Please permit me to be a little reflective in this blog. Let’s consider the phrase Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. These are three unalienable rights granted to each of us by our creator as argued in the Declaration of Independence. As I write these words I think about the freedoms we enjoy here in this great country. Although we are not without our problems, this is still the land of opportunity. Here in my third month of independence, I am thoroughly enjoying my new-found freedom.

I find opportunity abounds and for that I am grateful. I am enjoying the freedom to choose the clients I will work with. The freedom to choose the tools I will use. The freedom to structure my business the way I desire in order to best serve those who are the most important to it, my clients.

Our clients also enjoy these freedoms.

They are free to choose who they will do business with. I’ve read numerous studies and surveys telling us how we should position ourselves. Many of these analyze what clients are looking for in an advisor. Often, we overlook the simplest observation. People want a competent, ethical, and caring person. This leads to trust and people do business with those they trust and like.

I experienced this first hand in a recent client meeting. Without going into the details, the client demonstrated a great deal of trust in me. In the course of my explaining a particular planning strategy, he stated, “Mike, in the end I want you to tell me what I should do.” This is trust at the highest level and is where we’d all like to be. So how do you get there? I think you have to study and learn. Become the very best at what you do. Then do it with the utmost integrity. Never lie–including stretching the truth–never omit relevant information, always treat clients with respect, and never forget, it’s the clients that make you successful. When you operate in an ethical way and exhibit competence, the sky is the limit. I am excited about the future. Next week I’ll report more on my progress and the specifics of my practice. Stay tuned and I look forward to your comments.