Our friend Margaret is back from a cruise with The Pride of Hawaii. She’s having coffee with Paul, a retired business owner. He created an enormously successful yet low profile shoe repair franchise and considers himself fortunate to have been bought out by a like-minded group of keen entrepreneurs. He admits, however, to not being fully prepared to retire.

“Look Paul, you’ve plenty of money,” Margaret scolds him mildly. “Whatever is your problem? You can do whatever you like. Life is yours. It’s a place that many people can’t even afford to dream about.”

Paul isn’t deterred. “I’ve worked all my life,” he retorts. “I’ve repaired thousands of shoes. My fingernails were always dirty. There isn’t a shoe in this world I can’t fix and now I have none. What am I going to do with all this time?”

Margaret tries to be helpful: “What are you interested in?”

Paul is polite and doesn’t tell her that she’s not helping him with such a large question. “People came to me to get their shoes and boots fixed. They had a problem. I helped them solve it. I saved them money. They needed me. I needed them.

“I’d like to give back. I’d like to volunteer somewhere, somehow,” he’s almost stumbling through his words, as though he’s never given life to his thoughts.

Margaret receives the information calmly and looks at him. “Perhaps you could ask the editor of The Montrealer for ideas. He knows a lot of people. He serves on boards of charitable organizations. He’s reputable.” She’s on a roll. “Yes, Paul, I agree, you’ve a great deal to give. You have so much business experience in making money, managing people and jobs, in creating ideas and solving problems. No wonder you’re a little lost right now. Go for it. Call him up!”

Paul’s a little taken aback at how well his words have been received. “Ok,” he’s quieter now. “Another question?”

Margaret sips the last of her coffee. “Yes?”

“How did you decide on your money manager? You see, I figure that if I’m busy doing what I really want, then I’ll need someone to manage the nest egg.”

“Oh,” Margaret replies thoughtfully. “Of course. Well, let me tell you that deciding on the person or on the company was difficult. Initially, that is. There’s so much I didn’t know. Still don’t. It became easier, however, once I committed to paper what I was looking for. You know, being able to trust the people I work with, that sort of thing. That’s number one on my list. Another is how quickly do they fix problems. Are they competitive, and so on and so forth.

“You have to be able to trust who you’re working with. Absolutely,” Margaret knows her grammar is out of line yet she’s determined to underline the fact. “And you can tell,” her face takes on another expression, “the minute you walk into a business, the minute you meet the people, that there’s something different, something special about who they are and their pride in helping you succeed. It’s real.”

Paul is listening intently.

“It’s like hiring an employee in many ways,” Margaret continues. “You make a list of the qualifications and characteristics of the people for which you’re looking. Then you interview the candidates, score them, weigh the pros and cons and voilà, make a decision. Not easy, but if I can do it, so can you!”

Paul is slightly skeptical.

“No, no, Paul,” Margaret insists. “It works. I did it myself. I made up a list. Trust is on the top, of course, followed by competence, confidence, sensible advice, fixing mistakes, and so on. This is what’s important to me; never mind what’s important to anyone else. With this list, I tracked down the best. I found it, or eh hmmm,” she’s between a stutter and a clearing of the throat, “I found her and her company. I know I got the best for my money.”

Paul doesn’t notice the stammer. He’s thinking. “Could you send me your list?”

“Of course, Paul. We’re friends.” Margaret’s smile says it all.

If you’re interested in a copy of Margaret’s list, send us an e-mail or call Pina Tria at 514-394-3771 and mention this article in The Montrealer and we’ll be happy to forward it to you.

The Adena Franz Group has over 16 years’ experience of successful portfolio management and is with the independent firm
MacDougall, MacDougall and MacTier Inc.
1010 de la Gauchetière West, Suite 2000
Montreal, Qc H3B 4J1
Phone: 514-394-3771
Email: ptria@3macs.com

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only. It does not account for specific investment objectives or the financial situation of any person reading it. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier Inc. Investors should seek professional advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in any securities discussed or recommended here and should recognize that statements regarding future prospects may not be realized.

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