Remember Wilson?

Depending on your age and appetite for sitcom television, you may remember the show Home Improvement starring Tim Allen as Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor.  Although there were several fun and noteworthy characters, the mysterious, and always half hidden neighbor, Wilson, stands apart. Over the show’s eight year tenure, I can’t remember once seeing his whole face.  He was either partially hidden by the wooden fence or somehow positioned perfectly behind a potted plant as he recited some obscure quote.  He had this air of mystery that seemed to fit well with his wise and kind character.  He was the oracle, the guru, the wealth of knowledge that Tim turned to when facing one of his many daily dilemmas.  Wilson clearly knew Tim, his family, his nature and was a very patient listener.  He dispensed his advice in bite sized doses on an intimate level that made it easy to want to listen and follow.  It didn’t matter that any of the characters on the show couldn’t really see “the man behind the curtain” because they trusted he had their best interests in mind.  At the end of each exchange, Tim would usually butcher the lesson or phrase, but even through his jest, you knew Wilson’s message had been taken to heart.  Alright, let’s see if I can make the leap to money from here… …When it comes to money, finance and the internet, I think it can be very difficult to find your Wilson or trust the information being sorted and queued up.  Don’t get me wrong, I happily “googled” whether you should italicize or put in quotations the title of a TV show when I started writing this.  In my mind, that is what google/the internet is for.  It’s there for the information you forgot from 7th grade English class.  It’s a crutch when you can’t find the recipe for the apple pie and what the address is for the new gymnastics place in town. (Aside, that new gymnastics place is literally taking most of our money, but that’s a post for another time).  Today, the best algorithm and most highly tuned search engine is still, at its best, a black box.  We don’t know why it ranks one website first above all others and why it kicks some to page 16.  We may like the video of the puppies playing poker that it chose for us to watch next, but the reason why is totally unknown.  The job of an advisor, a coach, a confidant, is to listen deeply and provide the right knowledge/advice to the right person when they are in the right situation.  When it comes to the decisions that matter and the moments that I feel vulnerable, I’ll choose the half hidden face of a worldly neighbor over the totally hidden face of the internet every day.  Happy Friday!