As a Certified Financial Planner® for over 25 years, I never tire of speaking to new clients about their situations, getting to know them, and helping them to solve their financial issues, either good or bad. It's what gets me up in the morning (aside from the dog!) wondering "who am I going to help today"? I spoke with a friend in Chicago who relayed a personal story (with his permission) of how a lack of coordination between his doctors led to a very painful and avoidable mishap.
He had been treated for two different ailments by two different doctors, who, with the best of intentions, were treating him for two different unconnected maladies. Steven, with the full trust of his physicians, did what he was told and adhered to the course of medicine prescribed. While on the tennis court, he unfortunately slipped and pulled muscles in both legs. After an exam and MRI's, its seemed that he pulled muscles and tendons in both legs, surprising because of his great physical shape. It was determined that the weakened muscles in his legs were due to an interaction of the two medications (and a still to be perfected tennis serve!) As I am a great believer that everything in life leads to a lesson (as my daughter in her youth will no doubt confirm, followed by a sigh and a rolling of the eyes... you know that look). I set about to think as to how this story and occurrence would lead to today's lesson. Stick with me here.
In life, we all have our "Trusted Advisors:" doctor, dentist, accountant, lawyer, financial planner, etc. It takes a long time to establish the relationship to the point that we feel that we can rely on our advisor to be there when we need them, give us reliable information, and feel that we can trust that the information we get is in our best interest. In Steven's case above, while his doctors were his Trusted Advisors, there was a lack of coordination between them leading to catastrophe. One did not know what the other was treating him for and, while it was Steven's obligation to tell them and monitor his own course of treatment and meds, the mix of the two turned out to be a cataclysmic chain of bad events. Where's the lesson here? Are ya' seein' it yet?
Let's replace the name "Steven" with yours. Look at your list of Trusted Advisors- your doctor, lawyer, CPA and Certified Financial Planner®. Let's draw a diagram- go ahead, get a pen and pad. You ready? Now write all your advisors by name across the top of the pad. Now list the jobs they do for you (medical exam, tax return, draft legal documents, manage money, etc.) After you have done this, look at it and connect a line from one advisor to another who have met, have ever spoken, or create a coordinated effort in your best interest during the year. After doing this, take a step back and take another look at it. Are your Trusted Advisors truly coordinated, or do you have a great group of people who have never met and don't create a coordinated effort with your interests first? Could you imagine a sports team who went out on the field to play whose assorted managers never worked together before, never strategized, never even met? How successful do you think the team would perform? How successfully coordinated does your team perform?
Here at Chestnut, we believe in a team approach, where our clients have their accounting, legal, money management, insurance and other Trusted Advisors working together for the benefit of our clients. Take a good look at your team-whether in the financial, healthcare, legal or another other fields. It is imperative that you construct a plan to connect your advisors so that the left hand knows what the right is doing. You can't win the game if the teammates don't know how to create a successful, coordinated plan...and pulling a muscle of sorts can be very, very painful. It's not unlike trying to get your swing thoughts together for a great round of golf- mind and hands working together- and when you do, you'll see birdies in your future. See you on the tee!
For more information on Neal's take on Life, Love and Money, just call the office to get his book, "Tales From the Chestnut Tree" at a discounted rate for all our readers. Just call the below number and we'll hook you up...happy reading!