By Cass Grange
Every so often, especially at various transition points, it is smart to look at the whole picture and ask: are we being courageous in our business decisions? Are we looking at the broad perspective and doing what is best for clients and our team going forward?
In 2017, we celebrated our 25th anniversary, which provoked a lot of reflection. At the end of the year, we made the difficult decision to close the broker dealer portion of our business. For 25 years we had run two separate corporations. One was a brokerage business, which is where we’d gotten our start. However, over time we have evolved to become primarily a fiduciary-level Registered Investment Advisory and financial planning business. But, we still effectively had “one foot on the dock and one in the canoe,” and it was time for us to commit. We owed it to our clients, and to ourselves.
It is never easy to end a relationship with a long-time client, and after being in business for 25 years, we certainly had developed many. We felt that it was worth giving our readers some context around our ultimate decision to operate solely as a fiduciary-level Registered Investment Advisory firm.
To run a business effectively for clients and our team, we needed the courage to say no.
None of us can be all things to all people. It was a difficult and painful business decision to say no to our brokerage business and to say no to an old way of doing business. But, with all tough decisions that require a hard “no”, it is helpful to know what we are saying yes to: serving a more manageable number of ideal clients in a far more holistic and satisfying way. In doing this, we can impact the lives of people who are serious about making the most of their resources, who have significant assets to steward and can take a long-term view.
In this world of brutal work schedules of 24/7 full stop until you drop environments, we have purposefully decided we want to work longer with people we like and enjoy. What that means for clients is that you have a team fully engaged, and unlikely to quit due to stress and overload, which is so common in the investment industry. We are motivated to serve folks who have a sense of humor, give back to the community and are interested not only in next week or next year, but in their legacy – what they will leave for their children and grandchildren, both in the intangible and tangible assets.
The idea of saying “no” to something in order to achieve something better is one of the tenets we coach in our clients. We encourage clients to:
Say no to controlling all financial details in a frenetic minute-by-minute way. Say yes to letting a professional team take over the day today investment decisions and minimize stress and anxiety.
Say no to the “I can do it all myself” mentality and the guilt that overwhelms you when you find you can’t. Say yes to hiring professionals who can help you create order out of chaos and instill confidence by removing anxiety and fear.
Say no to the peer pressure of purchases that don’t bring joy. Say yes to investments in experiences that bring meaning and connection.
Say no to limited thinking about career paths. Say yes to using resources, both financial and social, to forge a stronger and better career and life path.
Say no to denial about aging and health decline. Say yes to purposeful planning and realistic living choices for the next decade.
Say no to the myth that there’s a guru out there who can predict the future. Say yes to an advisor who can help you prepare for whatever comes your way.
So we took our own advice and had the courage to say no to a way of doing business that worked for a time, but no longer fits our long term goals or our values. We are now eager and energized to go forward and serve you and your family. We’re also eager to get your advice about how we can do this better. With this transition, we also have the capacity to serve other families like yours, so any advice you have for us will likely be a future benefit for many others.
As always, we appreciate your faith and trust in us. If you know other folks who need help making order out of chaos and need the courage to say no to some things in order to achieve more, we’d love an introduction