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Little Boxes

woman with boxes and financial strategy ny

Authored By: Gary Sancilio

Lately there seem to be boxes everywhere I look. With everyone doing more online shopping, we get more deliveries. Not to mention the moving boxes I’ve been unpacking in AffinityBST’s new office space. (Ever notice how that thing you need the most always seems to be in the last box you open?)

Hunting through identical boxes got me thinking about that ‘70s folk song, “Little Boxes,” an anti-paean to Levittown, NY, the nation’s first planned suburb, where affordable home ownership came at the price of uniformity. “Little boxes on the hillside… little boxes all the same.” The lyrics describe thousands of identical houses in which thousands of identical people lead the same, indistinguishable lives. It’s an engaging cultural critique, but in real life, we all know that looks can be deceiving.

“Little Boxes” resonates with me despite – perhaps because of – its assertion that you can judge a book by its cover. In my experience, the uniformity of even cookie-cutter homes (or personae) ends at the front door. So, when I meet new clients, I don’t make assumptions based on outward appearances – whether we’re talking fashion or figures on a spreadsheet. My approach is conversational and personal because I am establishing a relationship with a unique person. For me to advise them most effectively, I need to get in that “front door” and meet them as they really are.

After more than 30 years as a financial analyst and lawyer, I have learned that emotional and psychological tendencies drive even the most seemingly rational decisions. A client’s unique interests, passions, and concerns constitute a more reliable North Star than any financial statement, so why would I begin by reviewing forms or running numbers? To me, that would be like advising people based on what I know from driving by their home, rather than knocking on the front door to meet them.

None of us is a two-dimensional character (“Entrepreneur,” “Retiring CEO,” or even “Lawyer”) in the world of “Little Boxes.” We are so very much not all the same… and cookie-cutter solutions cannot begin to address the complexity of real-world human relationships, financial or otherwise. I am here to help you take a step back from everything that is going on to get a better view of your purpose and values. With those in mind, we can shape a financial and estate strategy that will successfully serve who and what matters most to you.