Randy Fox Interviews David Cahoone

Randy Fox Interviews David Cahoone

Article posted in General on 4 February 2015| comments
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From February 25th-27th of this year, I'll be attending and speaking at the Laureate Circle Gathering  in San Diego, CA. This is the eleventh year for the Gathering and because there is a strong focus on philanthropic planning, I took the opportunity to interview attorney David Cahoone, one of the founders and instructors of the Laureate Circle. In our brief conversation, David describes the Gathering, it's mission of collaboration and a little bit about this year's program, especially as it regards philanthropy.

Randy Fox:    This is Randy Fox and it is Friday, January 30, 2015 and I'm here today with friend and attorney David Cahoone in wonderful Sarasota, Florida. We're here today to talk about an upcoming program that David is involved with that is a very important departure from the normal planning seminars that are given around the country.  It's the Laureate Circle Gathering. 

David Cahoone:    Thank you very much for talking with me today.  Randy is also going to be an integral part of this year's gathering.  This is our 11th annual Laureate Gathering that we hold in San Diego, California.  As part of the Gathering we bring together a multi-disciplinary group of advisors.  We invite and encourage having participants who are financial advisors, insurance professionals, as well as charitable planned giving officers.  We also have CPAs and  attorneys because it's part of the collaborative model that we believe in, that is the one way that clients really get very well planned for. In order to practice what we preach, we try in our teaching to bring together a multi-disciplinary group of advisors in the same room so that we can all learn from each other and be exposed to each other's best practices. 

Randy Fox:    David, tell me how over the prior 10 years that you've been doing this meeting, how have you seen the multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach work.  It seems that it's sprouting up around the country but it's taking much longer than I thought it would to actually become the only way to do business. 

David Cahoone:    We see it growing in fits and starts. It's two steps forward, one step back.  We find that it works best when we get advisors that are working together that if their heart and soul are really focused on what's in the best interest of the client.  Unfortunately as we all know, there are some advisors that that is just not their primary focus.  In our experience,  if that's not the advisors primary focus no matter what hat they're wearing and probably the best planning is not going to happen for the client and they're not going to have very good coordination among the client's advisors.  We try to teach that in all the programming and have it seep through the different presentations just how very important that is and then to the extent that we have people tend to also want to focus on what's best for the clients, they will gravitate toward this program. 

We have found that over time and over the years, we attract those that do really want to try to collaborate and do it at the highest and best levels. 

Randy Fox:    How many advisors will be attending this year? 

David Cahoone:    We usually are in the range of 100 or so, give or take a few and we hope that this will be another great program.  In addition to the educational events that we have on Thursday and Friday, one of the things we've been doing for a number of years is have a charitable event on Thursday evening.  This year's charitable event is going to focus on raising money for Sharp Hospital for their women and newborn section.  We believe that as part of what we do while we're all together as a group that to the extent we can do good for something, a charitable organization in the community, we really try to do that.  It's also just a fun event.  An opportunity for us all to get to know each other better in a more casual setting.  It's a black tie event but the keyword, after black tie is “optional”.  It should be a really fun time. 

Randy Fox:    That leads me to the next set of questions, which is how will the gathering speak to the issue of family philanthropy? 

David Cahoone:    We have had a focus at the Gathering where we try to make the presentations and the overall program each year, practical and relevant to the advisors who are there so that they can take what they learn, bring it back and make it available to their clients the very next week.  Part of that is we talk about helping clients really discover their dreams and their enlightened dreams and those things that they would do if there were no financial or other restraints on what they could do.  When we do that, we find that many clients start to talk to us about charitable desires that they have. We help them develop those desires and then also try to teach them strategies and ideas that really help those things come to fruition for their charitable causes and to leverage opportunities for their charitable causes. 

This year we have a couple of programs focused specifically on aligning values and wealth through philanthropy. We're honored to have Roy Williams, of the Williams Group, teaching about working with families and using family counselors in order to help families get their visions aligned and come up with mission statements and family value statements, that can be shared with the second generation and third generation. Often, those statements are focused on charitable planning. 

Randy Fox:    Yes, I know Roy well and he does great work.  You're lucky to have him. 

David Cahoone:    Yes, we are. 

Randy Fox:    Let me circle back to the collaboration part.  Have you seen professionals who have met at the Laureate Gathering go back to their home base and continue to collaborate with other professionals that they met at the Gathering. 

David Cahoone:    Yes, we have.  We encourage those that have been with us for a while to bring an advisor with them that they would like to collaborate with or like to collaborate better with.  Have them come to our program and sometimes it's easier for that person to hear it from us in that kind of setting.  And then also view their advisor that's been part of us for a number of years in a different light so that they're looking more forward to working with them in the future.  We have also had some of our advisors meet at the Gathering and as a result of those meetings, end up working with clients together. 

Randy Fox:    Yes, that's actually been my experience as well at the time I was there a number of years ago.  It's really a very powerful conference and I'm really pleased that you have continued the whole process for as long as you have. 

David Cahoone:    Well it's really exciting for Joe Strazzeri, Steve Mancini and myself who put this together. It really makes us feel good.  It makes us feel like we're giving back to the profession and through our combined experienced have had an opportunity to see across the country a lot of the planning that goes on.  It seems to me, Randy, that even in 2015, that most Americans are still woefully under planned for across the board especially in the charitable arena.  Whatever we can do to get advisors working together, collaborating together to help plan better for clients, I just think that we're all better off for it. 

Randy Fox:     Your mission and my mission sound almost exactly the same David.  It's refreshing to know that someone sees that same things that I'm seeing and that there is something that can be done about it.  So, thank you for doing this.

Randy Fox:    San Diego, the end of February.  What could be better? 

David, do you have anything that you'd like to say to just wrap up otherwise?

David Cahoone:    I want to thank you for the opportunity to talk with you today and hope to be able to see as many of you as possible in San Diego in about a month. 

Randy Fox:    Great David, thanks so much. 

David Cahoone:    Thank you.

Readers, are you attending the Laureate Circle Gathering this year? If so, what do you want to take away from the conference? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

Click here to listen to the audio version of this interview.

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