I recently had the opportunity to listen in at a roundtable for financial advisors, as they talked about their concerns regarding the current state of the financial markets and how their clients are dealing with it. Worry, dread and angst seemed to win out over the “glass is half full” crowd. Heads all began nodding in unison when one advisor mentioned how painful it was to go over the statement for one of his retired clients — knowing that the value of the client’s account was down considerably.
I couldn’t help but think how unsettling it must be to plan meticulously to ensure that your nest egg will last at least as long as you do, only to discover that it very well might not. Many of us, myself included, may not live long enough to see our market values return back to the levels they were in the good old days. So what can we do?
The answer is simple: We need to shorten our lifespan.
If you can’t recoup your clients’ losses in a reasonable amount of time, then, as their financial advisor, maybe you should encourage them to take up fun-filled, extremely dangerous hobbies. After all, who doesn’t want to check out of this world with their boots on and their guns blazing? Personally, I would consider it an honor if, at my funeral, people were saying, “At least he went out living life to the fullest. I just wish he would have remembered to fill up the gas tank on his plane before he took off.”
The phrase “Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse!” was first uttered back in 1949 by actor John Derek in the film Knock on Any Door, which also starred Humphrey Bogart. I doubt that John or Humphrey had any idea their little catchphrase would be equally appropriate 60 years later, in 2009.
So how do you go about implementing such a program? I would suggest tying it in with your client appreciation events. For example, most of us, at one time or another, have held a client-appreciation dinner. You might offer that same dinner this year — only invite a celebrity. Some possible dinner companions might include Robert Blake, O.J. Simpson or Claus von B?low.