While on a cruise, I got a painful, but much needed, bamboo massage. The therapist used hot oils to prepare my skin and muscles, then she proceeded to use a rolling pin-like bamboo instrument on me. It hurt, but it was the most beneficial and pain-relieving massage I’d ever experienced.
As I checked out of the spa, I signed the bill, which included a modest tip. I decided to add an additional tip for the therapist, and she handed it back to me, pointing out that a gratuity had already been added. I said I saw the gratuity but added some extra for the great massage.
She looked at me and questioned, “For me?” I nodded affirmatively, and she rigorously shook my hand. She went on to tell me that she had worked for the Royal family in Saudi Arabia until joining the spa franchise, and where her family lives now, one dollar will by five meals.
That’s when perspective hit me squarely in the face.
I felt grateful to even have the option of getting a massage from this woman. And, I felt grateful to live in an economy as robust as ours, to be in the financial position to go on a great vacation with friends, have nice dinners and never worry about where my next meal was coming from.
As the day went on, I began to think about the value we bring to people as financial professionals. Much of our society isn’t that different from the massage therapist – a small increase in money can be very meaningful. While it’s not as extreme as her family’s situation, millions Americans face the challenge of living paycheck to paycheck.
More importantly, millions of Americans are NOT planning for a retirement that might include health care needs, inflation and longevity risks. How quickly will our country look like this woman’s homeland where too many people aren’t able to enjoy the fruits of their labor?
I take pride in our staff and the work we do for our clients. And, I’m grateful our profession can have such a positive impact on so many people in the United States. However, there is much more work to be done, challenges to face, and biases to eliminate.
Our industry – for all its faults – remains one of the most prestigious in the country. But regulators will continue to attack us due to the actions of an extremely small percentage of institutions and their employees – no different from any other industry. No matter what, we can control how we react and help Americans in the future.
Let’s keep what we do in perspective and take pride in helping our neighbors make meaningful change in their financial lives.
Throughout life, you gain perspective from people you meet. We should take pride in helping people reach financial goals, no matter how large or small. Take time to reflect on your business, and be grateful and proud of the work you are doing.
Mike McGlothlin is the Executive Vice President of Annuities at Ash Brokerage. His strength is helping advisors become more efficient and effective in their businesses. He and his team provide income-planning solutions focused on longevity and tax efficiency, and they also assist advisors with entering defined-benefit termination planning and structured settlement markets.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.