Back on Dec 1/81, I wrote 3 insurance exams to start my career. That was a tough and long day and was the culmination of studying for about 4 months for that day. Since then I have taken hundreds of various seminars (some half a day long and others days long) as well as the Certified Financial Planner designation. The last 31 years of my career, have indeed been a contrast. The stock market crash of “87 was my first “feet to the fire” ordeal. Then came the 90’s where the world was chasing performance (the Nasdaq averaged over 28% compound average return that decade). Then came the technology crash of 2000(remember Nortel), then the following year of 2001 with Sept 11 and then followed by the accounting frauds of Worldcom & Enron in 2002 and then the huge subprime of 2008 that the world is still dealing with. The events of 2000 to 2009 have changed investor focus to one of “give me growth but do not lose my money”. We have moved from a world of relative certainty to one of uncertainty. Investment risk has taken on a whole new meaning.
My role as a financial planner has had to adjust to this new reality. We are bombarded with negative news every day and therefore I have re-aligned my practice to be more people focused rather than asset focused. Because the world news is skewed to being highly negative and on the day to day, investors need to be able to quiet down the news noise and instead take the focus off of money, markets and financial product solutions and realize that the world has always had good and bad in it and always will. However, the good businesses have prospered over time by re-positioning themselves in the bad times. This makes them much stronger when times get better.
Years ago when I started I didn’t realize that I would be dealing so close with clients and their families as they go thru old age, a death in the family, divorces, bankruptcies as well as the happier births, weddings, new families, retirement and many other events that occur in our lives. This has not only given me a lot of expertise in these topics but has also “grounded” me and hopefully I have acquired some wisdom out of all of this to help clients to point them in the best way possible to make their lives a bit easier.
Outside of my business life, I try to stay balanced. I am grateful to enjoy several passions beside my work. Several years ago I joined Rotary (the largest service organization in the world that raisies money for charities). I enjoy the commaraderie of the giving people involved as well as the tremendous good work they do for others. Currently I co-chair our largest fund raiser and chair one of our park commitees. Besides this I am on the board of directors of another non-profit organization. At home I enjoy gardening in the summer. My yard currently has approx 170 roses from breeders around the world. I enjoy this immensely. It’s also a way to meet and talk with neighbors all the time. I have two adult kids that live here in Calgary. I share my life with Lynda and very much enjoy spending time with her adult kids & their grand kids whenever possible.
All my best, Garth Sabirsh