When our son Jonathan graduated from Georgetown four years ago we spoke with him about putting together his own “Life Team.” This is a concept all of us should consider for ourselves as well as for our kids as they start their working careers.
A few months after graduating from college my husband Jack arranged for Jonathan to interview and be interviewed by two financial advisors, two accountants, two lawyers and two insurance professionals with the idea that he would pick one of each, assuming the professionals all agreed they would be willing to take on Jonathan as a client. Jonathan went through the process and now has his Life Team in place, hopefully for years to come. All four professional advisors have skills that Jonathan will need as his life unfolds with increased complexity.
The discussion with the professionals focused on the facts that Jonathan was just starting out, his life at that point was uncomplicated. His income modest and, as a result, the time demands he would have on his “advisors” would be minimal. The short term fees they would earn from him would be low.
The upside was that as Jonathan progressed in his career and life his need for good advice in all four area covered by his Life Team would increase rapidly as would his ability to pay for professional services. In addition, as Jonathan became comfortable with his advisors, he obviously would be recommending them to his peer group, all also successful young people on the move up the ladder. In essence Jonathan becomes a farm system developing potential new clients for his advisors.
One key to successfully using this strategy for surrounding yourself with quality life-time advisors is to pick only potential advisors that you trust implicitly either because of previous experiences with them or because of strong referrals you have received to them. It is also important to pick advisors of an appropriate age. In Jonathan’s case all members of his Life Team are in their early 40s so they will grow together with over the long haul. It is also important to pick advisors who feel totally comfortable with whatever level of client you will be starting off and then over the long term. Ideally, it makes sense to introduce the advisors to each other so that they can benefit from you bringing them together as other members of the Life Team.
I can’t imagine any younger person who would not be well served by having her or his own Life Team. Life is certainly a contact sport in which all the players need their coaches. Think about it.