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What I Learned at Future Proof

I recently had the opportunity to attend Future Proof, the world’s largest wealth festival. Why is it called a festival? Well, it’s held in Huntington Beach’s parking lot, so you can see the ocean as you walk around, one of the evenings they host a concert (the main acts this year were Method Man and Red Man from the Wu-Tang Clan), and for most of the conference there were booths serving drinks to the guests (I can honestly say I didn’t have any drinks DURING the festival – I was there to work). Many attendees wore Bermuda shorts, sunglasses, Hawaiian shirts, and sandals. It was a far cry from your normal financial “conference.”

It was great to see the diversity of the crowd. Young advisors hungry to make their mark. Older advisors still eager to learn and grow. I would also say this was probably the most evenly split conference between men and women I’ve ever been to. I enjoy seeing our industry embrace the diversity that it’s been lacking for far too long.

As for my main takeaways, I have three:

What is your WHY?

Multiple presenters brought up this question asking attendees to really think about why we do what we do. For me, the reason I love working in wealth management and especially at KWB is that we get to serve so many clients and touch so many lives. Helping people is at the core of KWB Wealth, and I believe the more people we can serve with expertise and empathy in our profession, the better the world can be for future generations.

Do Less, Better

This was also hit on by multiple speakers. This applies to many different things in our business - marketing, client communication, and growing our firm. When it comes down to it, we only have so much time in the day, and we are great at certain things and less great at others. It’s time to focus on what we do best, what our clients appreciate the most, and delegate or remove the other stuff.

Focus on What Never Changes

Morgan Housel, author of The Psychology of Money, has a new book coming out this year called Same as Ever. His new book focuses on group psychology and what never changes when it comes to human beings. Morgan talked about fear and greed, burnout, and early retirement. My favorite takeaway was that for the last three years Morgan has told himself that he’s going to take the entire month of December off, from writing, from thinking about writing, all of it. He said the first week of December is usually great. Then the second week, he gets bored and by the third week, he’s in depression. I thought about how this correlates with newly retired folks and how they might handle that transition.  Finding something fulfilling is necessary for the human mind to function, so how can we help our clients when that transition inevitably comes?

I had a great time at Future Proof and I can’t wait to get back into the office, sit down with our team, and discuss how to implement some of these takeaways. It’s always great to get out to a conference, re-energize, meet new people, and find great ideas to put into practice.

~ Steve Gormley