Who Are You?

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At 30 years old, Ken received an inheritance and wasn’t sure how to manage his new wealth.  His friend, who was my client, suggested that he give me a call.  That was in 1965.  Since then, Ken and his wife Kathleen have trusted me to assist in their Life Plan – one that started simply and later developed into a well-defined outline of their goals and dreams.

At 30 years old, Ken received an inheritance and wasn’t sure how to manage his new wealth.  His friend, who was my client, suggested that he give me a call.  That was in 1965.  Since then, Ken and his wife Kathleen have trusted me to assist in their Life Plan – one that started simply and later developed into a well-defined outline of their goals and dreams.  We have met regularly since and have been adjusting their plan according to changes in their lives.

Ken’s wife, Kathleen, died from cancer in 2005.  Prior to her death, I had several meetings with the couple’s attorney, CPA, and insurance broker, where we discussed and reviewed all documents.  We then had several meetings with the couple to be sure that everyone was following through with the Life Plan.

As Kathleen’s condition worsened, we made plans to arrange for her hospice care and her funeral.  Although her imminent death was difficult for the family, we planned ahead.  This gave Ken and his adult children the emotional space to grieve her loss.  Throughout the months following Kathleen’s death, I regularly kept in touch with Ken.  During one week, we made plans to have lunch.  Before our scheduled appointment, he phoned me.

“Hey Bob, I think I need to cancel,” he said.

“Is everything all right?” I asked.

“Yeah, it’s just that I’m feeling drained, and I don’t think that I’ll be good company,” he said.

“Ken, I’m not looking for good company; I’m looking to be a good friend.”

He appreciated my support and changed his mind.  When we met that afternoon, he expressed that he was struggling with his wife’s death but also shared his gratitude for my help.

“Bob, I don’t get it,” he said.

“Get what?” I asked.

“Who are you?”

I’m not used to answering life’s deepest questions over a sandwich, so it took me by surprise.  Typically, it’s my job to ask questions like this, and I ask them often.  It’s  part of how I learn more about my clients, which allows me to create Life Plans best suited for them.

“It’s funny that you ask that now,” I said.  “We’ve known each other for more than 40 years, after all.”

Our meeting shed light on the important role of Life Planners.  Our number one goal is to understand who you are.  And we do this by having a sincere interest in you, the client.

 

Excerpt from Robert O. Graves book, Your Life Plan: A Guide to Financial Freedom.   
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