Broker Check

Avoiding a letter

May 30, 2019

The other day, my son and I started reading Harry Potter. He is 7 and already an avid reader, which I truly love (sorry for the dad brag moment). Anyways, the book series is quite renowned and rightfully so. One scene, so far though, has absolutely captured my attention.

To paraphrase, Harry received a letter in the mail, much to Dudley and Uncle Vernon’s surprise. So much so, Uncle Vernon immediately burned the letter and berated Harry. As the scene continues, Harry receives another letter, with the same reaction from Uncle Vernon. Then Harry receives another and another. This continues to happen to the point where Uncle Vernon boards up the house, the windows, stays home from work and goes through extraordinary effort to avoid Harry having a chance to read what is in that letter. As a last stitch effort, he forces the family to travel to an island during a monstrous storm to evade the letters being delivered. Only to be confronted head on with the issue in the arrival of literally a much bigger problem, Hagrid (if you’re unfamiliar, Hagrid is a giant of a man). The story goes on from there where Harry learns about his background and that he is in fact, a wizard. As a result, Uncle Vernon must finally deal with the issue he tried desperately to ignore.

The reason I am captivated by this scene though, is because I couldn’t help but draw the correlation to how some clients are when it comes to financial issues. If I’m honest, how many of us - including me - are in general around facing issues we do not like to think about.

Addressing this issue brought such fright for Vernon, he put his entire family in danger to avoid dealing with the problem that had existed for years. Only when it is now being brought to a head by the arrival of these letters and Hagrid, does he come to grips with it.

While the Harry Potter series is a great fantasy, the truth is, too many times people end up acting like Uncle Vernon. They delay thinking about an issue, they might even forbid it to be talked about. Then, one day, out of the blue, in comes a letter they hoped never would arrive.

While by no means exhaustive, here are a few areas or "letters" I often see delayed or avoided:

  • As the adage goes, “buy low, sell high.” In practice though, I find people have a hard time selling a “winner.”
  • Having those dreaded conversations about the aging process.
  • And of course, accidents never happen, until they do.

This list could go on and on, but I think you get the point.

What are some “letters” you might have seen others avoid addressing?

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.