I’ve always been intrigued by financial advisors. It was one of the few careers where people are always asking each other, “How much money do you make?” Of course, they’re not that obvious. They say things like, “What did you gross last year?” or “What are your assets under management?”
Once they have this coveted information, they quickly do the math in their head … all the while acting like they’re interested in what you’re saying. Within seconds, most can figure out, within about 50 cents, what your monthly take-home pay is.
With this information in hand, they determine whether or not you’re full of BS. Generally, if your income is less than theirs, they feel superior and everything you say is mortally flawed. If your income is higher (and only then) you get their respect and they assume you know what you’re talking about. At that point, your conversation becomes much more interesting.
This environment can lead to envy and jealousy. Think about the last big broker conference you went to. You knew who all the big hitters were, didn’t you? Didn’t you feel a tinge of jealousy about how much money they were making? A little? If only you had the same breaks they did (is usually what I thought).
A million years ago, when I was wholesaling I met an advisor on his company’s “Grand Awards Trip.” He was one of the top reps in his firm. He made a ton of money, had his pretty little wife and 2.3 perfect children. I’m sure his dog never pooped in the house either. I used to think, “Wow, what a life this guy has. I wish …”
Five years later, I had moved on and lost touch with this advisor. When I got back in touch with some of my old friends at the rep’s firm, I learned he was no longer there. Apparently he had sold a ton of private placements that went into the toilet. He started boozing and his wife left him. I’m not sure, but I think he’s managing a Hooters restaurant now. The money’s not as good but he gets all the chicken wings he can eat.