The Wisdom of What We Do

John Stephens, MD, MBA, CFA, CFP®

Mar 13, 2023

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always enjoyed learning, and, even to this day, learning energizes and excites me in a unique way. The world around us is magnificent if you stop, look around and take it all in. However, something I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is recognizing when to share what I’ve learned. Sharing knowledge empowers me but, not everybody is open to receiving information.

As an advisor at TCI, people often seek us out because they are interested in our expertise. Therefore, we’re often sharing knowledge of investments and financial planning, but for us that’s only the beginning. If you’re open to it, what truly motivates TCI is being able to share our wisdom outside of portfolios and asset management. At TCI we’ve found that adding wisdom to our relationships leads to deeper connections with our clients and more meaningful investment experiences.

The Difference Between Knowledge and Wisdom

Knowledge and wisdom feel similar, but when you define them, according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, some differences emerge:

  • Knowledge: “the sum of what is known: the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by humankind”
  • Wisdom: “ability to discern inner qualities and relationships, good sense”

How Does Wisdom Influence Wealth Management?

There are many reasons that lead people to choose the financial journey they feel is right for them. Over the years, I’ve witnessed clients selecting wealth managers that align with their own internal wisdom. Many different styles of advisors exist, and we all have the knowledge to manage a portfolio, but the wisdom offered by an advisor can vary tremendously based on many different factors including life experience, age, location and career stage–to name a few. All these factors have the ability shape your financial journey.

Years ago, a client called me wanting to do a Roth conversion and I told him I didn’t think it was a good idea. He was surprised by my response and pressed me further. “Do you say ‘no’ often to these requests?” I told him I regularly say “yes” and proceeded to tell him why, for his specific situation, I didn’t think it was a good idea. It would have been easy to appease the client. What they wanted done to their portfolio would not have made sense because of where he was on the way to accomplishing his goals. During this exchange it was an opportunity to draw on wisdom instead of knowledge.

Changing Perceptions of Advisors

At TCI we firmly believe that the job of an advisor goes above and beyond looking after the portfolio and assets, we want to make sure the person behind the portfolio is taken care of and working towards accomplishing their goals. At some larger firms they frown when Advisors provide advice outside of finances, while TCI has been doing this since our earliest client meetings in the 90s. In fact, some of my favorite client conversations have started with, “This isn’t really about my money, but do you have any thoughts on…”

One of the driving forces behind everything we do is being there to provide our wisdom when you need it most. When you’re a client of TCI, you get access to our collective knowledge and wisdom. (Even if you’re not a client, we’re still happy to talk with you.) Everyone at TCI is here to exceed your expectations of everything you’d expect to us to do, such as account withdrawals, communicating with your CPA, ensuring you’re filling out the proper paperwork and notarizing documents, to name a few.  Yet, depending on what life throws at you we can share thoughts on how to help your kids select the right college, work through whether you have time to coach youth basketball and talk about that misunderstanding from the last family function. Life comes with a lot of grey areas, and we recognize how beneficial it is to have an objective team to turn to when the path isn’t clearly visible. 

It’s Not About the Money

No TCI blog is complete without reiterating this: wealth management should not be about the money.

As Advisors, our goal is to use our collective wisdom (and knowledge) to help you accomplish your goals–money is the vehicle. Earlier this year I mentioned to a client about a trip I planned to Africa. Unbeknownst to me, she and her family always wanted to travel to Africa but felt overwhelmed and didn’t know where to start planning. Later that day, when I got home, I sent her contact information of someone who could help book a safari and a copy of my complete itinerary. It took no time whatsoever to share this information and it helped them get slightly closer to accomplishing one of their dreams. We’ve been in touch a few times since the initial conversation, and it seems like they’re planning to go next year.

People work their whole lives so they can enjoy their money one day. We want to help you do it! Money is not meant to be stacked and counted; it should be used to accomplish whatever you want. So, do not stand still when it’s your time to decumulate your assets. Try that new hobby. Take that trip you’ve always wanted. Donate to your favorite charity. Life is meant to be explored and lived within the financial framework of your plan.

Partners with Some Answers

It should be noted that even though we are offering our wisdom, it may not be right for your situation and by no means do you have to take it. We have calculated guesses that the wisdom we’re providing will be helpful, and if we don’t know the answers we’re going to try and figure it out by getting in touch with the people who do have the answers.

We believe the relationship between client and Advisor is a partnership. We want you to learn from our wisdom, but we also want to learn from the wisdom you’ve accumulated and are comfortable sharing. The people who make up Team TCI are curious and eager to learn because we embrace not having all the answers. Frankly, when it comes to the big things in life, we believe that the answers tend to lie within, we just don’t know them yet. At TCI, we have a tremendous team full of people who have lived full lives and gathered wisdom along the way. It is our pleasure to share this wisdom with you, if you’re open to it. Our approach tends to be different than some in the wealth management industry and we wouldn’t have it any other way. This is our own idea about how wisdom and wealth management should overlap. We’ve been doing this long enough to know that this approach is not for everyone, and we are happy to keep our oversight to your assets and portfolios. However, if you are interested in having these conversations with your TCI Team, please ask whatever’s on your mind.

Get new blog posts in your inbox:


Share this Post:

Contact Headshot Image

Let's talk.

Curious to see if we’re a good fit for each other? All it takes is a brief conversation with a TCI advisor to find out. Fill out the form below to have an advisor contact you. We’d love to hear from you.

(877) 733-1859

Your Name

Phone Number

Email address

ZIP code