Much of the financial services industry has been built around the idea that the more complex an investment or idea, the more sophisticated it is. It’s relatively easy to make seemingly convincing arguments by seeking to confuse. We could spend all day talking about alpha, beta or mean reversion. Would you like to know more about the heteroskedasticity of a given investment? We doubt it.
One of our goals at TAAG is to successfully translate complex concepts into plain English. We seek to embrace the sophistication of simplicity.
Whether discussing investment philosophy, economic theory, Monte Carlo modeling or the delicate balance of enjoying today while saving and planning for tomorrow, our clients are more than capable of handling these concepts, but often don’t have the time, energy or interest to delve into what can admittedly be some pretty dry detail. While what we do as advisors interests us greatly and comprises the bulk of what we spend our careers doing, most clients prefer less time spent on the minutiae and more time spent on the impact to their plan.
Simplifying concepts about what’s going on in the market, economy or with a clients’ financial plan is generally a difficult, but achievable task. Boiling that down to serve the needs of a first grader is a whole new challenge.
Such was the case last week when my first grader asked, “Dad, can I interview you for school?” Of course the answer was yes. She’s six years old. It was a three question interview for a class project. This should be an easy hurdle for ol’ Dad to climb.
“What do you do?” she asked.
I’m a financial planner.
Hmmm. I’m a financial advisor.
It’s sometimes called…Well…I’m a wealth manager.
“Yeah, Dad, but what do you do?”
After a lot of conversation and stories around what we do, I realized what a healthy conversation this was. Not only to give my little girl a better glimpse at what Dad does when he goes to the office, but for Dad to really look at why he does it at the most basic level.
Sometimes, I think these homework exercises help the parent more than the student.
The final result?
“My Daddy is a financial planner. He helps people make smart decisions with their money so that they can help their families and do the things they want to with their life.”
Not too bad, sweetheart.