I’m meeting with people who have been great clients for years. They have excess money, and we are looking at where to put it. For the nth year in a row, we’re going to roll over a CD, but they know I am highly averse to that in this interest-rate environment, and they have a lot more choices open to them.
We want something more aggressive and something that has a better profile for them. They laughed about it: “It only took you seven years to crack us out of our CD habit!” So it felt good to have progressed with them.
I have this tool that I call the financial dashboard. While I’m very averse to a meeting with only half of a couple, I’m meeting with just the wife because the husband has no interest in maintaining the software. She is a software geek, which I love.
She’s thrilled by the software, and says, “Oh, we need to connect to Chase.” I said, “Why Chase?” She responds, “That’s where our $19,000 in credit card debt sits, Daniel, the thing we can’t get rid of.”
What?! Thank goodness it was a GoToMeeting on the phone and she was absent from my office, because I thought I was going to jump on the table and say, “Have you been hiding $19,000 of credit card debt from me?!”
Addressing the unexpected
I refrained from saying any of that, but she said, “Yes, it’s really hard for us to kick. It goes up, it goes down.” I know so much about these people. So much. I’ve had a terrific relationship with them for a long, long time, and had no idea that sitting on the balance sheet was $19,000 of high-interest credit card debt.
If I had known, I would have recommended paying off that debt as opposed to going into a growth vehicle two weeks earlier. I thought about it a lot and came to the conclusion I felt good about: that I was innocently and honestly under-informed.
I’m glad I did the follow-up. I am now more informed and as money comes in, we’re attacking the credit card debt. I’m adjusting the counsel I’m giving them because I now have a different picture. I lamented the initial recommendation I had made, but I didn’t fault myself because I made it with what I thought was complete data.
That was a big oops. It was a lesson in making sure you have everything, but also being OK with doing the best you can with what clients give you. Going forward, one of the things I am going to ask is, “Is there anything I’m failing to ask you about? Is there anything I should know?”