What Matters More than Friends and Family?
By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST, RLP®
Two times per year, the professional advisors at all of the U.S. Wealth Management locations around the US gather for a three day educational event. Of course there’s some fun mixed in, but overall, we are a pretty nerdy crowd more interested in advancing our knowledge base and level of service to our clients rather than hustling a free drink from the boss. Those who know me well realize that there’s little cajoling needed to extort that free beverage. In fact, having done this for well over 10 years, we have become friends and a major part of each other’s professional family.
One of the more significant parts of the meeting, which we call the U.S. Wealth Master Mind Summit, are the Master Mind round table discussions where advisors from different backgrounds and experience talk openly about their business and their clients experiences. We talk about what works, what doesn’t work and what advice does the peer group have for the advisor to deliver a better offering, while elevating the experience of their clients.
Interestingly enough, one of the more enlightening experiences that were shared was the family tree that we at the Nap team use with all of our clients. Providing for and spending time with family is always a very high priority for our clients. Sometimes, these are the only broad objectives of the plan. We then dig into the details of avoiding death taxes, funding education, paying down debt and living financially independently. But the family tree always incites conversation about parents, siblings, children and grandchildren.
In fact, some of the most touching 2015 highlights for the Nap team are the many cases where we pulled a situation from the jaws of defeat for a family member of our clients. It may have been the elderly infirmed parents of our clients, who were beginning to deal with end of life issues where their estate plan was either useless or nonexistent. Or it may have been the child of our client who announced a divorce was about to begin just as Dad thought that he was ready to work on his business’s family succession plan. Regardless of the situation, it became clear to us that our clients were not quite sure that we are ready, able and willing to help their entire family now or in the future. Part of our way of being is to not be like the rest of our profession and bother our clients for introductions. That’s because we never want you to feel uncomfortable or obligated to refer us; we don’t want to put you on the spot.
At the same time, every day we see things that concern us. We sometimes see other advisors making decisions for their own financial benefit and not for the benefit of their clients as they should and we also notice that many advisors, (financial, legal, insurance or accounting) might not be looking at their clients’ entire financial life.
For that reason, we want to make it clear that if there is anyone that you care about who you think can benefit from another set of eyes, we would be glad to help them.