"Spend, Save, Panic?" the headline said. I quickly added "PLAN!" as I moved through the airport listening to the economic news and the buzz of concern around me. I was on the way to facilitate a dialogue in a panicked family sidelining their planning with paralysis.
How are you doing in the worst economic times of most of our lives? Are you as confused and rocked as most of us? We do care. Can we help you plan or find advisors? We are here to serve, and there is NO more important thing to do now than to consider options and get professional advisors' help in these changing times.
Interesting to work with Tracy, together and apart. She has helped me tremendously in understanding the role of women in philanthropy, the importance of community, of family traditions of giving, of the spiritual dimension of giving, and the importance of having a strategic plan for getting positive impact when making a gift, an impact that includes, often, personal transformation into someone whose life and actions are aligned with his or her sense of right and wrong. From Tracy, and her friends, I learned - or took to heart - that women do not always feel that their voices are heard and heeded at the planning table when financial and estate plans are done. Today, I actually made many of these Tracy-inspired points in a webcast (available early next week) for the American College's Wealth Channel for financial advisers.
Hence it is poignant and pleasant to hear Tracy, in the quote above, echoing what I have tried so hard to convey to her: We need everyone, men and women alike, to be fully present at the planning table, focused, with head and heart in play, if we are to plan wisely in these difficult times for the very best lives we can live in a world made better if only by our love and courage and our willingness to extend ourselves towards others in even worse shape. Good planning is what it takes. I hope that well-trained and enlightened financial advisors will rise to the challenge of helping donors do the best they can, all thing considered. No paralysis. No retreat into the walled citadel. Plan, care, do.