Is It Okay to Display My Success?

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

I have run a very successful advisory firm for many years and have made a lot of money doing so. I don’t have children and have not had to deal with college funding or the general costs of raising kids. I have plenty of money. Recently, I bought my dream car – a Maserati GT convertible. Yes, the car cost much more than my first house did over 30 years ago. But I drive a lot and this was an important purchase for me.

The problem is that clients have started commenting on the connection between my car (which I am excited about, have talked about it and have shown it off) and their fees! One of my longest standing clients, who I consider to be a friend, told me maybe it was time to start thinking about moving his $4.5 million to a discount broker who won’t gouge him on fees.

We get paid well, but we aren’t outrageously expensive based on the competition. We do active money management and full-service planning. Our clients get an exceptionally high level of service – we offer a number of concierge services, too.

I’m baffled. Do I hide my car? Not talk about it or drive my old Ford F-150 to client meetings instead, because it is pretty beat up? It doesn’t seem right to me. Many of my clients – and colleagues – spend twice this amount to send their son or daughter to a great school. I believe I am being judged unfairly. But I understand that perception is reality. What do I do?


Dear E.V.,