The letter arrived via e-mail from a reader unhappy with our February 2002 cover story. Well, not unhappy with the story, exactly, say rather displeased with our choice of “the new faces of planning” in the February magazine. “Why not at least one person of color?” this reader wrote.
A journalist, like many a judge, isn’t happy with his or her work until he’s ticked off both sides in any argument–it’s a sign that the work is close to the truth. After our July 2001 cover story, “Why So White?” we were deluged with letters from readers who expressed their rage over what they perceived as our overwrought political correctness in even bringing up the subject of financial planning’s lily whiteness. We ran some of those missives on our letters to the editor page, just as we ran notes from readers who were outraged that we would stoop to profiling a planner who caters to gay clients.
Sorry, that’s part of our job–to look at the big picture and ask why things are the way they are. It’s not just we who are looking and asking, of course. Many other planners and industry leaders are doing so. Among them is Lou Garday, who is not only sensitive to the “Why So White?” issue but is doing something about it, as Bill Glasgall and Marlene Satter relate in an exclusive interview with Garday on page 20 that touches on his priorities as CEO of the CFP Board of Standards.
But it’s also part of our job to provide news and insights into more mundane matters–like our tax advisor column (this month by Peter Chen on page 79) or Steve Moeller’s marketing tips (page 91) or our planner profiles by Karen Hansen Weese (page 54). We even continue to gather data on the secondary market prices on those limited partnerships of yore. But now, those LP tables exist only on our investmentadvisor.com Web site. That allows us to devote more space in the magazine to issues that appeal to a wider range of readers.
That same approach is driving the trend highlighted in our cover story (page 40) by New York Bureau Chief Melanie Waddell: the rising popularity of outsourcing.
Planning itself could be considered the ultimate outsourcing, by clients. Many’s the planner whose pitch to potential clients points out that he’s got the expertise to do a better job at planning and investing than the civilian, and if said civilian would simply hand over the financial reins, his life would improve immeasurably. The client could focus on what he really wanted to do with his time and talents and energy.
Outsourcing is also, for many planners, the preferred path to accommodating growth in a practice while allowing the planner to focus on her professional or personal pursuits. The planner pictured on our cover, Steve Wightman, has a small practice, but he’s turned it into a much more profitable and personally rewarding one since he got into outsourcing in a big way. Maybe you should, too.