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How Do Private Business Owners Define Risk?


How Do Private Business Owners Define Risk?

Risk is an ambiguous term. It means something completely different to an attorney than it does to an accountant. Ask an insurance agent to define risk and you’ll hear something that sounds nothing like what a physician would tell you.

And forget about asking the typical investment person. The average broker at a big investment bank sees risk in an entirely different way than just about anyone – especially a private business owner.

Dan’s Perspective on Risk

Dan has a unique perspective on risk. His dad was a wildcatter in Texas who made and lost a fortune more times than he can remember. In the last iteration of his father’s endless boom-bust existence, the family was forced to move out of what Dan remembers as a castle on a private golf course into a two-bedroom apartment.

The family lost more than just their possessions. Not long after his financial ruin, Dan’s father passed away. Dan was 13 at the time. His childhood experience was shaped by more than just his father’s economic downfall.

His dad was the most gregarious, generous person he has ever known and even at the lowest point in his life he treated people with kindness and dignity. He made such a positive impact on other people that he was nearly universally revered be everyone he met. Dan grew up wanting to be exactly like his father without ending up anything like him.

After his father’s death, Dan’s remaining family went to northern California and moved in with relatives. Dan was a dedicated student, graduated high school at the top of his class, and ended up at Stanford University.

He put himself through college and earned a degree in electrical engineering. Dan found huge success in Silicon Valley. After graduation he started a small company that makes metal racks to hold computer servers. Today it’s worth some $50 million.

To Dan, risk means going into work every day uncertain of what might upend the status quo. While arguably rich, Dan’s greatest fear is that some unforeseen misstep could wipe him out. He has made many calculated decisions to get to where he is today, but he is more apt to say that he has been lucky rather than smart.

To Dan risk comes in many forms. Is a strategic decision made today going to lead to failure down the road? How are government regulations going to impact the business? What’s the competition up to? Can we be sued for something?

He sees risk as a tradeoff. He rewards his employees and provides them a generous package of benefits. At the same time he wonders if that generosity might deprive his heirs of what he believes is justifiably theirs.

He fears losing loyal employees, but is more fearful that he won’t be able to provide for his children or grandchildren. So he works harder, hoping that his desire to provide doesn’t alienate his family or make them jealous of his time.

The family photographs in Dan’s office inspire his ambitions. When asked about his investment goals, Dan says he has none. Leave out the word investment and Dan is eloquent about his goals. They are focused on providing for those around him – employees, suppliers, customers, and most importantly his family.

He truly does not care about money or investment performance. But he knows that without them he can’t take care of the people that are dear to him. Dan just wants to make sure that he doesn’t put that aspiration at risk.

Dan’s views about his investments are typical of Pillar Wealth Management clients. One of the reasons successful private business owners like Dan are so attracted to us is our approach. We are experts at helping ultra-high net worth individuals and families protect and preserve what they have. We wrote the book on it.

Unlike most investment advisors, we see risk through the lens of each client. We assume nothing about our clients’ goals or what they perceive as risk. We project no bias into the mix. The wealth management programs we develop for each are the result of a comprehensive understanding of that person’s most important life objectives. Our role is to help each client achieve their ambitions by developing holistic personal plans that alleviate their most unsettling risk – whatever that risk is for each individual.

Let’s Start a Conversation

We advise ultra-high net worth individuals and families with liquid assets between $10 and $500 million and provide exceptional added value across a multitude of financial investing, estate, and retirement planning matters.

Chances are that we have counseled someone just like you, in your current position, about a matter that is also important to you. That’s why we invite you to contact us to explore the many ways we can be of service. Our number is (800) 669-6780. Reach us on the web at https://pillarwm.com/ or email us at [email protected]