Home Team: What Football and Personal Boards of Directors Have in Common
Whenever I sit down with a client, I look to provide a truly concierge service. This goes beyond a traditional loan officer’s role, and ultimately led to my nickname of “the Mortgage Concierge.” I believe in working together with my clients’ full team of advisors to ensure that we are all on the same page - a client’s wishes for both the present and the future should always be approached with a clear, collaborative effort from all parties.
Given my lifelong diehard dedication to the NFL, the other portmanteau you might not know about me is “the Running Back of Mortgage Lending.” Once I sit down with a client, I work quickly and efficiently to secure what I’ve been handed off by my client to run a glorious ninety-yard dash to a triumphant touchdown.
But as we all know about football, the strongest teams aren’t just about these rockstar moments - it’s about holistic collaboration between elite players to bring about the strongest victories. Your personal board of directors should be no different, so check out some of the star athletes I encourage all of my clients to have on their home team:
Real Estate Wealth Management – This is obviously the spot that I proudly fill for my clients. Far too often, we see clients who have previously gone to another lender or brokerage firm, having unfortunately obtained a mortgage that often does not fit with their actual needs. Lenders frequently sell rate, and try to shoehorn clients into standard cookie-cutter mortgages. But mortgages are not one size fits all, and a client who is considering investing in real estate needs a much more tailored approach. It is essential for a good lender to know all aspects of a client’s plans, and make recommendations accordingly.
Tax Planning – Your safety, or basal line of defense. You may be aware that a rather significant tax package was recently passed by Congress and signed into law. Having read it in detail, I can tell you it is absolutely essential that you are working with someone who possesses a full, demonstrative understanding of the new regulations, and protects you accordingly. So if you don’t happen to already be a homeowning CPA with a robust investment portfolio, I strongly urge you to have a trusted accountant to provide annual tax planning services.
Financial Advisor – Good financial advisors are common, and great financial advisors are less common. An amazing financial advisor, however, is pretty rare: think of this special breed as your Tight End. About ten years ago I was approached by one of the biggest firms in the country, and their pitch was pretty simple: a week’s worth of training and I would know everything I need to know to make a killing as a certified financial advisor. When I asked them how I could possibly know how to properly serve a client after only seven days of reviewing proprietary funds, they had no acceptable answer. And unfortunately, this practice is very common. Having a certification is simply not enough - dedication to client service and advocacy must always come first. To begin consideration of a financial advisor as someone I am willing to refer clients to, I run through a pretty straightforward checklist. Can they pass? Are they a strong blocker? ...seriously, do they push products that they receive extra compensation for instead of putting a client into a better strategy? How do they charge to earn fees? Do they offer active management for the clients that have a need for it? Do they understand how life insurance, tax planning, real property investments and estate planning work together? Do they communicate regularly with their clients about what the client’s portfolio is doing and what is going on in the client’s life that may require an adjustment of strategy?
Estate Planning Attorney – There is nothing more unpleasant than thinking about one’s own mortality. But the moment you start to achieve success, it is crucial that you have a good estate planning attorney acting as your offensive guard on your board of advisors. Far too often I sit down with a client who doesn’t have a basic estate plan put in place. There are four basic elements for an estate plan: 1. A will, 2. A trust, 3. A limited power of attorney, and 4. A medical directive. The higher your net worth, the more complex it can be, and therefore, the more knowledgeable your estate planner needs to be, whether you are 25 or 75.
Insurance – I don’t know anyone who loves paying their insurance bill. But then something happens, and they are so thrilled they have it… assuming they were properly insured in the first place. A family member recently told me that they hadn’t spoken to their insurance agent in years -- they simply kept paying the premium. I immediately advised them to fire their insurance agent. So often do people look at premiums and try to find what’s adequate or cheapest, and then ignore the policy until they buy a new car or house. Like with the other experts, you should have an insurance provider who does an annual audit for your needs. Like Goldilocks, you don’t want too much or too little, but what is just right for you. Think of your insurance specialist as your left tackle - swift and adaptable, they work a strong offense to protect the star player below...
Chairperson – As with every board of directors their needs to be someone keeping the game plan straight for all aspects. Typically, this is the client. That means you need to actively participate in ensuring all your advisors are connected, and truly understand what your goals are. For those who don’t have the time or have extremely complex situations, it is wise to bring in a professional personal or business manager to help be that quarterback.
I have spent an extraordinary amount of time refining my network to build relationships with elite service providers in many of these areas. And if I don’t know someone, I know someone who does. Contact me if you’re interested in building your dream team.