform emergency heart surgery in row eight. How awesome a career is that? My sister-in-law spent slightly more than a minute reflecting on the possibilities of pursing a career in medicine, proved by the fact that she is now a doctor. Moreover, on a recent flight she had the opportunity to answer the call of a stewardess requesting the immediate and urgent need for a doctor! She recounted the details of her heroic action and her story was… well, rather a disappointment. The passenger was having fainting spells due to dehydration and poor eating while on vacation. Doctor’s recommendation: a glass of orange juice, lots of water and rest. Hollywood would not have been pleased with this plotline, nor was I for having my childhood image of ‘Emergency in the Sky!’ minimized. But for the doctor it was the preferred scenario. Simple issue, simple solution, success. In the financial industry, we have our own versions of the ‘Is anyone here a doctor?’ question. When the market is volatile, or hits a new high I am often asked, ‘What investments changes do you recommend?’. When tariffs are in the news, or CNBC is declaring the next crisis I might be asked ‘What should be done?’. My response, if we have been doing things correctly all along, is ‘Nothing’ or ‘Stay the course’ or ‘Don’t be reactionary’. No tricks, no neat quick fixes, no manipulation of numbers to squeak out an extra .01% of gains here or there. I suppose we glorify certain professions with a little help from the media, only to find that 99% of the everyday duties are routine and manageable. And the professional’s goal is to prevent the other 1%. Just keep doing what you have been doing. Because, as Michael Douglas said in the movie Wall Street, ‘The point is ladies and gentlemen, that boring, for lack of a better word, is good. Boring is right, boring works.’ I think that was the line. If anything about financial planning is exciting to me, it’s the goals. I leave it to my clients to bring the excitement, with their vision of financial success. What do we want to accomplish with our money? Where do we want to travel? What type of legacy do we want to leave? That stuff is exciting! Goal development and planning conjures up a feeling of joy and exhilaration! But after that? Well, there’s nothing glamorous about number crunching. Financial recommendations are not based on a magic trick. Recommendations are reality and truth translated into a language specific to a client and their goals. Ongoing financial monitoring is a mental assembly line; world/financial/life event.....assess how the event affects the client based on age/life standing/goals....discuss with client the recommend action if any.....rince and repeat. Gloriously boring. And then there are the strategies; Protect your lifestyle with debt reduction/cash reserve. Protect your family with insurance. Protect your legacy with a trust. Protect your assets with modern portfolio theory. Who doesn’t want to talk about subjects like income replacement vs life value? So exciting! Much like the doctor who has no interest in pulling out a scalpel at 30,000 feet, I too prefer boring over the alternative. I will leave the Hollywood images of boiler rooms and brokers screaming ‘BUY, SELL, BUY, SELL!’ to the script writers. Financial planning has evolved into an industry of financial protection and growth, not a get rich quick scheme. The moral of this story is that true Financial Planners are not wizards. Our fiduciary responsibility prevents us from promising the world. We are at our core teachers, or personal financial trainers. Passing knowledge to clients in a way that is understandable and relevant for each individual case. The goal of financial planning is peace of mind first, monetary desires second. Prevent big mistakes before focusing on big victories.

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