Intangible – impossible to touch, to describe exactly, or to give an exact value. 

I confess. I like American Football. I realise I risk losing some readers here but bear with me. Tom Brady, quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has now won his seventh Superbowl. No-one else has come close to achieving this feat. But what is even more remarkable about this year’s Superbowl win is that it was won in his first year with a new teamwhich due to the pandemic meant he had little team time and practice.  

This suggests he is a superhuman, muscle bound Adonis, with blinding speed and agility. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

When Tom was selected by the New England Patriots in 2000, he was the 199th choice in the NFL player draft. His report read “Poor build, skinny. Lacks great physical structure and strength. Lacks mobility, a strong arm and gets knocked down easily.” So, on paper, he looked ordinary at best.  

Pele once said “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” Having the physical attributes of a Greek god doesn’t give you a free pass to success, ask the other six quarterbacks chosen before Tom Brady. All were better rated, stronger, faster, more agile and with stronger throwing arms than him. None of them made it in the professional game. 

Tom Brady’s success lies in his “intangibles”. They don’t show up in draft reports, but when you see them, and experience it for yourself, you recognised it. Tom’s intangibles are his leadership, attention to detail, drive to do the best for the team, preparation, ability to assess situations accurately, and an instinctive ability to create practical solutions to any situation.  

There are some parallels worth exploring here, for example buying clothes. During lockdown, buying online stopped us from “trying things on”. I’d usually feel the fabric, whether suits, jeans, shirts whatever. If it doesn’t “feel right” I don’t even take it off the shelf. The clothes might be the right size and colour, but if they don’t feel right, we don’t buy them.  

I’m also a frustrated guitarist, but despite playing hundreds of beautiful looking instruments, if the guitar doesn’t “feel right” it goes back on the shop wall. Intangibles are important when making choices. Let’s consider Financial Planning businesses.  

Financial Planners appear to all do the same thingsMost, if not all, are bigger than Stewardship Wealth, have been around longer, operate from high profile city offices, and have fabulously engaging websites. So why do clients select us? More strikingly, why are our clients happy to mention us to friends and colleagues?  

Judging by the responses in the recent client feedback report, much of what they value about us sits in the “intangibles” column. Ihighlights how they feel about working with us. They tell us they like how much time we invest in understanding their purpose, plans, and values. That it makes them feel that we genuinely care. They tell us they feel better informed and more confident about the future after we meet, which is exactly what we aim to achieve. Thank you. This helps us prepare for better client meetings and conversations. More client time, less paperwork and form filling.  

We continue to receive calls from people recommended to us by clients who suggested we could help. Thank you, there is no higher compliment. We feel the weight of this responsibility. People are entrusting us with their financial wealth and family futures, possibly for generations. We recognise our “intangibles” have become immensely important to the decision-making processWe may not have a clue how to measure them but to us they are priceless.