by Mitch Anthony

Jack McConnell, M.D. used to be a retired doctor until he started remembering the question his father repeated each night around the dinner table. Each day when he and his brothers and sisters arrived home, they would sit around the dining room table and take turns answering their father’s question, “And what did you do for someone today?”

Dr. McConnell lived the definitive successful life before retiring to a posh gated community on Hilton Head Island. But when he left his luxurious buffer zone to travel to the other side of the island, he was stunned by the disparity between what he had and what those on the other side of the island did not have. Dr. McConnell soon discovered through interaction with housekeepers, gardeners, servers, and construction workers that they had little or no access to medical care. He thought it was an unfair and inequitable situation, especially given the abundant population of retired doctors on the island.

Soon Dr. McConnell started working on a solution. He approached the other retired doctors to see if he could persuade them to work a few hours a week volunteering their services. Most of the doctors liked the idea, and after a year of navigating through all the red tape, Dr. McConnell opened the first Volunteers in Medicine Clinic, fully staffed by retired physicians, nurses, dentists, and chiropractors, as well as 150 lay volunteers. In their first year (1993), they saw 1,000 patients—in 2013, they saw 30,000.

Dr. McConnell’s example inspired others, and today there are close to 100 Volunteers in Medicine clinics across the United States. As a result, his golf handicap has suffered, but his energy and life satisfaction are up. This is not the retirement that this man envisioned, but he is far from disappointed.

In the coming years, as many of your clients head toward the retirement they think they want, they will probably experience a similar epiphany and inclination to start investing their time, money, and energy into channels of giving and philanthropy. These inclinations will lead them into relationships with causes that will have a direct bearing on their savings and disbursements.

Many of your clients will want to invest both time and money in causes near to their hearts. Like Dr. McConnell, they will want to utilize their professional skills for the greater good. By using the benevolence profile below, you can help your clients start the thought process of how they might best apply themselves, once they come to the realization that soaking in the gated community pool for the rest of their days may not lead to perpetual satisfaction.

Benevolence Survey: Designing a Financial Legacy*

  • In what charities or causes do you feel impressed to invest your time and energy?
  • What charities or causes do you currently contribute to?
  • In what charities or causes would you like to invest financially?
  • Are there causes that you would like to support on a perpetual basis? On an annual basis?
  • Are there any family members for which you would like to develop an ongoing income stream (e.g. college fund for children, parental pension, funding for a disabled child or sibling)?
  • Are there any causes into which you would like us to look to make sure they are using charitable funds responsibly?
  • How often would you like to review your benevolence plan?

At the end of the day (and at the end of the year) it is meaningful relationships—more than account balances—that determine a client’s satisfaction with life. Your clients will thank you for helping them give the gift that keeps on giving. Financial satisfaction is deeply and intricately affected by a number of relationships in our lives—those we live with, those we once lived with, and those who once lived with us. An important aspect to consider is how these various relationships play in and out of our financial lives and how they can accelerate or slow down our investment plans.

(*For this and other dialogues to help build better relationships, contact us for a tour of

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Adapted from Your Clients for Life: The Definitive Guide to Becoming a Successful Financial Life Planner, Second Edition by Mitch Anthony. (©2006 by Mitch Anthony)

© 2014 Mitch Anthony

Mitch Anthony is the founder and president of Advisor Insights Inc.and the Financial Life Planning Institute, the leading provider of financial life planning tools and programs.

For almost two decades, Mitch and his team have provided training and development for both individual advisors and major organizations throughout the world. Mitch personally consults with many of the largest and most-recognizable names in the financial services industry on both financial life planning and relationship development.

Mitch has been named one of the financial services industry’s top “Movers & Shakers” for his pioneering work, and is interviewed by the media on a regular basis. The Institute is partnering with both Texas Tech University and the University of Georgia to develop financial life planning programs for their undergraduate programs. Mitch is a popular keynote speaker, columnist for Financial Advisor magazine and Journal of Financial Planning, and host of the daily radio feature, The Daily Dose, heard on over 100 radio stations nationwide.

Mitch is also the author of many groundbreaking books for advisors and consumers, including perennial bestseller StorySelling for Financial Advisors, cited by “Financial Advisor” magazine as the number one “must-read” book for financial professionals. Mitch’s other books include The New Retirementality (now in its 4th edition)From the Boiler Room to the Living Room, Your Clients for Life, Your Client’s Story, The Cash in the Hat, and The Bean is Not Green. For information on these books and more resources, click here. Contact Mitch at [email protected].