In this month’s cover story, “Family Ties,” three families shared their insights on why working together benefits their clients, their businesses and each other. But there are hundreds of other financial advisors working with family members out there. We talked to a few of them to get their answers to the question, “What is the most important thing you’ve learned from your family mentor?”
Jeff Taggart, CLU, CHFC, LUTCF
General Agent and Field Vice President
Northwest Wyoming AIFA
The thing I remember about my grandfather [Grant] and father [Hal] was this: “Make every occasion a great occasion, for you know not when someone is taking your measure for a higher or lower place in life.” I have often thought of that when I meet people. I think it helps me to think how important relationships can be in life. For good or for bad, we often control our own outcome.
Another poem we would often hear and laugh about was this:
When despair’s sharp edges near, go to work.
When your mind is wracked in fear, go to work.
When you’re brooding o’er the past
and the sky seem overcast,
Troubles coming thick and fast, go to work.
It goes on a bit more, but the key is “go to work.” They both loved work, but they loved the business of insurance even more, and it made me want to be like them: true heroes in life to those they came to work with. I only hope to have a small bit of the success they had.
Phil Richards, CLU, CFP, RHU
CEO and Chairman of the Board
North Star Resource Group
There are many things that I have learned in working with my son, Scott, so choosing among them is difficult. However, the single greatest of these things is the absence in ego that characterizes him, which makes him a great servant leader. The future of our organization is assured with the fluid transition to a successor who instinctively views the needs of others above his own.
Vice President of Marketing, Don Boozer & Associates
From Don, my father and business partner, I’ve learned persistence and patience. Before I entered the insurance business, I was a wine wholesaler for several years. The wine business is very price-driven and transactional. Sell wine. Get paid. You didn’t need much patience.
The insurance business, obviously, is quite different. We often do not know when, or even from where, a client or other agent working with us will present themselves. When they appear, we work the case to the best of our ability and see it through, from the initial interview until the policy is delivered. Persistence is crucial. Patience is essential. By example, Don is a great teacher of both.
Don Boozer, LUTCF
Owner, Don Boozer & Associates
Lane and I are members of the National Brokerage Consortium, an organization of 32 brokerage agencies that has it’s purpose to give each agency the ability to provide the finest products in the nation to the agents that we represent. In this group of 32 agencies, there are 18 second-generation members.
In each agency where two or more generations are represented, we found that the most difficult task was making the transition from the way that it has always been done by the first generation to the generation that must find a new way of doing it in order to compete in the market of the future. We found out from Lane and the other 17 members that we have to approach the future with a completely different mindset than we have in the past. Where our claim to fame in the past might have been the service that we provide and the companies that we represent, the driving force today is to deliver that service at the speed of light and to do it effectively.
Because of the technical challenges in making this transition, some of our agencies would have been hard-pressed to compete in the future. However, Lane and his peers bring us the technical skills and the marketing savvy to make all of the necessary transitions and to do so on a timely basis. The next generation is able to grasp the new frontier, while my generation might not even notice that the times have changed. We need the fresh young minds in our business to take the reins and lead us forward.
As my old friend John Coffman used to say, “There they go. I must hurry and catch them, for I am their leader.”