Page 23 - BusinessWest May 13, 2024
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 you wanted to know what happened with the stock mar- ket back in those days, you turned on the 6 o’clock news and waited for the business segment. The world is so different right now.”
That goes for everything from the Dow, which was at or around 2,000 in the late ’80s (except for that fateful day in October 1987, when it lost 25% of its value) and is now at 38,000, to the way information is available instantly.
Too much information in some respects, said Matty, noting that the 24/7 nature of CNBC and other outlets creates higher levels of anxiety among those watching their wealth.
“Everything becomes an immediacy that they need to do something about,” he explained. “They’ll say, ‘the opening bell in seven minutes’ or ‘the most important hour of the day, the closing bell.’ They try to create anxi- ety and news out of a clock.”
This anxiety, and need to do something, certainly contributes to the wild fluctuations that have defined the markets in recent years, he said, joking that people might be better off if they waited for the 6 o’clock news. They are certainly better off with today’s financial professionals, who do far more advising than their pre- decessors did 40 years ago.
“In 1984, most folks on this side of the table were more asset managers than financial planners,” Matty explained. “Now, the term we use is ‘wealth managers,’ because with that term comes the financial planning and the estate side of things; it’s a holistic approach as opposed to just managing a slice of your assets, which is more the way the business was years ago.”
Grenier agreed and described a typical day, and typi- cal customer interaction, 40 years ago this way: “We focused on ... ‘well, we have A, B, and C for you to buy because we think it’s going to do this, that, or the other thing.’ We didn’t look at the entire person, whereas now
we are looking at the entire person, as well as their family.
“And we’re talking with them about transitioning wealth and protecting wealth,” she went on, adding that financial-services professionals are coaches, counselors, caretakers, and mediators — even if these words aren’t necessarily printed on business cards. “‘If you have a trust, is it titled properly? Are your beneficiaries up to date?’ I talk to them about all of that, whereas, when I first started, it was, ‘OK, I have this municipal bond,’ or ‘I have this stock.’”
This represents a dramatic change in this field that is still ongoing, said Matty, adding that today’s financial advisors serve in the same way Google Maps does.
“We guide people,” he said. “We need to know where you are, so let’s find out where we’re starting from. Let’s then figure out where you want to go and look at the options for getting there.”
Meanwhile, some important things haven’t changed. “Oftentimes, you’ll have these conversations with people, and they’ll say, if I die...’ And I say, ‘let’s back up a minute. There is no if, there’s only going to be a when, unless you know something that I don’t, so let’s talk about what you want to do with your money between now and then to help you accomplish your goals.’”
In other words, death and taxes are still the only cer- tainties in this business.
“The expectation is that they call, and they want the answer. It’s on-time delivery in just about any setting, including insurance.”
 Policy Makers
Turning back the clock to to 1985, when he got his start in the insurance business, Hanmer, who has been with several agencies over the decades and unretired a few years ago, said there are certainly more players in this sector, primarily because the business was in many ways easier and less costly.
“When I started in the agency, your personal lines
 Two homeroom buddies that were obviously going places...
  John Garvey
7 Gillette Avenue Springfield
John Gorm
72 Pasadena ally
Spring Street
Gorm was a quiet leader at Cat High and in our homeroom. Later, he would start BusinessWest and
eventually settle on a team that really resembles The Beatles of the business press: George, Kate, Joe,
and Melissa (who is kinda of like Ringo delivering the beat that keeps the music going). He has been a quiet
business leader and innovator ever since.
So, congrats Gorm – particularly on hiring a great team. On to another 40!
– The other JG
1500 Main Street, 24th Fl.
The Motoring Club Springfield, MA 01115
11728 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
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