The RichLife Story ~ Beau Henderson, Founder of RichLife
I never approached financial advising as just a job. I always sought to be more than a money-mover for my clients. But after eight years of hearing the stories of nearly two thousand clients, an idea began to take shape in my mind, a new way of looking at my job. Really, in everything I do. And then two unique stories made it all come together. This is the story of how RichLife was born.
When the referral came in, I was excited to meet my new client. We’ll call him Tom. Tom’s net worth was just shy of $20 million, and as I drove to that meeting, I was imagining what he would be like, this man who by most people’s standards had truly “made it.” But when I met him, I was stunned. The man who sat with me” this person who had achieved every single financial goal he’d ever set for himself” was not only miserable but also unhealthy.
A lot of people tell me their stories. I love to hear them. But rarely had I heard one that impacted me so much. In that first meeting, Tom told me that his health was failing and his single-minded pursuit of money had alienated every member of his family. The people who were supposed to surround him in his aging years don’t even speak to him today. Tom had spent his life chasing what he”and a lot of other people” believed to be the most important goal. But there he was, wealthy beyond his every need, and his life was missing everything that might matter, everything that might actually bring him joy.
A few weeks later, I met Mark Thompson. He had also come to me through a referral, but instead of maximizing a vast fortune, Mark wanted help managing his middle-class income to afford a modest fixed retirement income for himself and his wife. And that’s not where the differences between Mark and Tom ended.
Mark met me at the door, and I could already hear the happy voices that filled that house. There was a different tone and feeling in the Thompson house, a wonderful one. I stayed for dinner and heard the family story not just from Mark and his wife, but from their adult children and several grandchildren, who all took turns jumping in on the story, laughing as they shared the memories they’d all made together. When he walked me to the door later that evening, Mark asked, “So, do you think you can help us out?” Of course, I said yes, but inside I was thinking, You’ve got your answers figured out. My help will be the easy part.
I drove home that night wondering how two people could be so different. Tom had every possible resource he needed to create a happy life, but he had nothing. And Mark, who was just hoping to scrape together a couple thousand dollars to cover the very basics when he finally retired, lived like a man with his every wish fulfilled.
That’s when I realized that having a rich life has nothing to do with money and that I had the ability to help people had lives like the Thompsons. If I approached my job in a certain way, I could encourage and support my clients to live a life full of meaning and joy: a RichLife.
From that moment I asked everyone I met, What are the three things in your life that truly give it meaning? Everyone’s answers are different, but one thing is very common” most people don’t know those answers off their tops of their heads. I realized that would be part of the job of helping clients live the RichLife, guiding them toward those answers.
As I met even more clients and heard even more theories on what made their lives rich, a couple of common threads began to appear. The people who were leading RichLives had all nurtured the relationships that were important to them. Relationships were almost always a priority. The other common factor was experiences. The people who’d built RichLives had intentionally created experiences that were uniquely meaningful to them, and those experiences had become a storeroom of joyful memories. So that added another level to my job” help clients focus on relationships and experiences.
When most people look for a financial advisor, they really just want a person they can trust. Someone who will take care of their money. Intuitively, I was already doing more, building long-term trust and relationships. But now I know that I can better serve my clients by going even further, by helping them achieve their RichLives.
When I started approaching my work that way, I began to realize I was doing more than serving clients. I was definitely serving them, but I also became friends with these people, a trusted friend. And suddenly I had a RichLife too. I mean, how much better is it to have a job where you’re taking care of people as opposed to being the person who simply minds their mutual funds?
That’s where the RichLife started, but that’s not where it ends. As I’ve talked to other professionals, I’ve discovered that a lot of people are impacted by and believe in the RichLife philosophy. Now I know that there’s the possibility of surrounding yourself with advisors ”RichLife advisors” for more than just finances, but everything. And that’s the goal of RichLife: to make sure that everyone has the support, the resources and the opportunity to create one.