Is there Bruce without Clarence? Anyone who has listened to music in the last 35 years knows no last names are necessary.
When E Street Saxophonist Clarence Clemons died June 18th, there was a sadness and loss felt by many beyond Clarence's family and friends. August will mark the 36 anniversary since the release of the greatest album ever, Born to Run, with Bruce and Clarence forever linked on the cover. Certainly no Springsteen concert will ever be the same without Clarence. The epic tales may sound the same - 10th Avenue Freeze Out, Jungleland, on and on - but the experience won't be the same.
I make no apologies for turning an estate planning blog into a tribute to Clarence. Clients can learn a financial planning lesson, however, from Bruce, Clarence and the E Street Band. Clients need a financial planning band, a team, to satisfy their objectives. In all but the simplest situations, more than one person is necessary to handle the variety of complex issues and concerns that can arise. The band should consist of the estate attorney, a CPA and a financial advisor. The financial advisor may handle both investments and life insurance, or those roles may be divided among financial advisors. Depending on the client and the concerns, anyone of these band members may be the leader.
So would Bruce have earned his seat in the front row of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame without Clarence? Of course. But even with Bruce's genius he needed a band to help him. (Despite a couple of great Bruce albums without the E Street Band, fans longed for Bruce and the Band reuniting.) And as a member of the Band, Clarence was first among equals.
On your financial planning band, it doesn't matter who is Bruce and who is Clarence, just as long as you are relying on your attorney, CPA and financial advisor working together to accomplish your objectives.
Rest in peace Big Man.