It’s 2001 and I’m 20 years old; a sophomore in college. We’re out late (too late) and Friday night is winding down. We weren’t saints that night, but we weren’t out causing trouble either. In hindsight, I could’ve made better decisions and not been out at 1 AM with that crowd, but we’re simply doing what college kids do on Fridays…
“I’m outta here.” I said to a couple people, as I walked out the door, down the stairs and headed through the parking lot.
Then, before I ever caught a glimpse of something coming, a fist landed above my left eye. Then another to the stomach, then a third back to the eye. I stumbled back, but didn’t drop. And for sure I was dazed. Adrenaline kicked in and as I looked up, two guys I’d never seen were hollering things I won’t repeat. One of them was about my size, maybe a little smaller. But the other was bigger. Much bigger. And I was in a bad spot.
As I backed up and tried to make sense of everything, they kept yelling things about me being with one of their girlfriends. Apparently she lived close by and they thought I’d just left her building. Yes, I did come out of her building. But no, I wasn’t seeing her. I was in a different room with friends just before I’d left. I tried telling them that and you can imagine how that went. Mumbled thoughts and adrenaline flowing through everyone. But… somehow they listened. Somehow they didn’t keep throwing fists. There were a lot more choice words and threats. But between my words and the blood they saw flowing around my left eye, those guys decided to back off. I guess they’d made their point.
Fast forward to today and I’m scared for you.
I’m scared that as you’ve been gathering client’s money and allocating pieces towards equity investments (AUM), you’ve only felt prosperity. Alongside the client, you’ve both exclusively experienced the good times. I’m scared there’s too much money in the system, it’s too loose, and too many people lack perspective.
And one of these days…
Whether it’s next month – or next quarter – whether it’s next year – or three years from now…
You’re about to leave that building, walk through the parking lot and get punched in the face! I’m scared you’ll never see it coming. Then maybe a couple more punches will follow, maybe they won’t. Maybe you’ll drop to the ground, maybe you won’t. Maybe the threats will back off, maybe they won’t.
But maybe, just maybe, there’s something more you can do about it. You can see the punch coming. So when those two guys come around the corner, you’re ready. The best financial advisers in the country will be prepared. They’re initiating conversations today about perspective, proper (re)allocations, and setting everyone up mentally and strategically for whenever that market correction hits. All the success, all the prosperity, the market gains and how flush the system is with capital – all those are amazing factors to be grateful for – if they’re used right.
But don’t be lazy. Don’t be unprepared. Don’t sit back and play defense (or look the other way) today. If you do, then you have no one to blame but yourself when that fist is headed your way.
I’ve still got a scar above my left eye to remember that night.
More than anything, it’s a reminder to make good decisions about who I’m around and what the situation is. I won’t allow myself in that position again. But will it take a painful scar – for you and your most importantly your clients – before you learn your lesson? Or can you be ready, starting today?