Chutes and Ladders

The board game Chutes and Ladders represents a journey through life, with its ups and downs, unexpected surprises and sudden disappointments.  

Life rarely works out as we hope, plan and dream about. Unpredictable things occur. Change happens.

We all have to deal with job changes, health issues, relationship struggles and volatile financial markets.

We view our role as your financial advisor very broadly, so that we can help you with the chutes and ladders of life’s uncertainty. We understand these events have emotional and financial effects on you, your family and your financial plan.

Dealing with the unpredictable Chutes and Ladders of life from our clients’ perspective was the main theme of the 2017 BAM Alliance Annual Conference which we attended this past week.

The chutes and ladders of life. We all have a personal story.

I have dealt with my own chutes and ladders. My dad left our family when I was a teenager. I attended the college I dreamed of (on financial aid, loans and work study jobs) and worked at Price Waterhouse. I got married, had three children and a good career. Life was good. I did not plan for a divorce in 2008. I did not expect to remarry five years later in 2013.

We can learn from change, become better people and be more resilient. Life gives us second chances.

My daughter’s pediatric scoliosis was under control in June 2011 (see blog post link 6/24/2011). A routine check up in December 2012 resulted in spinal fusion surgery in January 2013. We faced decisions. We had confidence in her amazing doctor. We trusted her with our child. We signed very scary papers the morning of her surgery. Rachel now has the equivalent of two titanium golf clubs in her back and is fully active. When we got in the car for a trip this summer, “Titanium” came on the radio. “My theme song,” she exulted! A chute had turned into a ladder.

Sometimes you fall through the chute later in life. A spouse passes away. Or a spouse files for divorce. We have helped clients who are surprised by a divorce after many decades of marriage. We provided compassion, empathy and support to help them get through the day to day shock and transition to their new life.

Sometimes the ladder goes higher than you ever expected. You are blessed with good kids and grandchildren. A career change exceeds your expectations. A key decision becomes life-changing. Keith and I feel fortunate, as our transition from conventional CPAs to full-time financial advisors and the growth of our firm has been remarkable.

We have advised clients who had business or real estate successes. We have guided clients through the chutes and ladders of business sales.

We listen to clients who share the pains and stresses of very serious illnesses or issues which affect their children or grandchildren.

We are rationally optimistic, both in our personal and professional lives. This rational optimism is inherent in the broad financial advice and counsel we give to our clients.

Unexpectedly, investments go up. Unexpectedly, investments go down.  The decline is always temporary, but it can be shocking and emotional to experience and live through in real time. In 2008-09, we were a listening board for our clients. They wanted to talk. They shared their fears and concerns. We listened. We answered questions. We helped our clients to stay the course, so they could adhere to their long term written investment plan. This was the right strategy then and it will be the right strategy the next time the stock market has a significant decline (and the temporary declines after that).

Gratitude is an important component of success and happiness, yours and ours. We are truly grateful for our clients.

We are not here to sell you products.

We are here to help you through the chutes and ladders which life throws at you. To help you cope with uncertainty. Financial and otherwise. Not all the squares on the board fall neatly into the description of the typical wealth advisor. We don’t strive to be typical. We do strive to provide encouragement, guidance and support when you need it most.

This is our value. We are here for you.

In good times and bad. In whatever way we can help.

This week’s takeaway: Life happens. It is full of chutes and ladders. Some of our value as your financial advisor is to help you deal with the unexpected surprises in your life (good and bad) and help you make good decisions in a rapidly changing world filled with uncertainty.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *