Scott Hanson and Pat McClain record a special Money Matter’s segment where they reveal to listeners a little-known truth about money.
Scott: You know, Pat, a lot of people talk about financial independence. Our industry talks about financial independence. Becoming financially independent, right? I remember when I first started working in this sector right out of college, and I had to memorize, it was like a script, like a playbook ... on selling financial plans, essentially. I was selling financial plans, and I had this book, I guess that they called it. I forget what the stats were, but it was all about financial independence, and people don't plan to fail, they fail to plan. And it had to do with financial independence.
Pat: But I think there's a fallacy with the word "financial independence."
Scott: Well, it's...
Pat: Whatever that means, right, financial...independent of what? You're going to be independent of your finances at some point in time? Financially independent? So I know people of modest means, and I know people that have phenomenal means, and neither one of them is ever financially independent. They...both groups think about, worry about, are concerned about their money, but for different reasons. The people with lots of money often worry about legacy. Right? They worry about...
Pat: Protecting it.
Scott: Protecting it.
Pat: They don't want to change their lifestyle.
Scott: I have a vacation home, and I don't want to give that up. Lincoln Financial Group did a study, showed 53 percent of the people they surveyed worried about having enough money to last their retirement, but even of those who were relatively well off, retirees who had over a million dollars saved up, 48 percent said they were worried about having enough money to live on for the rest of their years in comfort. So, still, even the people with a million bucks were worried about running out of money.
Pat: Yup, and I think it has more to do with stewardship.
Scott: And I think we've seen over the years, as a person’s net worth grows their financial security is kind of fleeting. They're like, "Once I have this much money; I'd feel much more secure." I remember years ago talking to a client. This particular client was always nervous, always worried, always worried about...didn't matter. Lives off a very small percentage of the income, so there's no way they should ever run out of money, and I'm having this conversation. I said, "Suzy," I said, "Even if you had another zero behind this, you would feel exactly the way you do today." She says, "No, I don't think so." I said, "Yes, you would because you already have way more than you need now, and you're worried about it. Add another zero to it; it's not going to..."
Pat: Well that might be one of the reasons she actually has that much money, is because she worried about it.
Scott: Hence the point, financial independence is kind of fleeting.
Pat: It is fleeting. It is fleeting.
Scott: So I was recently at a ... I was on a panel. It was me and this other individual. We were both ranked in the top 100 of independent advisers in the country by Barron’s magazine. So we're speaking, they had us speak at this conference...
Pat: How was that conference? I've never been. I'm going to go one day.
Scott: I wasn't at the conference, they had me speak somewhere else.
Pat: Oh, got it.
Scott: Speaking to a group of Canadian financial advisers for whatever reason. And this other gentleman on the panel...Now at Hanson McClain, we pride ourselves on the fact that we work with a lot of everyday Americans. We have several hundred clients who have more than a million dollars invested with our firm, we have a lot of larger clients, but we also have a lot of clients that have $500,000 or ... you know, not...
Pat: Yeah, $250,000, $750,000.
Scott: A lot of clients like that. But this particular individual specialized with people that were $25 million and above, and so he was talking hedge funds, private placement this, private equity that, lot of limited partner structures. He said the typical client has 30 different holdings.
Pat: That's not helping life.
Scott: And I just thought...
Pat: You've made it complicated.
Scott: ...30? Made it really complicated.
Pat: Doesn't have to be that complicated.
Scott: I thought, why in the world does it need to be that complicated? Maybe to try to justify his existence and his fees and whatnot? 30 different holdings?
Pat: But even at that level, the idea of financial independence. And financial independence, it's more about happiness and contentment for most people.
Scott: And some of it is accepting that you are where you are.
Scott: That's a lot of it.
Pat: Yeah, and for many people it's...I have clients right now that are in their mid-70s. The thing that gives them happiness now is actually helping charities. Helping charities. And for them, now they have...So maybe they have actually gotten to the point where they're comfortable enough to actually write large checks. Actually, we transfer assets because there's tax ramifications that are more positive than writing large checks, but anyway …
Scott: I think financial independence can be had. A lot of it is truly a state of mind, not just necessarily what their net worth statement says.