What The Affluent Cannot Buy

I attended the Family Office Deal Flow Summit in San Francisco on Friday.  The sessions were both valuable and very insightful.  And yet I was surprised with my ultimate takeaway.  What the affluent cannot buy.  TIME.  When we think of the affluent and family offices, we think there is nothing they cannot buy and yet how untrue this is.  I sat in on a session presented by Sheila Barry Driscoll, President & Co-Founder, The Billionaire Foundation.  Her session entitled How to Pitch a Family Office (and How NOT To) was not only articulate, but utterly fascinating at the same time.  This is where my takeaway from the Deal Flow Summit came from, and it truly resonated with me.  My takeaway was actually twofold, but more about that later.

What The Affluent Cannot Buy

Those in Family Offices who are looking for investments are under a constant barrage of pitches and proposals.  Listening to and vetting these proposals can take up a great deal of their time…and this is where things get interesting.  In spite of the level of wealth, these good people simply cannot buy something that they all wish they had more of…yes, it is time.  We never think of it in such terms but time in actual fact is a commodity and yet it simply cannot be purchased.

While not necessarily an earth shattering concept, it is worthy of thought.  Just imagine, you get up at 5:00 AM and don’t stop until the early evening.  Throughout that entire period, each and every day, the demands on your time come from all directions…all day long.  Who do you give appointments to, what “deals” do you look at, how much time do you devote to reviewing and responding to emails?  These are challenges that those with Family Offices face each and every day.

So my takeaway from the Deal Flow Summit & Ms. Driscoll’s session – what the affluent cannot buy – time – it simply cannot be purchased.  Oh yes I did say above that my takeaway was twofold – the second part of my takeaway?  People we deal with are generally short on time, so respect the amount of this valuable commodity that they have generously given you.