Economic Altruism

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In our book “Do You Want To Make MDRT, or Not?” Dr. Stolk and I bring up the concept of “economic altruism”, and I have been asked to expound on my belief a bit.  So in good Zen fashion, I believe some stories might now enlighten you as to this beautiful idea.

First though keep in mind the golden words of Marcus Aurelius: If there are Gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.   Long range the market does not care what you espouse, but what you do and who you are.  If you reflect upon this paragraph for a bit, you may start to see the wisdom of economic altruism.

I had a potential client that I worked with.  Young guy, fresh out of engineering school (RPI) with a very bright future.  We worked together and did his basic financial planning and as I always did I focused on educating him instead of selling him.  He decided to not buy the few basic products from me I recommended then but followed my advice on saving and doing grad school and budgeting and everything else.  Then he disappeared.

Almost a decade later he called me out of the blue.  He was now very, very successful and had a wife and was about to have kids.  Because I had put him on the right path and not pushed for my financial benefit but only to get him to do the right things, I had earned the right to the business now.  And that of his friends.

Another example:  one of my coaching clients got more than he bargained for.  Or paid for, because that is at the heart of economic altruism: doing more than you can be paid for because it is the right thing to do.  This coaching client asked if I would talk to a potential Representative about the career in financial services because I would be an independent voice.   I gave her the real low down on the career and how to balance home and work, and some guidance as to how to jump-start her career. She is now successful, and that discussion kicked off ideas that became one of my seminars (If I were a New Rep, I’d…).  Helping another with no expectation of reward yielded a great reward that is now helping more young Advisors. And so the cycle of giving continues.

Do more than you are paid to do.

As Robert Frost says “The extra mile is a vast unpopulated wasteland.”  Think about that for a moment.

The law of large numbers says things will even out.  Rotarians say “Givers get.” Karma can be a bitch, but a blessing over time.

We all know the person that cuts the corners with the clients and themselves.  Eventually, it bites them. But those that focus on the basics of excellence eventually become so.  Give more than you think you can to others in relationships and work because the Universe will pay you back in extra.  Or not, but you will know you did right, and so will others.

That is the core of Aurelius’s quote, the Golden Rule, and economic altruism.

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