In Memoriam to Phil, My Friend and Adviser

Today’s blog is not whimsical. Today, I received the news that, earlier this week, my financial adviser passed away suddenly while vacationing in Hawaii with his family. Phil – who I blogged about just last August – is gone.


I share this news with you, my adviser friends, for two reasons.

First, especially for those among you who knew Phil personally, nobody could more fully understand the feelings I’m experiencing today, as I think about how my good friend and adviser (decidedly in that order!) will now no longer be there.

He’ll no longer be there to celebrate – as only Phil could do – the good-news milestones in our lives. I won’t be able to remind him how grateful I am that he and his team have helped make those milestones possible, and to share in how happy that always made him, right to the bottom of his fiduciary soul.

He won’t be there to shake his head along with me whenever the market has lost its flipping mind. Even though I know better than to succumb to the insanity, it will no longer be us and Phil against a crazy world.

He won’t be there to gently disagree with me when I’m wrong. Not that he’d ever come right out and say so. There was that pause of his. His hands would fold together as if he were stitching together his thoughts on the matter. He’d give me that look, affectionate and amused. “That’s right,” he’d begin, “but …” Whatever misguided idea I may have had would be a goner by the time he was done.

But now, Phil is the one who is gone. And yet, not really. First of all, he’s still lodged firmly inside my head. I have an “inner Phil” who will remain my advisor for life.

This also brings me to my next reason for this post. I’m in a distinct position to know more than a typical client would about what is now taking place behind the scenes at his firm. As committed to fiduciary care as he was, and as awful a time as I’m sure this is for his team, Phil already had ensured that there would be a solid succession plan in place to cover just this sort of worst-case scenario for his people and his clients. With my client hat on, I’m not worried one bit about the enormous vacuum he left in his wake, because he had that covered too.

Is your succession plan ready if something like this happened at your firm? If not (or if it’s been a while since you’ve taken a look at it), I have a personal favor to ask: Please join me in honoring Phil’s memory by setting aside the many, seemingly critical distractions in your daily life – all those little bonfires that, let’s face it, never go out – and put your own succession plan in place.

Do it today. Do it for Phil. Wherever he is now, I know that will make him smile and fold his hands, his work completed.