How the mighty has fallen…

Recently an old client came back to see us after a long hiatus. Gone were the confident high tones of before, now only humility and resignation.

His accountant played him out, the tax men got their hooks into him. And thru it all, he got no help and support from his family.

But make no mistake, this is a man who built up his own business and fortune by his own two hands despite suffering a physical disability. Some may say perhaps because of it.

My savings are running down fast. Money is very tight. I’ve asked bank for loans. I’ve contemplated selling off some assets. These are my income, these are my expenses, what do you think?

We made a quick calculation. Have you considered this? Maintenance, insurance premiums, holidays, tax expense, children overseas education, the list goes on. One of the consequence of GST was that government now has a record of who pays how much to whom. It is not possible to cheat on your taxes anymore. Our client learnt it the hard way and he has begun to accept it.

To be truthful, the client has considered most of the possibilities. It is impossible not to when you’ve got your back against the wall. But one thing that surprised me is that a financial advisor from a bank managed to sweet talk him into keeping an insurance policy even though he doesn’t need it anymore. He got the policy many many years ago and he has other more comprehensive coverage since then. He really could use some extra cash now and there really is no point to keeping it.

After our word, the client appeared to be happy and relieved, determined to convert the policy to cash and improve his cashflow. Our client thanked us profusely.

My colleague and I look at each other. There’s really no magic to or difficulty to what we do. Being an independent party we can look at the full picture with a bit of distance. Which is what sometimes client need from us, an emphatic ear, second pair of eyes and a devil’s advocate.

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