Morgan Stanley
  • Women Financial Advisor Forum
  • Sep 7, 2021

The M Word: The Money Talk and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

Lori Sackler uses inspiration from Vivaldi to explore the four seasons and their impact on financial decisions.

As summer fades and the leaves begin to turn golden, change once again is in the air.  The mornings are crisp, a hint of autumn is emerging, and it’s once more a time to reflect on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and its relationship to our evolving finances.

Vivaldi perfectly captures the seasons in his highly acclaimed work “The Four Seasons”, four violin concertos in which each season gets its own violin concerto. 

Composed in Venice, Italy, at the height of the Baroque era in 1720, this body of work was striking for the time: modern, virtuosic and energetic, reflecting Vivaldi’s vision to use music to paint a scene, tell a story and evoke a seasonal mood.  Many regard this series of compositions as one of the greatest works in classical music and a timeless work of art.

Spring, as Vivaldi illustrates through his Four Seasons, represents renewal and the shedding of winter limitations while summer symbolizes youth and our ability to open up and possibly try new things. Fall is also a new beginning; the celebration of the harvest, the sweet delights of peaceful sleep and the relentless need for humans to hunt for sustenance and plan for the winter months ahead.

As we enter fall post-COVID after a summer filled, for many, with travel, reopening’s and new personal reflections, we now have another season with opportunities ahead. We can potentially “harvest” and execute on those new ideas that have been percolating over the summer months 

We may have reassessed our values and our commitments to family members and the changes we might want to make to our financial and estate plans.

As part of my “M Word: The Money Talk” discussions, I often write about the major transitions that we face in life which we are forced to navigate: changes in financial circumstances, retirement, caring for an aging loved one, marriage and merging families and planning for our legacies. Moving beyond COVID-19 is in itself a transition, which has affected all of these life events.

Now that fall is upon us and 2021 is in its final lap, maybe it’s time to fully execute on those new strategies you have been mulling over as a result of COVID and as you navigate your life transitions.  You may want to commit to that contemplated gift to your grandchildren, either with a 529 plan for education or a special trust to fund a new home or business. You may have a new vision for your investments, creating an investment strategy, which aligns more with your values around climate change, diversity, or religious beliefs) or your estate plan to include a donor advised fund tied to your new favorite charities.  In addition, as new income and estate tax laws are probably around the corner, you might want to reconnect with your accountant and attorney to review the potential impact on your financial picture.

Moreover, of course, given my mantra about money talks, as you go through this exercise, it is important to engage in conversations with your financial advisors and ultimately your loved ones regarding your new financial decisions.

Breakdown in communication and trust is the primary reason why estate transfers fail at such an alarming rate. According to Vie Preisser in Preparing Heirs the rate of failure is 70%.  I argue that for all life transitions, money talks that foster communication and trust are necessary to avoid family conflicts and keep your family and finances on track and intact.

As you enter this final full season of 2021, I urge you to take a moment and reflect on your personal landscape as Vivaldi did. It is an opportunity to try new things, implement new strategies, engage in productive family communication and work with your advisors and your family members to achieve all that is important to you. Carpe diem (seize the day)!

SIDEBAR: About Lori Sackler

Lori has designed her team practice to help clients keep up with change in their lives, have time to reflect and satisfy security, lifestyle and legacy concerns. With her team and the professionals at Morgan Stanley, she acts as a personal chief financial officer for her clients. The Sackler Group chooses to work with a limited number of clients for whom they can have a meaningful impact.

Lori has the distinction of holding four designations: CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, CERTIFIED INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT ANALYST®, and FAMILY WEALTH DIRECTOR and IMPACT INVESTING DIRECTOR. An established thought leader, Lori has published numerous articles and books, including “The M Word: The Money Talk Every Family Needs to Have” and “The M Word Journal: How to Have the Money Talk.” She also created and hosted a popular radio program in New York City.

Lori earned her BA with Distinction from the University of Michigan and holds an MS in Marketing and Finance from the University of Texas. She is also an accredited (non-practicing) CPA and is a member of the NJ Society of Certified Public Accountants. Morgan Stanley honored Lori with appointments to the exclusive Regional and National Financial Advisor Councils, and named her an Alternative Investments Director and Impact Investing Director Forbes Magazine named Lori one of the Top 200 Women Financial Advisors in the U.S. in 2017, 2018 2020 and 2021, and chose her as one of the Best-in-State Wealth Advisors in the U.S. in 2018 and 2021.*