Some 118 miles south of St. George, Utah, nestled in a desert basin covered in concrete, you’ll find the glittering oasis of excess known as Las Vegas.
You know you’re in a foreign land the moment you step off the plane at McCarran International Airport. Long before the heat outside threatens your mortality, the one-armed bandits sing a familiar song just outside your gate.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! DingaDingaDingaDingaDingaDingaDingaDing!
It’s the sound of #winning, a sound that draws you in to its clanging melody, but before you can enter the mini-casino, you see an oversized billboard (and they’re all oversized in Vegas) of an alluring woman wearing a bulleted brassiere. A gun slung over one shoulder, she beckons you to come shoot assault weapons with her. You look over your own shoulder to see if anyone notices you looking at the billboard, but you’ve already forgotten the most important rule—this is Vegas, and no one cares.
After grabbing your luggage at the airport, you step outside to hail a cab and briefly feel your clothes melt to your skin in the 104 degree temperature. There is no breeze to cool you off in Vegas—only hot air.
In a world filled with financial and moral unrest, the insurance industry—nay, our industry!—stands alone in providing lifetime guarantees of safety in retirement. It’s only as your taxi approaches a video billboard of the prop comic Carrot Top punching himself in the face that you ask yourself an obvious and unavoidable question: “Why I am in Vegas in August, putting myself at such risk?” Confessions
“You cannot step into the same river twice.” Heraclitus
I have a confession to make: Danger is everywhere in Vegas—even where you least expect it.
When I rolled out of bed the first morning of Advisor Network Summit, I tried on a suit I hadn’t worn since the show the previous year. For the last couple of weeks, my wife asked, then pleaded, that I try on the suit, just in case.
Then the morning of the event came and something that resembled a panic attack hit me as I tried zipping up the pants. They fit, sort of, thanks to the extra stretchy fabric of Mr. Jos. A Bank, but I learned a valuable lesson that would be repeated by speakers throughout the day:
“These are volatile times. Prepare for your future.”
“Greece is failing. Puerto Rico is failing. China is messing with their currency.”
“The stock market is a fool’s errand.”