As we enter the holiday season and markets are in a far more pleasant mood than this time last year, it is easy to feel wealthier. But defining wealth is more nuanced than the value of your portfolio. It is the questions you ask yourself and others about what wealth means to you that are far more illuminating.
At Davis Rea, we create portfolios and plans that help you manage your financial wealth. We are a fiduciary which means that we must always act with your best interests first. To do that, we must go beyond questioning what the right investments are for you given your risk tolerance or investment timeline. We must start by getting to know you, by asking the right questions to understand your needs and values. As wealth managers, it is only once we understand where you are and where you want to go that we can implement the proper investment techniques.
What does wealth mean to your family?
Over the holiday season, my family and I will spend some time defining what wealth means to us. The easy answers are love, health, and family. I will endeavor to delve more deeply than we have in the past into these areas, talking about the meaning and purpose of, for example, family, and thinking about what wealth means to our family. Doing this may allow for a more nuanced discussion around how we feel about wealth. I think it will leave all of us more informed and confident about the plans we have and the paths we walk. The questions we ask each other and the answers we share can only serve to make us wealthier in ways that money cannot measure.
Family and wealth are tightly intertwined, and for parents there is no greater goal than to see our children flourish in a life of abundance. At Davis Rea, we feel strongly that helping our clients manage their financial wealth is just one part of the job. We also assist our clients in helping the next generation understand wealth, both how to think about it and how to care for it. Together, we can devise a plan that encompasses family priorities and financial strategies, helping to educate future generations and sustain your family’s financial wealth into the future. It is an iterative process that must be facilitated with intention, discipline, and care, and one we’re proud to be trusted to help our clients with.
The path forward
In a world that looks terribly discordant, it is important to stick to your plan and keep your mind on the future. When we are bombarded with so much overwhelming news and information the risk of us being blown off our individual paths is high.
On any given day we’re faced with news of global warming, the growing wealth disparity, mountains of global debt that now total $250 trillion, the rise of artificial intelligence, stagnant wages, and a host of other depressing stories that are all being screamed at us by a press desperately competing against Facebook for our attention. Listening to all this, it’s easy to grow pessimistic and question even the best-laid plans.
It can be comforting to remember that while the stories we read and the characters we follow have always changed throughout history, they tend to follow consistent themes. In his book The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories, Christopher Booker wrote, “There are indeed a small number of plots which are so fundamental to the way we tell stories that it is virtually impossible for any storyteller ever to break away from them.” He names the plots as Overcoming Monsters, Rags to Riches, The Quest, Voyage and Return, Rebirth, Comedy, and Tragedy.
I am sure that if you were to put any news story occupying our attention today into one of these seven categories, we could begin to make sense not just of the plot but also the likely outcome. It serves as a needed reminder that what we’re living through today has likely been seen in the past. This makes our world somewhat less confusing and thus may help alleviate stress or provide a path forward. The path is always winding and uncertain, but the path has always led us advancing into a new future.
I would encourage you all this holiday season to talk to those you love about what wealth is. It is only by understanding what drives you and makes you feel wealthy that you’ll be able to make plans that serve your family, ultimately finding your own best path forward.