EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The last one for 2007

From our daily member newsletter on December 27, 2007

Of course, December 31st is only an arbitrary line in the sands of time. That said, it is a psychological end to the year if nothing else and provides us with the mental ability to start over in the new year. I wish all members of The FENG a safe (they call me Captain Safety) and prosperous new year filled with all the joys and accomplishments of which dreams are made. We actually end 2007 with a little over 28,000 members. We are blessed with a vibrant and growing circle of friends that is envied by other disciplines. Let’s keep the faith and work hard in the year to come to make it even better. God bless! Regards, Matt

Conflicting advice

From our daily member newsletter on December 26, 2007

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time you asked a question, you got the same answer? Unfortunately it seems that every time you ask a question, sometimes even of the same person, you get different answers. Perhaps this is good. It gives you the chance, as an adult, to make your own decisions and choices. I know there are those of you out there who prefer certainty. This is part of the reason we went into Accounting. (Ah, the symmetry of it all.) But, the truth in this world is that everything in this world is someone’s OPINION. (What’s your opinion? Wrong!) When you had to ask for directions (back in the old days prior to GPS), you hoped that [ Read more… ]

Walter Mitty

From our daily member newsletter on December 20, 2007

Walter Mitty was an interesting guy. Although he did one thing in his real life, he had the opportunity to do lots of exciting things in his imaginary life. As we advance in our careers, I think all of us want the opportunity to do new and different things. It is only normal to want to change industries or change careers. And, many of us actually succeed in doing it. I am doing something very different in my second career and so is Norm Weinstock. (We frequently joke that we have re-tired. We had Firestone tires and have now put on Goodyear tires.) I hope that no one will read this editorial and think I am trying to discourage anyone. [ Read more… ]

Are You Selling What Your Client Is Buying?

From our daily member newsletter on December 19, 2007

From Norm Weinstock, Co-Chairman of The FENG, Norm writes: One of the most common faults that I find with resumes is that there seems to be a lack of understanding on what you should be trying to accomplish. When I talk to members about what they are trying to accomplish I have found that their whole strategy of the search is not very defined. “I am looking for a controller’s position” will not do it. There has to be focus in your position search as well as in all the tools that you are employing. To be successful in your search you have to understand the basic fundamentals of the sale. There are several key elements to every successful sales [ Read more… ]

Duck Soup

From our daily member newsletter on December 18, 2007

Each week I get several membership applications from individuals who don’t have sponsors. They have either found our website by accident, or someone who is not known to me has told them about The FENG. (In glowing terms, of course.) If they are senior financial professionals, I send them back a note that reads in part: “We need to identify someone we both know to be your sponsor. If the person who sent you to our website is not a member, please call me and I will help you find a sponsor.” Although I say please call me, only about 1/3 of those I invite to do so actually call. (Go figure.) However, when they do call, it is as [ Read more… ]

Saying thank you

From our daily member newsletter on December 17, 2007

I’m not really sure why they call it common courtesy, when apparently there are times members of The FENG don’t practice it. I’ll tell you a little secret: I respond to each and every e-mail I get. Is it a tough standard? Sure. Is it worth it? There is no question in my mind. The world of the Internet is a wonderful place. (That guy Al Gore was one smart cookie for inventing this thing.) Among its many fantastic features is the ease with which one can respond to correspondence one might get. (No postage stamps to buy and no paper or envelopes to stuff.) All you have to do is click reply, compose a short note, and click send. [ Read more… ]

When your cup runneth over

From our daily member newsletter on December 16, 2007

From time to time I have gotten messages from members who either had multiple offers outstanding or wanted me to discuss what to do when you are so blessed. Or, is it cursed? (I don’t know about you, but I hate having too many choices.) Of course, when faced with the possibility of multiple offers, you can be assured that they won’t all come to fruition on exactly the same day. Hence the conundrum. Being individuals of high integrity, there is an urge to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God” to everyone involved in the process. My first suggestion is to operate on a “need to know” basis. I know it [ Read more… ]

A delicate subject

From our daily member newsletter on December 13, 2007

Although the job market nationally is strong right now, I know there are some members who have been “in the hunt” a long time and may feel that they are getting “a little long in the tooth”. I can understand the problem since I was out of work for almost two full years – 1991-1992. Tradition has it that if you are still at work, your most recent job can be shown as 1991-Present. If you are no longer there, it would be shown as 1991-2007. You may argue that your likelihood of getting called about a job is lessened if you are no longer employed, and that may be true. I frankly, don’t know if it is or it [ Read more… ]

The consummate professional

From our daily member newsletter on December 12, 2007

Although there is no truth to the rumor that I have a pair of wing tip boat shoes, I do try to dress well for our meetings here in Connecticut as well as to any other networking event I attend. I suppose since the meeting of the Westport Chapter is near where I live, at the end of day, and since I work out of the house, I’m sure no one would think it odd if I was wearing old ratty jeans and a sweatshirt. I could always tell them I was fixing something around the house or make up some other lame excuse. The truth is that I don’t get many opportunities to wear my “grown up” clothes. Just [ Read more… ]

Performing the behaviors

From our daily member newsletter on December 11, 2007

I’m not sure why it is, but most financial folks think they are terrible networkers. The truth is that scattered throughout our newsletter every night are ideas you can harness in your daily life to earn the title “Master Networker.” All of us are amaturers, I suppose, at most things we do in life. You can start with raising your kids (if only you got to do it over), to relationships with others, including your significant other. We come to life to learn, and the best lessons are the ones we learn the hard way. Most of our members are over 40. A lot of water has passed under the bridge, and yet a lot more is yet to pass. [ Read more… ]

If the phone doesn’t ring, it’s me

From our daily member newsletter on December 10, 2007

Several months ago, a very old friend of mine called my attention to this song by Jimmy Buffet. I’m not sure why it is, but many people never call anyone. In the enigma within a puzzle that is life, they are also always wondering why no one calls them. When I was in college, my grandmother once said to me that if I wrote to her she would write me back, but I had to write first. At the moment she said it, I thought it was a little strange, but without the feedback that your letters are being received it IS kind of pointless to keep writing. Everyone has to take their turn. I’m glad I followed my grandmother’s [ Read more… ]

Asking for and accepting help

From our daily member newsletter on December 9, 2007

One of the biggest challenges I face on a daily basis is getting our members to ask for and accept help when they need it. I suppose it is a guy thing and roughly 90% of our members are guys. As everyone knows, guys don’t ask for directions at the gas station. (Have you ever wondered why? Thank goodness for GPS!) Well, I have explored this issue from all sides and the conclusion that I have come to is that the reason most folks shy away from asking for and accepting help is a fear of being unable to pay back the debt they have incurred to the person who provided the assistance. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to [ Read more… ]

Our open door policy

From our daily member newsletter on December 6, 2007

I’m sure all of you have heard the joke about the executive who was addressing the entire staff and when he came to the part about having an open door policy, he asked if whoever took his door would give it back. Well, the open door policy in The FENG is of a similar nature. None of us should have closed doors when it comes to communications from our fellow members. Yes, I know that at times we get messages from our fellow members that appear to be a little impersonal and/or not well thought out, but should all give these “misguided” individuals the benefit of the doubt and try to help them anyway. Not everyone is a wiz with [ Read more… ]

Tilting at windmills

From our daily member newsletter on December 5, 2007

From time to time, I have been accused of tilting at windmills. Actually, I am never offended when I hear this because in large part everything we do in The FENG has elements of it, and I’m proud of it. It has indeed been a long road developing The FENG. Most importantly, I haven’t had to do it alone. I have had the support of a huge number of “Fanatic FENG’ers. We are now the largest organization of our type in the entire world. It’s not too shabby, having had only 63 members at the end 1996 to now have over 28,000 members nationwide and around the world. We are indeed a force in the world ALREADY and yet growing [ Read more… ]

It's always about you

From our daily member newsletter on December 4, 2007

For those of you who are movie fans, there was a memorable scene in the move the Mexican with Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt. Julia is throwing Brad’s clothes down on him from a balcony while having an argument with him and screaming: “It’s always about you!” Well, one time when it should always be about you is when you are doing your 90 second announcement. You would think with all the focus us financial types have that it would be easy to talk about ourselves, but you would be wrong. For those new to the 90 second announcement, it all too easy to fall into the trap of discussing why you left your last job, frequently adding that we [ Read more… ]

Working the room

From our daily member newsletter on December 3, 2007

The membership directory of The FENG is now over 3,500 pages. As I am sure many of you are aware, it is a document with many uses. For example, if you print out a hard copy and tie it in a bundle it is formidable enough to use as a doorstop even in a public building. Its use in the home therefore, I guess, makes it “over qualified”. It is actually a little more useful in electronic form. The purpose of our membership lists is actually to facilitate easy communication between you and other members of our august body. All you need to do is open a directory in Word and use Edit, Find. Put in your University and see [ Read more… ]

The too hard pile

From our daily member newsletter on December 2, 2007

Everyone has a “too hard pile”. (Even I have one!) It’s all that work that sits in a pile by your desk and you never seem to get to it. I suppose there ought to be a law or something that would prevent us from leaving things in the "too hard" pile for very long. Of course, many of us (myself included) would now be guilty of a crime. (Perhaps a law would be too harsh.) Anyway, what started me thinking about the "too hard" pile is the constant state of my desk these days. I know I move a lot of the paper on my desk every day, but the pile isn’t going down as fast as it should. [ Read more… ]