The start of football season is my favorite time of year. The weather starts turning to crisp fall air, the smell of chili fills my home, and from Thursday through Monday, football is being played. Although football season starts in September, the best teams prepare for months for the upcoming season. Throughout the off season – film is broken down, practice plans are drawn up, and game schemes are created.
One of the most critical relationships within any team is that of the coach and quarterback. If those two are not aligned, it greatly reduces the chance of success. We have found that this same type of critical relationship exists between clients who work in the financial services industry (private equity, investment banking, and asset management) and their financial advisor. By working with an advisor who can become the financial quarterback of your team, it allows you the ability to free up time and energy to focus on your day-to-day business and family.
Many of the benefits that an advisor provides are the same benefits that quarterbacks offer their coaches when they are on the field to help drive their team to victory:
Creating a game plan and executing the strategy: Before the game, the quarterback and coaches determine their strategy. They agree on the correct ratio of run to pass and what tempo they want to play. A very similar conversation occurs with our clients who are in the financial industry. We discuss the appropriate amount of risk, taking into account both their portfolio and their specific employment risk often in the form of restricted stock, carried interest, or ownership in their business. The conversation surrounding the game plan and risk management becomes a key tenet towards building a solid financial plan.
Put the best players in the right positions: No quarterback would line up their wide receiver at running back or put their lineman at the wide receiver position. A good advisor ensures that they work to position their players and utilize them to the best of their ability. Building out the financial team with the appropriate estate planning attorney, accountant, or other professionals is critical. Once the team is created, it is then vital to ensure that they all contribute and stay aligned with the game plan. The financial situations of financial service professionals often times add layers of complexity that require a team effort to manage. Enabling a central figure to coordinate these efforts helps to save a lot of time and frustration.
Be comfortable with an audible: Every well thought out game plan is not impervious to change. The opposing team could do something unexpected or there could be a key injury, which causes the plan to change. Being flexible throughout the planning process is important. This becomes even more impactful when working with financial service professionals as business cycles, employment, and stages in life are ever changing. Being nimble and thoughtful to a changing environment is vital when working with an advisor. Your life doesn’t stand still, so neither should your planning.
Football is a game that offers some great parallels to the financial industry. The competition is fierce, but if you are well prepared with a great coach-quarterback relationship, it can lead to consistent success. When choosing someone to partner with, you should focus on having a quarterback who can create a strategy, work with the best players, and be comfortable with change. So as the football season ramps up, I hope you root for your favorite team, but also ensure that your personal financial team is being led by a great quarterback.
Matt Kocanda, is a Senior Advisor at BDF and a member of the Investment Committee. The investment committee develops BDF’s overall investment strategy. Matt focuses on advising Financial Service Professionals through their complex needs – including cash flow, tax, or estate planning. Matt received an undergraduate degree in Finance from Indiana University.