I consider myself a bit of a political junkie, so the current election in Quebec is a lot of fun for me to watch. The TV debates take on huge importance since many casual observers choose whom to vote for based solely on this very limited exposure to what the candidates have to say. The debates are a key opportunity for voters to get to feel like they “know” the person for whom they will eventually cast their ballot.
Of course watching someone on TV for an hour or so is not really the best way to get to know someone, but in this case, it is often sufficient, insofar as it often confirms feelings that we already have based on other information that we have read or discussed with family and friends.
On a more personal note, we do have some relationships in our lives where getting to know the people that we deal with is much more important, especially when it comes to dealing with issues involving our loved ones and our finances, and the long term aspects of these key areas of our lives.
As parents it is normal to want to meet our children’s friends, teachers, coaches, etc. When it comes to our money, we like to think that we know the people who are managing things for us, but in many cases the bond is actually quite superficial.
Sure, when you open an account for any kind of investment, you spend a lot of time filling out forms with all sorts of information about yourself, including your net worth, your risk tolerances, and other tidbits that put you in some sort of risk profile. These forms have all become mandatory over the past decades because some investors were badly treated by “professionals” somewhere along the line.
So governments imposed KYC rules, (“Know Your Client”) which are supposed to stop brokers from loading up a widow’s account with speculative positions that could end up sending her to the local food banks and thrift shops once these investments go sour.
The relationships we have with those who manage the things that are most important to us work both ways, of course. We like to think that the people who are working for us are trustworthy and that we know them well. But they should also know as much as possible about us if they are to do a proper job for us. Depending on circumstances though, this is not always easy or possible.
When entrusting someone with important tasks and assets, it is always nice to feel like you understand the character of the people that you are dealing with. When you deal with someone who was recommended to you by someone you trust, that can be helpful, compared to just finding someone from the phone book.
So all this brings me to these blog posts that I have been writing here for the past few months. I try to write them using simple terms and language, so that even my preteen kids can understand them. And for the most part they do. I know, because I ask them to read them and then tell me if my thoughts are clearly expressed and if they understand what I have written.
They often ask me “who reads these blogs?” My honest answer is, “I don’t know”.
I then add that I am much less concerned with wide distribution of my messages than the ability to provide a deep understanding of what kind of person I am.
Tom and I are offering our services to what is admittedly a narrow segment of society: families with significant assets who are dealing with how they want those assets to serve the members of their families for the long term. Nobody is going to hire us before they have a very good feeling about who we are, how we think, what is important to us, how we work, and how we communicate.
As I have told my kids and anyone else about this blog, I want anyone to be able to come to our website and spend 20 minutes or 3 hours and just read these blog posts that we are writing. I like to think that after anyone spends a bit of time reading these, they will have a pretty good idea who they are dealing with.
We trust that most people will get the impression that we are “two real square guys”, as my father would have put it. Yes, kids, that was meant to be a compliment in the “old days”. Back to politics for a second, your grandfather also suggested to people NOT to go into politics, because then “even your friends with think you are an A**hole”.