Intro: Welcome to the Life Unlimited Podcast with Larry Heller. You deserve complete financial advice so you can confidently live your life your way. For life. Now, let’s get into this week’s podcast episode.
Aric: Hello, and welcome to life unlimited with Larry Heller from Heller wealth management. I’m Larry’s producer, Aric, and I’m here to learn along with you, the audience. And I got to tell you audience, this is going to be an interesting one today. Larry was telling me just briefly about what we’re talking about. Larry, you were on a trip recently, weren’t you?
Larry: Yes. So, I was on a great trip to Vail, Colorado for a wedding. And then to, uh, to Montana was an amazing time. And then coming back, we had a little weather problems which was not the fault of the airlines, but everything else after there was not handled properly.
So I kind of thought [00:01:00] maybe let’s try to relate that experience to working with a financial advisor. And of course we can’t control what happens in the stock market, but we can control some of the client communications and client experience when you go through some of those things. So I figured let’s have a little fun topic today.
Aric: All right. And I like that because many times people refer to the, the stock market as sometimes you’re just gonna have to weather the storm, right? So drawing the parallels for weather, for an airline situation and the market, I think it’s great.
Aric: I hate to ask this question, but what happened what sparked this? So there were thunderstorms in New York and we were boarding a plane in Montana that was connecting through Chicago. So literally as we’re boarding our flight to Chicago we got notice that the flight to New York was canceled.
So [00:02:00] nothing really we could do. We decided to get on board, we went to Chicago, and then when we landed in Chicago, that’s where kind of everything went downhill on a lot of different fronts.
Aric: Okay. What happened? I mean, were you stuck in Chicago or I mean,
Larry: yeah, so, so we, the first thing is when you, since we were on the plane connecting by the time we landed in Chicago in order to really figure out how you’re going to rebook your flights, the first of the lines what you were extremely long, um, and And we didn’t know what was happening with our baggage.
There were two things that we were kind of trying to figure out again, that no fault of the airlines. The first thing that I’ve had this happen for and another airlines and they automatically rebook you on a flight for the next, the next day. And it may not be a flight you [00:03:00] want and you, maybe you can change it, but no No rebooking on a flight. By the time we were able to speak to somebody, this was a Sunday and the earliest flight that we were able to get would be six o’clock at night, Tuesday. So we would need to spend, yes, we would need to spend two days in Chicago. Again. I understand it’s busy travel season, there’s just so many flights and that was kind of unlucky that we were in the air when this happened.
So the first thing that we said, okay, let’s, let’s book a hotel in Chicago and make the most of it. And how do we get our luggage? Well, that’s when the first kind of issue started. They said, okay, we’ll release your luggage and go to carousel seven. So of course we go to carousel seven and we’re waiting and we’re waiting and we’re waiting. And the line [00:04:00] for baggage claim is probably 45 minutes to an hour long. Jeez. Our luggage doesn’t come out. So after about an hour, I would go and wait on line for another 45 minutes on the baggage claim line just to get up front for them to tell us you need to wait a little bit longer. It’s coming out. It’s coming out soon. We wait another half an hour. No luggage. I go back this time. That’s still a 45 minute wait. On the baggage. I go back to the same agent and said listen, what’s going on? She said, I just got notified. It’s going to be coming up soon. Oh, another half, you know, another, and go wait. And if you have a problem, let me know.
Yeah. Just not wait another time. Go wait another 20 minutes. I come back. Still a long line, even a longer line for baggage claim. And now this agent is out for their break. All right. So now I’m not going to be able to explain this whole to the new [00:05:00] agent. So I wait another half hour for this agent to come back and she goes, it’s downstairs.
I can see where it is. It’s in the baggage department. And at this time we were debating. Of driving back to New York,
Aric: right? I mean, that’s the point. You could have probably driven back.
Larry: That’s what we were doing. I did. I, I had a long time. Scheduled golf outing with high school friends that I was on Tuesday and didn’t want to miss.
So we were gonna, we were gonna drive back. Well, we had landed. I don’t remember exactly what time it was. Maybe it was four o’clock in the afternoon. It was like a 13 hour drive back. So we figured we’d get our luggage. We drive four hours. Stay over somewhere in Ohio and then drive the next eight hours.
The next day. So, so we’re waiting for, you know, waiting for the luggage and now it’s getting late. Now it’s doesn’t make sense to really drive anywhere. So we’re like, okay, we’ll just stay in Chicago. And you know, the agent [00:06:00] is downstairs trying to find somebody, now here’s where the first good piece of client of service is.
Someone was about to take over for her and she goes, I’m going to go downstairs and look for the luggage personally, myself. And I’m like, great. That’s above and beyond. Yeah. That’s awesome. Great, great service. She goes down to look for the luggage, waiting, waiting, waiting, comes back. Sorry I can’t find where it’s supposed to be.
Now they have these trackers, these electronic trackers on your phone that tells you where the luggage is. She has exactly what that it’s in the storage room downstairs and yet no luggage can’t find our luggage, our luggage at all. So we have, I mean, don’t, we have a, luckily we had carry on. So we had some type things that we could, you know, survive. There were some things that I would need that I’d have to go out and buy. [00:07:00] So, supervisor, then they get a supervisor. And the supervisor comes up, oh, we’re going to call the supervisor of the baggage room and have him go, look, just go wait a little bit longer and be patient.
So we decided to give it a little bit long time. Long story short, we were probably waiting for our luggage, three and a half hours, in total. We probably, if we weren’t driving, we probably would just, we wouldn’t even wait it to begin, but since we waited so long, we figured we wait a little bit, a little bit longer.
Yeah. Finally we basically gave up. We said, they can’t find our luggage. They have no idea where our luggage, luggage is. And, but time, between the time waiting to rebook and in the the baggage, I think we’re at the airport six hours. So it’s late at night, we get into the hotel and we figure, they’re going to send the luggage back to LaGuardia airport that we were traveling to.
And then when we get there Tuesday we’ll go pick up our luggage. It’s not [00:08:00] really the end of the end of the world. Yeah. Uh, we end up trying to go standby Monday night instead of. Waiting for Tuesday and really lucky. Get on the plane, get into LaGuardia. The tracking is saying that our luggage will be in LaGuardia. When we land, go to the baggage claim, pick up your luggage. And this is where fun number two starts. We get to the baggage claim there and they look it up. Uhuh, your luggage is not here. Where’s my luggage? Newark Airport, which is in New Jersey, . I’m like, why would you send the luggage to Newark Airport?
Aric: Who does? Who wants to go to Newark? I’m just kidding. Sorry. Newark people.
Larry: Yeah. So it’s now, I, it’s late at night. It’s, uh, 11 o’clock at night, 1130 at night. And don’t worry, we’ll deliver your luggage. You’ll have it tomorrow. It’ll come directly to your house. I’m like, okay, nothing we can do go home[00:09:00] next day looking on my bag on my tracker and great open up the tracker and says luggage picked up at Newark be delivered by four o’clock, four o’clock comes, four o’clock goes five o’clock comes.
Still no luggage. I’ll try to call. Well, you can’t just get through to somebody at the baggage claim because everything that’s going on. So yeah, I leave my number for them to call back an hour later. They call back and they say, your luggage is still coming. It’s going to be there. It’s going to be there today.
Be there today. Lo and behold, luggage never shows up. Next day comes, I’m like the luggage still saying going to be on that tracking. It says to be delivered Monday at four o’clock. Well, now it’s Tuesday at four o’clock, so I can’t track it on my phone. I can’t get anyone else on my phone. I’m thinking, where is my luggage?
It’s in oblivion [00:10:00] somewhere. I finally get through to somewhere, someone, of course, they tell me, oh, I’m going to get a hold of the driver. And the driver is going to call you. And. On the app, it actually has the driver where you can leave them a message. So this is actually Monday, so I, I typed in the message, please call me, let me know what the story is, never heard back from the driver.
Never heard from the driver even though the airlines got the delivery company on the phone who told me the driver would call me. So, so now it’s, you know, it’s getting later. Finally, I get a supervisor on the phone and I said, I’m not tracking this down. I want you to kind of find out what’s going on and give me a status report and let me know when I expect to do that.
No problem. Mr. Heller. That’s fine. Gives me his name. Going to call me back. Guess what? I’ve never heard back,
Aric: my chest is tight. I know there’s other listeners out there that I’ve experienced this [00:11:00] kind of thing. Oh,
Larry: right. And you know, it’s all, it’s really all about the communication. It’s again, it’s not their fault. I mean, I don’t know why didn’t they communicate that it was going to Newark? Why did it go to Newark? I have no idea, but why didn’t they communicate that? Why do they have this tracking where they can’t track it where it is? Why do they say you can contact the driver when you can’t contact the driver? Why did the supervisor say he would call me back when he didn’t call me back? Finally, seven o’clock rolls around, I get a call, “Your luggage is here”. Just, just, it just showed up. So where it showed up on my front door, the driver came and knocked on the door. And sure enough, there was my luggage.
So this whole thing, maybe it couldn’t have gotten there any earlier than Tuesday. But the thing that really leaves a kind of a bad experience with you is really just the communication and the expectations [00:12:00] and managing that and how to properly manage that. The, one of the funny things was when we got to LaGuardia, the actual baggage claim people said, well, Delta wouldn’t, you wouldn’t have this happen with Delta. So, by the way, this trip was on United.
So, uh, but The, they said, you should file, you know, do a, uh, a complaint to the to the company because that’s the only way this is going to improve. So your own employees are basically saying that they know that things are a little out of whack with their system. So, and I’m thinking, you know, I’m in business and I’m doing this During a market correction, clients are not going to stay with us. I mean, they, they, you know, so why one, what’s the difference and two, how do you prepare for something that’s going to happen when it’s the unexpected? So they’ve got [00:13:00] to know that there are going to be times where the piles up and there’s Going to be, going to be delays. How, what kind of system do you have in place that is better able to communicate than the current system that they have? So, so, you know, just comparing the two, I mean, people come to us obviously to manage their investments, but they’re coming to us for peace of mind.
They’re coming for us to be able to walk them through situations when they change or when there is things that, that go unexpectedly. And we have systems in place on. Emails on phone calls on sending out information on following up maybe that’s different you know, the airlines are a transactional business versus a long time business, but, and.
You know, will I fly them again? I mean, obviously pricing and where they are may have something to do with it, but [00:14:00] reliability and some people fly airlines because of the reward side, the communication side of course they will not be my first choice. Even if I had to pay a little bit more money somewhere else, I, I would in the, in the future. they’ve kind of, put an extremely bad taste in my mouth. And it wasn’t even the delay to Tuesday night that I, that I understood it was telling me things that just weren’t happening, not following up with me and not, not communicating. So, and, you know, and flip it if they, if they would have been able to do that, sure.
I wouldn’t have been thrilled that I had to stay there for two days or in this case, it only turned out to be a day. I wasn’t thrilled. I didn’t get my luggage back for two days after I land, but that was not really the really upsetting part. The upsetting part was really not knowing and people telling me things and then not following through.
Aric: Yeah. I had the same of similar experience with the same airline. I avoid [00:15:00] them at all costs because we sat there, we had a, we were already in Denver flown the first part of the flight, just like you waiting to go down to Oklahoma city and it was a two o’clock flight delayed, delayed, delayed, not given any information. We’d go up and talk to the, all of us are sitting there. Everybody’s just sitting there. Delay, delay, delay. Now there’s a four o’clock flight that’s flying down to the same city. We’re like, okay, are we just being pushed back to this flight? Well, no, because there’s already passengers for that one, right Before they announced the boarding of the four o’clock one, they said, Oh, all the two o’clock passengers, your flights canceled. And that was it. No other communication. And then it was a mad scramble to try to go. Everybody had to go to another complete location to book something else. And of course, people are jumping in line as fast as possible. It was just that lack of, communication that the same thing you experience, I will, I avoid them at all costs unless it’s the only option to be quite honest. And that’s a sad thing for a business. But Larry, what I’m hearing through this entire thing is that you build a relationship with, like you, you [00:16:00] said, it’s maybe because airlines are a transactional business.
I think it’s beyond that. Some airlines like the one we’re speaking of, you’re just a number. You’re just a number. You’re just a number. You’re a seat number on a plane. You’re, you’re cargo to get to a destination. And that’s how it feels a lot of times throughout this entire podcast series. I mean, this life of the podcast over a hundred episodes, you talk very, very specifically about relationship.
You communicate because you care. And I think that that’s, what’s lacking in a lot of companies, not just airlines.
Larry: No, I, apps, apps, so they make some decisions that I guess they’re okay. But if a few people are not happy but it, it benefits them financially while I was sitting in baggage claim, there was another flight there and I don’t know why, but apparently the luggage is in some type of system there that they made the decision not to offload the luggage.
That the luggage was going to continue on [00:17:00] to New York and this passenger was like, well, because my flight was canceled, I’m no longer going to New York. I want my luggage back. And they’re like, no, it’s going to go to New York tomorrow. And then that day, then I’ll turn around and they’ll send it back to Chicago and then we’ll deliver it to you.
So it was more cost effective for them not to open up. I forgot the word they used. It wasn’t a bin or whatever case was to take out some of the luggage for people that didn’t want to go and it was to ship it there and then to ship it, to send it back. So, yeah, you know, what a hassle, they make decisions, I guess that. You know that for financial reasons, they’re thinking it’s not going to affect them long term bottom line to upset certain amount of their customers, of their clients. I don’t get it. I don’t get why they, they could have done it. And I’m still, this is [00:18:00] now, how long I’ve been back? I’ve been back a week and a half.
Hmm. Maybe an email to me. Sorry about your experience. It’s like, you know, we understand that you had a really bad experience and your flight was canceled, not at it. Even if it was not their control, then your luggage was lost. Huh. No, I mean, they have my email information, they have my phone number from a texting information. No, I mean, I mean, they, they know all the people that had their flights canceled. You could, they have a staff in place. So maybe it’s not the day after a couple of days after in days after and still nothing. It’s, it just, it really is mind boggling how these companies, you know, companies operate.
Aric: Well, I love that you’re drawing this parallel because. One of the things that you do in your business is you take someone from point a to point B [00:19:00] in a timely manner, right? As as best you can in the timeframe that they need to get to that location, which is of course, retirement. So talk a little bit about that. I mean, as far as just the journey and how you help with the bumps and the turbulence and everything else that, you know, again, I just think it focuses around communication. Is there anything else that you want to add to that?
Larry: Well, yeah, I mean, it focuses not only communication, but proactive, proactive planning. Things change. I mean, the tax laws changes. We may have a strategy set up and government, you know, throw a little wrench in there and the tax laws change. So how does that affect the plan and how does that change? Or the clients decide, you know what? I just, I don’t want to live in this, but I want to move somewhere else. How do we change that? How do we adapt for that? Or unfortunately, do they get sick or does one of the spouses pass away? So all of those are factored in that we know over time are going to [00:20:00] happen.
And how do we address that? And how do we communicate that? And yeah, I mean. Once in a while, something may slip through the cracks, and, but you address it, you communicate it, you follow up with them. And th they’re basically, extremely happy for the peace of mind, knowing that somebody else is thinking about all these things and knowing when some of these unexpected events or life transitions or market changes happen, there’s gonna be somebody there.
To really guide them and handhold them and walk them through this. And that’s really what people come to us for and what they’re appreciative why they work with us. We recently had a client and they were retiring and they were building a new house. And they unexpectedly, the house was going to be over a budget and they were both extremely nervous.
And they were thinking, maybe we shouldn’t be doing this, should we not do this? So they couldn’t sleep at night and they [00:21:00] called us the next day, we’re on the phone with them, going through the numbers and spending the time with them. And by the end of the call, the phone called, like, I can sleep now.
So that that’s what we are here for. That’s what we do. And it builds loyalty. And going back to the airlines, there’s no law, there’s no loyalty. And maybe they realize that maybe people won’t fly based upon loyalty and they’re just looking at, at pricing. I don’t know.
Aric: Yeah. Well, one thing I will say for the airlines, I’m sure you’ve experienced this as well, is that. The only, well, the best communication that I’ve seen for any airline trip I’ve ever taken is the pilot, right? I’ve had times when we’re on the plane and I mean, they’ll communicate, Hey, we’re going to be landing soon. Or we’re going to, you know, we’re going to get ready for 30 minutes out. This is our airspeed, whatever we, we left the gate 10 minutes late.
We’re going to make up the time in the air, whatever they will come on and talk to us. I’ve had it where there’s, Hey, just want to let you know, there is a good size storm forming. We’re going to go around it you know, just to [00:22:00] let you know. It may delay us a little bit, but I’m trying to get, you know, air traffic control to get us a new route. That’s going to be a little quicker so we can make up that time. They’re talking to us during the time, but that’s pretty much the only person. But that’s kind of how I see you is that you’re not controlling the entire plane for them. You’re your clients, but you’re certainly. Helping to navigate it.
You’re you’re certainly having that communication. Hey, you know what? Here’s what we see on the horizon. The storms on the horizon. This is what we’ve already put in place. These safety measures that we’ve already talked about. And then we’re also thinking about doing this and you have that discussion.
I love, I mean, I love that because if we just had more of that, right?
Larry: Yeah. Absolutely. And, and even we tell them there are certain things we don’t, we can’t foresee what’s going to happen, but we’ll address them now. We’ll make adjustments. So, so yeah, but having a plan in place for some of these unexpected items is just really natural to us and part of the service that we provide.
Aric: Yeah, absolutely. Well, what [00:23:00] else do we need to cover in today’s pocket? It was, like I said, I told him at the beginning, this is going to be interesting and I still think there’s a lot of people out there listening with their chest getting tight. Cause we, I think we’ve all experienced that in some way, shape or form. And it brings back bad memories. But anything else we need to cover in today’s podcast?
Larry: I think we’ve, I think we’ve covered that today. I think unfortunately it’s also a sad day for, uh, for the Life Unlimited podcast. So I’ll kind of come out and say that Aric is moving, decided to move on for a great purpose and a great reason.
But he’s been with me and my guiding light for probably a hundred and plus podcasts. Maybe I think he came to me. Like podcast number 10 or 11 and been with me for such, such a long time. He kind of reads my mind a lot of times now, so he knows kind of some of the questions and where I’m going. So it’s made my life so much easier with these podcasts.
[00:24:00] So, so why don’t, you let everyone know where you’re going.
Aric: Well, I appreciate that, Larry. And I will tell you, I’ve been blessed through this process. It has been so much fun to be with you and learn from you. And so many great guests that you brought on the show that I got to know and, and to meet, and of course, learn from them as well.
But yeah, I am, my wife and I are going to go back to something we’ve been, we’d done before in the early two thousands, we worked for an organization called Boys Town and that’s probably familiar to a lot of people. There is a movie from 1938 with Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy called Boys Town.
That’s exactly where we worked. We worked there for 12 years, raised 68 young men. Help them to get out of their current situation and better their lives, which they did. And just like every other organization, it’s difficult to find folks. So, Boys Town approached Candy and I, my wife, and asked us to come back as family teachers, and we’ve agreed to do that.
Larry: Just to clarify, Boys Town, because I don’t think, a lot of people may know it, but I’m sure there’s a lot that, that don’t. You actually [00:25:00] house them. How many boys can you now take in your house
Aric: Yep. anywhere between eight and 10, but usually eight is the eight is our capacity. We go up throughout the year, depending on if somebody else needs a place. But yeah, Boys Town is its own city. And so if you were to look at Boys Town on on Google Maps, you’ll see that it’s own city, high school, middle school, hospital, police station, fire station, the whole nine yards. It’s a it’s different than most people envision as place where youth go when they when they need some help.
And it’s just a giant neighborhood.
Larry: So these are you, these, these are children who have, there’s some issues, family issues at home and they need to be separated for a while. So that’s why they’re coming to boy, to boys, the boys town. So yeah. That’s, it’s an amazing thing that you and your wife do to be able to provide that type of help during this time. So, so, I applaud you for that. And I wish [00:26:00] you, all the best and want to thank you so much for being here. How many years has it been? It’s been two years. I don’t even remember how many years. Almost four.
Aric: Four years. Almost four years, Larry. Yeah. Four years. Hey, and for the long time listener, I do have some really, really good news. I mean, when I say long time listener, if you’ve been with Larry from the beginning, there’s a very familiar voice that’s coming back. Matt Halloran is going to be joining the podcast again, working with Larry on it. And, uh, so you’ll get to hear him again is one of my best friends. We’ve known each other. In fact, the funny thing is, is that Matt and I met at Boys Town. We both started him and his wife were family teachers that the same time my wife and I started as family teachers. And so he is incredibly happy that we’re going back as well, but he’s going to join Larry and help Larry get to the next 100 episodes.
Larry: Yeah, that’s, that that’s pretty cool. So, come full circle there.
Aric: Absolutely. Larry, thank you for today. Thank you for every podcast that you’ve let me be a part of. It’s like I said, I was blessed in the process and learn a ton for me. So thank you so much.
Larry: Yeah. And thank you as [00:27:00] well. I’ve grown a lot With your guidance from, uh, from the early days till now.
Aric: Hey, if I can get you on video, I mean, anything can happen, right? Yep, absolutely. All right. Thanks again, Larry. Of course, our last thank you goes to the listening audience. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening to the Life Unlimited podcast with Larry Heller.
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