More, Please, On Planners Who Have Balanced Lives

This concerns your "Raising the Bar" column in the September 2002 issue of Financial Advisor and your statement, "There is a valid reason why editors like myself tend to focus on professionals like Charlie Haines, who are exceptional and think outside the box. It‚s not simply that they make more interesting material for articles. The overarching reason is that a practitioner is likely to gain a lot more insights into the business from reading about an extraordinary firm than from an ordinary one."

While Charlie Haines (a good friend of mine, by the way) may be an exception, what I find among most planners with rapidly growing firms, even those doing innovative things, is a workaholic business owner without personal fulfillment. In selecting firms of all sizes for the "practice profiles" I write for the site, I‚ve looked for a common thread among my subjects–a business owner not only with a thriving and interesting firm, but also with a balanced life. This characteristic of success is seldom mentioned in publications like yours and, I believe, is critical to the continued prosperity of all firms. If the positive e-mail that I‚ve been swamped with since starting my column is any indication, I think I‚m right.

Dave Drucker, CFP, MBA
Albuquerque, N.M.

Loved The Haines Profile

I much enjoyed the profile of Charlie Haines (September 2002). I hope firm profiling becomes a regular part of what you do in the magazine–especially those advisors who think "outside the box."

Robert Levitt, CFP, CFA
Levitt Capital Management LLC
Boca Raton, Fla.

Great Story, But No To Business Model

Just wanted to say I thought your article on Charlie Haines was especially well organized and written. And I sure agree with you that the media should report on what the more successful firms are doing … not the stagnant ones.

Even so, I sure don‚t want to adopt the Haines business model. For openers, it is apparently not profitable! I prefer to have a differentiated approach to investment management, which is always the most visible of our services, like it or not, and to be a) good listeners and b) responsive to needs that we hear when we are being good listeners. Unless your average client has $10 million, that seems to be quite enough. It‚s not so easy, because you need to know a lot and have a good process discipline, but it has a better chance of being profitable because folks can appreciate the value added.

And our model also lets us grow … about 25% this year.

Keep up the good work.

Mike Martin, CFP, JD
Financial Advantage
Columbia, Md.