She had no idea. I had no idea either. I mean, how can you? Sure, you’ve dated for a couple of years… been living in sin together for a couple more… but in the end it’s always still a leap of faith, isn’t it? Who knows what will happen in 10 or 20 years really? One day, I’m the man you married, the next — maybe it’s more (or less) than you realized. Life is funny like that. The world is always changing. People too. Even when they aren’t. That’s the constant.
Yep, I’ve been married for 10 years now. We’ve been together for 13. We have two beautiful sons, 5 and soon to be 3.
Somedays it just clicks & you remember every single shining moment together. Other days you don’t even want to take their call.
And the market is just an amplifier of all of that humanity. The empty promises. The unrealized gains. The ray of hope that tomorrow will be different, better even.
I’m in another marriage too though, beside my wife and kids. For 12 years now. My wife knows. She’s cool with it. It took a while, of course. Yep…I’m married to Mrs. Market. And for 12 years now, my relationship with her has put food on the family’s table.
And stats don’t lie, 50% or more marriages fail– something like that right? Marriage between two people is not easy. Ever. It’s work. Hard work. Of course, being married to someone who shares your values & knows who you want to be and where you want to go (while you’re figuring it out) is such a blessing.
Unfortunately, Mrs. Market doesn’t give a shit about any of that.
I’ve spent a dozen years trying to reason with someone who’s constantly moody, and always asking what you’ve done for me lately. Always comparing me to EVERYONE else on the block, like every single day. Why didn’t you buy that one? Why did you buy that one?
Mrs. Market is a bitch frankly. She’s never truly happy, there is always some shoe ready to drop, some detail hanging in the wing, usually around a holiday or weekend.
And my poor wife, she’s always had to share me with her. It’s sexy at first. “Honey, I GOTTA take this call– big emergency…big report….big meeting. They need me.” I’m the guy, the wolf. I solve problems, and with large sums of money involved. It’s sexy, until one day it’s just you missing another family meal. Another bedtime. Then I guess it’s time to decide whether you want to cash it in, or not.
I think it’s in my blood personally. Or else why do it? I’m not an investment banker. My job isn’t to pillage and plunder as much as I can for 8 years and then live on a different beachfront every six months with my second or third wife. I get it, I understand why people kill themselves for it. But I’m an Adviser. I’m getting rich slowly, right along side my clients. I’m in it to win it, for the long haul. I don’t have a prenup.
And when I look at it objectively, I realize it must be for the love of the game. I mean, why put yourself through all of this? Why have a wife in your life that is such a bitch? Life is too short. I’ve seen advisors collapse on their desk, another heart attack. Way too short for that.
My five year old looks at my iPhone at 6:00am and is already trying to predict my day. “Wow, daddy it’s all red… it’s gonna be a tough day, right?” I tell him, “never do what I do”… but it’s probably already in his blood now too.
I was at a party tonight and, while not as noble in the news these days, I laid it down– I’m the firefighter of money. I’m the po-po (that’s ‘policeman’ for you non-street folk) of your portfolio. And the girlfriend of my business partner laughed… and said “WHAT?!” “You guys are just super smart, people like you, and you’re good at math… you are not a firefighter!”
She’s seen her man in action for a year now. But it’s still new to her. Sexy even. He actually cares about these people & he’s really good at his job. She said, “most advisors don’t do what he does, I know that…” She loves him, she loves to see him in action. I think she even loves who he is, but she doesn’t know everything the other mistress is about to bring to their relationship. And only time together in the saddle prepares you for that ride.
The truth is I don’t get paid to be a hero. I don’t promise 20%+ a year. Like I said, I’m not a hero. But I will walk through your finances and tell you where to put all of the fire detectors in “your house.” I’m not George Soros or David Einhorn. I’m not a hedge fund manager, I don’t profit from big bets. Sometimes all I can tell you is to stop, drop, and roll with your cash. B-line for the nearest exit. And sometimes, I can’t save you from the burning wreckage that is your financial life.
I’m not the guy you’ll hold on your shoulders at the end of the race. I’m not the guy you’ll toast at your daughter’s wedding, despite what the ads may have you believe. There won’t be any parades or memorial funds for me. I’m in the background, plotting for you. Sure, a lot of days I’m a boxer bobbing and weaving across the indexes, but on the big days I’m your corner man, making sure the cuts don’t kill you.
Here’s the thing– this job, it’s not something you just leave at the office. You either are or you aren’t. Cop. Firefighter. EMT. Doctor. Heck, CPA. That’s what I meant. What I meant is, Mrs. Market better be in your blood, in your DNA — otherwise, you’re in for a long slog.
Because, maybe it’s just me– but being a market professional isn’t for the faint of heart. Somedays we are the ones rushing into an entire planet going up in flames, within minutes. No textbook prepares you for that. You think you can handle it? You want to do this? Be my guest. Look 100 people in the eye and handle their finances 24/7.
For me, I’ve wanted to be where I am since I was 9 years old. “Those guys know what’s going on…they make things happen. I want in.” Somedays I’m ready to retire already. I’ve lived at least 5 lives so far. And here I am still– waking up sore, tired, worn out– getting out of bed, speed-bagging datapoints, jump-roping stuff that would make your eyes cross, cracking raw eggs into the glass — eager to fight again.
So, if it’s not in my blood, like little Johnny wanting to be a firefighter or policeman — then it’s just plain insanity, doing the same thing expecting different results.
That party tonight, it was for a lovely couple who just bought a dream house. It’s gorgeous. The backyard felt like a swanky hotel… perfectly appointed, pool, pebble-tec deck, jacuzzi… candlelight, caterers, bar, & action.
It was perfection.
And I won’t lie–that house was courtesy of the advice coming from me & my business partner. It’s a weird thing, being the guy who pushed the buttons to make something so dramatic happen for someone. 6 months ago they didn’t know I existed, then their CPA says maybe we should meet, and today I’m meeting their moms in this new fabulous house. The truth is they did the hard work. I just showed them what was possible with the paints they had on their palette. We told them where to put the fire detectors and where to run in case of a fire. And it was a shining moment for them. Here they were, surrounded by adoring & loving friends and family celebrating their new chapter; a chapter we quietly helped write. I was happy to watch them soak it up.
Unfortunately my wife wasn’t there to see this shining example of a dream realized. The warm fuzzy part of my job, instead of the bloody, soot-covered dress shirts. She was at home holding down the fort with the kids. I wish that wasn’t the norm, but it is.
See, as much as we all love to hear about the huge returns, the smart people, the success, big paydays and even bigger egos — all the sexy; it’s really the wives of Wall Street who are the true champions. They are the ones who have to deal with us — someone who just lost $30,000 of their annual income, this week. They have to listen to all of it: the Fed, the board, the merger, Europe, Congressmen & Senators, the President, that utility company you just uncovered. They see the self-doubt in dark moments. And watch the bravado being born the very next morning. The potential big client who never comes to pass. The fucking mood swings. Up 5% on week, down 6% the next. They’re the ones that have to hold together some semblance of order (with kids) in an ever changing landscape, all being amplified by her mate’s other mistress.
Oh, and the hours. The after-hours. Mrs. Market is an insomniac.
Of course, it’s nice to love the people you live with. It makes all the difference these days. My clients are amazing. My family is amazing. Sure, somedays are crazy, somedays suck. But in it all, there is love. And I never lose sight of that. So lucky.
See, I love what I do, even on the terrible days. Why? Days like today. And my wife was waiting, asleep on the couch, TV still on. A quick check-in about the party and our lovely hosts – and then a sweet good night kiss while I sit & do some work on my next project.
10 years ago, she was jealous. 7 years ago, she wasn’t sure she could handle it. 5 years ago, it was worse. And here she is, still loving me. Still loving that bitch, Mrs. Market.
My wife knows what the futures are doing on Sunday night. She doesn’t bat an eye when I’m on the laptop & phone the first day (or three) of our vacation. It’s in her blood now. This is what you get when you marry one of us…
So, maybe I’m not a firefighter. Maybe I’m not a hero. One thing is certain, I don’t wear suspenders.
But tonight my wife just wants to know some special people had a nice night, smiling knowing we had something to do with it — because this is not a job, it’s not a destination, or the next promotion– it’s la vida.
For better or worse, through sickness and health. Till death do us part.