When work isn’t work

A risk of being in the risk business is that you become overly skeptical, suspicious, and hypersensitive to all the possible bad things that can happen.  We see all of the accidents, losses, and lawsuits and it’s easy to become the “Chicken Little” of the financial team.

But I don’t feel that way at all.  I find good risk management in a financial plan to be liberating, actually.  Building a responsible approach to handling risk means you can focus on going after things that excite you, that reward you, and that you would prefer to see and do.

Complaints like “insurance is expensive” or “you only buy insurance because you have to” are totally misreading the opportunity to use risk-financing as a license to pursue great things.  And I am so happy to be in this corner of the financial world where I can protect important things so families can do important things.

Photo:  Rachael McGraw, Reykjavik, Iceland

Ignorance can be expensive

Have you ever known someone who worked at a restaurant who has said, “if you knew what I know about what goes on in that kitchen, you’d never eat there”?  Would you want to know?

The insurance industry is not good at educating consumers on the workings of a rather complex financial product, a confusing contract, and all of it underwritten and priced on the insurance company’s ability to predict the future.  Instead, our industry promotes itself and sells its product with a “come on down for the best price in town” pitch.

But if there were someone you knew who said, “if you knew what I know about your insurance, you’d never do business with them”, would you want to know?

More money is made by mass marketing insurance to find consumers who fit the insurance company vs. the other way around.  And the consequence of that is that there’s no value and no benefit to you.  If you’re okay with that, you’ll be rolling the dice with your wealth just as you’ll be rolling the dice with your health if you continue to eat at that restaurant.

But we say instead, slow down the process, ask for a different opinion, expect customization, and align with an educator, not a salesman.

Photo:  Rachael McGraw, Paris

The advantage to passion

I think a predictor of whether your financial life turns out well starts when you decide who you are going to listen to.  Assuming discipline in your behaviors, following someone’s advice is going to test eventually whether you were steered in the right direction.  So deciding who will help set the course before you begin is paramount to you getting where you want to go.

I believe in outsourcing intelligence to experts, which is why I use a CPA, a lawyer, a doctor, a real estate agent, etc.  There are life-management issues where reliance on experience, wisdom, and advocacy still primarily involves a personal relationship with someone dedicated to the perfection of their craft.

And it’s on this search for a trusted relationship that you won’t find a better test of fit than to examine how passionate someone is about what they do.  I want the guy I bought my car from to love cars.  I want the company I buy my table from to love woodworking. I want my business coach to love self-improvement.  And in business I want employees who love serving, insurance companies who love to impress, and clients who love getting things done right.

The average and mediocre is no fun, no better, and no cheaper, and will eventually lead to dissatisfaction.  Skip “kinda” and surround yourself with people who are all-in on what they can do for you.

Photo: Rachael McGraw. Siena, Italy