by Sarah Hannibal

I recently read the book Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes. Shonda is a hit TV show writer and producer who realized she was turning down dozens of amazing invites each year because they scared her. When her sister told her one Thanksgiving, “You say no to everything,” Shonda vowed to say yes to everything that scared her for one year. The results of her year were amazing.  The book is full of great life lessons and Shonda has a razor sharp wit – I highly recommend it.

Ritz Carlton, Cleveland OH

With this in mind, when I was asked to be the chairperson for the Ohio Private Wealth Forum held last week, I closed my eyes, thought of Shonda, and said “Yes.”  I had to give an introduction, introduce each panel and give the closing remarks. The audience was mostly investment professionals and client advisers from independent financial firms in Ohio.  There were 9 Panel Discussions on topics ranging from Asset Allocation to Family Governance. There were 39 panelists who were CIOs, CEOs, Attorneys, Tax specialists, and tenured client advisers. I was also one of the panel moderators.

Large group public speaking is not something I do often and I generally find myself ill at ease in front of large groups.  I softened my nerves with rigorous preparation.  Worst case scenario, I knew I could read loud and clear.

I was looking forward to hearing opinions and investment strategies that are different than the ones we have at Walden Wealth Partners.   I listened carefully and took notes to bring back to share with Karin, who happened to be in Dallas speaking at the Invest in Women Conference in Dallas.  My favorite soundbites I took back to the office that day were:

  • “Our job is to reframe what reasonable expectations are.”
  • We want to be “communication heavy” in this environment.
  • 70% of the world’s indebtedness is denominated in US $.
  • If you aren’t including taxes in your decisions, you are missing 33% of the opportunities.
  • We collectively don’t spend enough time looking at after tax returns.
  • At age 70, Gift annuities pay 6%.
  • People need to hear things 7 times before they understand it.
  • “The worst thing you can do for someone is something they can do for themselves.”
  • “The BS Markets have not performed as well.” (Taken out of context: The speaker was referring to Mortgage Backed, Asset Backed, etc.)

I believe there is ALWAYS room to improve client experiences. Ongoing learning helps us serve clients with more insight. Ultimately, the better ideas and solutions we present, the better our client discussions, relationships and results.