Most of my investment brokerage clients are older than I am. That has been true for 30 years. Many of them, like you, learned much the hard way and are willing to share what they’re learned. I’ve learned a lot from them.

I believe we should follow their example and share what we’ve learned with people we care about. I hope to do a small piece of that in this post. Here are important things that I learned from wise clients or on my own, the hard way.

Great questions are better than brilliant answers.

My unsolicited advice is typically shallower and less useful than a question that challenges the other person to consider their motivation or objective or likelihood of a desired outcome. The person who asks questions is a thinking partner for the one who answers. You may feel smarter when you share lots of advice, but you act smarter when you ask good, helpful questions.

Emotional intelligence is far more important than I understood decades ago.

Intelligence Quotient (IQ) measures one’s ability to learn. When I was young, I thought a high IQ was the key to success. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and regulate your emotions and estimate how your words and deed may affect others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence helps you to build relationships, reduce team stress, and defuse conflict. Several studies indicate that emotional intelligence may be a better predictor of career success than IQ.

For example, TalentSmart compared emotional intelligence to 33 other workplace skills. They found that emotional intelligence was the best predictor of workplace performance, “explaining a full 58% of success in all types of jobs.”

And, while IQ tends to be fixed, it’s possible to increase emotional intelligence. How I wish I learned about this decades earlier!

Diversity of thought is dramatically more important than living in a comfortable mental silo.

It’s easy to get trapped in your own mental silo. That may be comfortable, but our personal echo chamber limits our ability to understand perspectives beyond our current biases. There are always several ways to think about something.

Life often has multiple acceptable paths. Too many of us limit ourselves by stopping at the first pretty good solution, instead of pursuing a terrific answer.

Teams and families frequently do better when they have a combination of different leadership styles… and they respectfully hear each other.

People are different. For example, one person is the optimistic, “we can do anything”, CEO or sales personality, and the other is the more cautious CPA or attorney personality, “Yes, but remember how that worked out before.” Unfortunately, for years my big arrogant foot was on the gas while my bride’s feet were slammed against the brake. That was rude to her and caused us much unnecessary stress. Now I’m more to likely stop or at least slow dramatically when a cautious, wise person sounds an alarm.

We can and should upgrade our friends.

Death, distance, and change remove some people we care about. Those gaps provide an opportunity to replace those we lose with people who can empower us to become who we were created to be.

By the way, I’m 30 years older than I was 30 years ago. Now my investment brokerage and coaching clients hope that my life experience and astute questions will enable them to make wise choices.

What about you? What wisdom have you passed on to people you care about?

What are your most powerful insights from the last 30 years?


Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.

Click here and find out how Terry and his team can help you make the most important financial decision of your next decade.