Utility of Money
Updated: Aug 30
In recent years, many have felt the challenges of high inflation, high crime, high gas prices, and other mismanaged policies we don’t have much personal control over. If you watch the news, read the newspaper or consume media headlines anywhere, it often feels there is very little good news.
At PCA, my team and I have the benefit of getting to know so many great families. Every family has their own challenges, triumphs, dreams, and disappointments. My learned experience, helping others for 33 years, has been that health is most people’s #1 priority, followed by financial security as their #2 priority.
Some of our clients have had spouses and relatives pass away this year, and others have had serious health issues of their own. We have limited control over our health and generally seek professionals to assist in our wellness. I’ve been witness to people fighting the odds to overcome, and sometimes lose, health battles. I’ve witnessed the resilience of those who’ve lost loved ones, often unexpectedly. I’ve listened to those that were “saving [their] money for a rainy day” that never came, as I encouraged them to enjoy their wealth until they no longer had this choice.
The experiences my team and I gain from serving our PCA families is so very unique to our chosen work. We get to know most clients more than their own family members. With our clients, we work through life’s decisions and gain an appreciation for how different people have different values and priorities. It is often said, within my industry, that we are in an “intangible business” whereby our “product” cannot be tasted, touched, test-driven, etc. We believe our interactions, expertise, strategy planning, listening, and authentic interest in the well-being of the families we serve, if not “tangible”, is certainly impactful.
I would never want to be a physician for many reasons, so the only way I may assist someone with their #1 priority is to share good fitness, health habits, and diet suggestions as an amateur. As a professional dedicated to assisting good people with their #2 priority, I cannot think of a family we serve that has been negatively impacted financially, by inflation, stock market downturns, and the economy as a whole.
Account values go up and down, however when I refer to “financial impact” I’m referring to a client continuing to be able to do what they want to do, regardless of a stock market downturn, increased inflation, or a negative economy forecast. One of our company’s core values is “We believe little things matter a lot”. A “little thing” that I believe PCA emphasizes well beyond other financial industry firms, is your “Utility of Money.” Money is ink on paper; a way of keeping score for many, and it can't be taken with you when you die. You either use your wealth, as you prefer while you are alive, or someone else will use your wealth as they prefer after you die.
We all love higher account values and higher rates of return, but your “Utility” of wealth is measured in how your wealth positively impacts your life. This is your plan. Your plan isn’t a number. Your plan is your “end” while money is one of many “means” to your plan/end. The strategies are different in driving a high utility rate on your money, as the focus is generally efficiency. Ask any engineer – improving efficiency is more difficult than increasing output. Improving a client’s wealth utility and efficiency demands more questions, listening, research, strategy, and adjustments to life’s unpredictable events.
So keep your eyes on your family’s prize (lifestyle objectives and timing). You handle priority #1 while allowing the PCA team to focus on your priority #2.