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Perspective

The Industry via #ChadTough

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This post originally appreared last November when we all found out Chad Carr was diagnosed with DIPG.  Chad lost his batte with cancer last week, but not before inspiring thousands of people with how tough and dignified he was — especially since he was just five.  Today there will be celebration of his life with a service in Saline Michigan.  

There’s a little boy in Ann Arbor, Michigan who has diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (or DIPG). It’s an aggressive, inoperable tumor in his brain stem. It was September 23rd, just a few days shy of his fourth birthday, when now 4-year old Chad Carr was diagnosed. DIPG predominately affects children, and fewer than 10 percent of them survive two years from diagnosis.

Since his diagnosis, Chad and his mother have spent every day traveling from his home to C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan. He is participating in a clinical trial, where he is in the middle of thirty radiation treatments. Thirty. Thirty days, thirty treatments. He’s just 4.

As you can imagine Chad’s family is devastated, but they are not giving up hope. Chad’s father was a quarterback at Michigan, where he played for his father Lloyd. One would think Chad got his hash tag from one of them: #chadtough. But his mother Tammi is the leader here. She has reached out to the world for support and prayers—which are pouring in from every direction.

Through daily updates about her son Chad on her Twitter feed (@tamcarr21) and through the purchase of #chadtough bracelets, Tammi is on a crusade to raise awareness about the disease and raise funds for research and a cure. She’s also asking for our prayers. Tammi believes in miracles, and she believes in the collective power of people to make something happen. 

As I went through Tammi’s Twitter feed last night while my little boy, who’s 6, was sleeping soundly next to me, it got me thinking. You see, I’m on Twitter a lot these days; I have my personal account reserved for my personal interests. And now with our new media platform, there’s the @iris_xyz Twitter account that largely features a lot of industry chatter.  Everything is out in the open and people are not afraid to share—news, trends, products and, of course, opinions.  It’s interesting to see where the industry has gone, compared to when I began.

I started my career in the late 1980s at a brokerage firm and quickly moved to the custodian who, I felt founded an industry all into itself—serving financial advisors. That industry has blossomed quite a bit over the past 25 years, and like any profitable business, it now has many well-suited players competing for the same audience.  I remember talking to an executive from one of those custodians last year about the changes he’s seen from when I worked there, and now. His comment was that when I was there, there was much more of a willingness on both sides to work together, because we knew each other, and there was perhaps a more trusted relationship. Now, he felt, it had become all about big business and it was playing out like that. Colder (my words not his).

Has financial services become so business driven that it has lost what it was supposed to be about? Is it now just market share? Who is going to raise the most venture money for the best mousetrap? Industry cliques? And Twitter wars?

Where’s the Perspective?

It seems to me that there’s little positivity out there. Last week, Schwab announced a new Robo offering pointed at small accounts for basically free. Small accounts. Advice. Free. Seems to me people need that. There are haters. Fidelity just released what seems to be a great book on top advisor secrets. Wait, people are helping each other?

Isn’t that what financial services is all about? Helping people? Last time I looked up service it meant to help, to aid—to do someone a service. There are a lot of people out there, and more of them entering adulthood every day. For most of them, managing finances is not easy and that’s why there is an industry in the first place.

Life in general (let alone finances) is not easier—sometimes it seems to just be getting harder and harder. Tougher to make a living, to raise a family and keep them safe. This industry has given many of us pretty decent jobs. Maybe it’s time for us all to take a long walk, think about that and decide why we got here in the first place.

And while you’re out there, say a prayer for a little boy who’s in the middle of the fight for his life. And if you want to see a community rally around positivity, check #chadtough and you’ll get it. Go Chad. Beat this.

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