Early in my career as a financial advisor, I found that people respond to different approaches when learning financial concepts. Some wanted to see the data, others were fine with a general discussion, but the vast majority of people I met with understood concepts best when I drew a sketch to help explain what I was trying to convey to them. Often, I would draft the sketches on the back of a napkin at a local coffee shop or on a simple yellow pad.
When I started my own firm, Simply Sophisticated Wealth Planning, LLC, a year ago, I was intent on helping clients continue to break down some of the most complicated and complex financial planning strategies into concepts that folks age 8 to 88 can understand. I regularly volunteer my time to Junior Achievement of Chicago, teaching classes on financial concepts to kids from kindergarten through high school. I find it keeps me grounded to my core belief that financial literacy is absolutely necessary for a secure financial future, and that financial concepts should be presented in a manner that can be easily digestible.
About five years ago, I was excitedly curious to find a book that provides elegantly simple financial concepts and "aha!" moments, often similarly displayed on the back of a napkin. The book "The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money" by Carl Richards has become one of my top 5 all-time books, and a regular gift to family, friends and clients. Mr. Richards is a regular podcast guest, and financial industry conference keynote speaker because of his no-nonsense approach to guiding clients through understanding how their behavior can positively or negatively impact investment performance and the approach of life's goals. He has been a weekly contributor to the New York Times with his "The Sketch Guy" column.
Yesterday, I took time away from my office to "sharpen my saw". I had the pleasure of spending the morning with the author, Carl Richards and a small group of "Real Financial Advisors" (the type of advisor that you would feel comfortable and confident sending your mother to). We covered key topics of interest in the group from helping clients deal with scary markets with empathy (please turn off the financial pornography network to retain your sanity), to secrets to building a successful planning practice (find a group of people with similar problems that you have expertise in helping solve), and self care (diet, exercise, and schedule management). I gathered some new sketches to help explain concepts and collected new relatable metaphors to aid in better client decision making.
I have committed to continue to improve myself and my practice, enhance communications with clients and prospects, and study current trends and strategies to be the best resource I can be to the people I serve. If you desire to keep in touch and receive regular communication from me, please consider sharing your contact information or scheduling a meeting.