The following is a guest post from a woman in wealth management whom I greatly admire, Charlotte Beyer. I met Charlotte at the CFA Wealth Management Conference in Los Angeles several years ago when I moderated her speaking engagement. Charlotte has dedicated her career to understanding the needs of the 1%. She founded the Institute for Private Investors “a private membership organization offering non-commercial investor education, in-person networking and an online community to over 1,000 ultra-high net worth investors.”
Amidst all the chaos and grief we are feeling during this coronavirus pandemic, many are searching for good news and a way to help out. Sitting in our homes is the right thing to do, but it is a strange and helpless feeling. I love Charlotte’s suggestion of creative ways to help individuals and businesses that have the greatest need. Could these generous acts go viral if discussed and shared through blogs, email, and social media? I hope so.
A One-Percenter Blinded by Covid-19
The pinball machine called Life just flashed a neon TILT. COVID-19 delivers a message. Fear replaces confidence.
I am ordered to Stay Home. While I am accustomed to relaxing in my home, surrounded by the comfort of my treasures and memories and landscaped splendor, this feels different.
The suffering we hear about with layoffs today may be dwarfed by what’s in store tomorrow as the economy shuts down tight. Shelter-in-Place is easier for many of us – an abundant food pantry in our super-sized kitchen and financial security, too – even if we have 30% less than we had just six weeks ago. The desperation just outside our world commands our attention, no matter how comfortable my setting might be or how much I binge watch or play video games.
A benign virus? I dread a bad ending, then imagine a contagion of a very different sort. I’ve recently made a commitment online #1%Pledge to give $100 a week to a local food bank / homeless shelter that helps people navigate social services. Others have given Stop n Shop gift cards to families in need. That $100 weekly pledge is a tradeoff – we used to pay at least $100 as the price of a weekly dinner at our favorite restaurant. Dining out is no longer a possibility. Could the #1%Pledge go viral online and be as contagious as COVID-19?
This virus could mutate. An industry colleague just shared with me this multiplier he and his family have embraced, “Two weeks ago we adopted the 100% pledge- meaning every take out, coffee, drink, uber, anything really, renders a 100% tip on the bill. Even for those still employed, it won’t fill the gap – yet it offers a very real way to personally encourage and thank those who are working to make our lives easier.”
Today we are experiencing long, quiet days, often visiting online communities, occasionally asking what could I possibly do to help? The federal and state governments cannot fully address this dire situation by themselves. Nor can non-profits since their fund raising events have now been cancelled with no backstop funds in sight. Personally, I have experienced a ‘reset.’ I hear a call for action. Might we spread the contagion of a generosity virus? Sitting on our couch at home, how can we make a difference in others’ lives right now? Let’s proclaim online that we can do something – post that generous action or pledge onto the remaining vehicles we have for human connection – FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, NextDoor, et al. Let’s make a commitment to spread this most benevolent virus.
Charlotte Beyer is a Wall Street veteran, an Aresty Fellow at Wharton, an entrepreneur who created the Institute for Private Investors in 1992, author of Wealth Management Unwrapped (2017), and President of the Principle Quest Foundation since 2012.