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GPS for Advisors

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To succeed in life, a person has to know his place. That means calculating and constantly recalculating where you stand in relation to the world around you.

I have been giving quite a bit of thought to my own place of late. That is because, dear reader, I will be moving on from my happy home at Research after more than 18 years as editor of this publication.

This transition is occasioned by personal and familial considerations that have prompted me to make a very big move, geographically speaking and otherwise, to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. While today’s technological tools would enable me to perform my job from anywhere, in truth I didn’t want to just change my location but change my life too.

This plan to change my place (i.e., location) has helped me to assess my proper place (i.e., role) in the world. As editor of an advisor trade publication for nearly two decades, I’ve learned a thing or two about the business.

I have come to see that it is like a very crowded marketplace with merchants and media shouting and blaring their not infrequently conflicting messages from the chaos of their stalls and booths, tripping passersby with their shiny wares.

Time in these stalls or advisor-conference lecture halls is often misused—wasted on trivia that do not add to knowledge or growth.

When an advisor encounters something of genuine importance, the inspiration is apt to dissipate like so much vapor exhaled on a winter day—usually from the moment the advisor gets back to the office and starts returning phone calls. In other words, advisors quite easily lose their place.

Broker-dealers, for their part, could also show more sensitivity to the proper place of an advisor. But a tough economy places these firms under tremendous pressure, and they in turn bear down on their advisors with not so subtle pressure to sell in a fashion that tends to undercut the advisor’s authority as a financial planner or retirement expert.

Clients and prospects also inhabit a noisy marketplace and often encounter advisors pushing investment information on them that they are not yet prepared to hear. Sensitive advisors understand they must hold back until the time is right. In other words, wisdom is knowing your place.

My new goal will be to help advisors make the most of their place, stay on track and enhance their stature in the eyes of clients and prospects. As an independent writer and consultant, my role will be to help advisors set their agendas, build their careers and filter out a lot of noise and nonsense.

For those seeking a path toward personal and professional growth, it would be my pleasure to accompany you in your journey in a more personal way, from my new place online (, than I have heretofore been able to do.

Meanwhile at Research, I can offer the assurance that you’re in very good hands with my highly esteemed and long-time editorial colleagues Janet Levaux and Ken Silber, our new editor-in-chief and executive editor, respectively (with Chris Nicholls continuing in his masterful role as art director).

Superb journalists all, they are the perfect team to “re-place” me.


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