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When Meaning Drives Client Decisions, Not Profits

Motivated more by purpose than profits, “Survivor” clients may resist logical advice about how to curb stock market losses.

Some clients like to win at any cost and will take great risks with their money. Others are so protective of their assets that it’s tough to get them to make even prudent investments.

Then there are those idealistic, sometimes naïve clients who like to invest in noble—some might say “lost” causes—potentially to the detriment of their personal balance sheets. Or, they just don’t take time to do careful investment planning at all. I call these clients “Survivors.”

As investors, Survivors tend to operate largely in the realm of “meaning.” Strong beliefs—in causes, people and certain values—often motivate Survivors to take unrealistic approaches to investing or to make questionable investments. Sometimes they forego careful investment and estate planning altogether because they get preoccupied with charitable, nonprofit or philanthropic work.

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