This week I attended the wake for one of my first clients. We were together for 28 years. Over that period of time much has changed in our lives, in how business is conducted, and of course in the world. I have learned some things from my friend that I would like to share with you.
It’s funny what you remember about people, the little offhanded things they say that are meaningful and resonate with you over time. A few years ago, while visiting Jack at the wake of his wife, he introduced me to his friends and family not as his financial advisor, but as his friend. I recently read a research piece that indicated that most advisors viewed their clients as friends, but most of their clients did not. In Jack’s case, it was a privilege to be known as one of his friends.
When he first retired, I asked him if he missed working in his management position for a local utility company. He peered at me with a look that only he could produce and said, “I don’t know how I was ever able to work.” As my career has evolved, I have recognized that Jack had discovered the secret to a successful retirement – stay engaged and continue to contribute to society in meaningful ways. How often does the financial industry pitch a successful retirement as living in communities that are cut off from life, or continually going to exotic places, rather than trying to make things a little better before you are called off the planet.
Jack also taught me something about philanthropy, although his assets would be considered relatively modest by most standards, he was a big believer in spreading some of his money around while he was alive so that he could see his money at work. I have to say that he derived as much satisfaction from giving his money away, as most people get from making it.
In the game of life, Jack was known as an impact player. His zest for life and an enduring commitment to helping others is his legacy. You will be missed my friend. Godspeed.