Every Walt Needs a Roy – Disney that Is

Walt Disney’s success was in large part due to his brother, Roy. Here’s what Roy and Walt teach us about the client-financial planner relationship.

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Walt Disney will go down in history as one of the greatest visionaries of all time. He went from a starving cartoonist to a pioneer in the entertainment world. He pivoted from cartoonist to director, producer, theme park builder and operator. If he had only achieved success in one of those roles, he would have been considered a tremendous success.

The fact that he achieved success in all those fields is nothing short of incredible. The most often cited reason for his tremendous success was his amazing imagination. Who could have imagined something as grand or unusual as Disney World or Epcot Center? What about the idea of a full length animated movie? While his imagination was a tremendous strength, there is an oft forgotten secret weapon that he was able to rely on. Walt’s brother Roy was the business savvy, level headed financial architect behind each of Walt’s successes.

Roy’s most famous contribution was his help in the acquisition of the land that would eventually become the home of Walt Disney World. As one might imagine, if word had gotten out that a major corporation from California was buying up swamp land in Florida, the price of the land might have gone through the roof and jeopardized the viability of the entire project. Roy partnered with a Florida law firm to form a series of companies designed to mask the ultimate buyer of the 30,000 acres that would eventually become the site of the iconic park. Word did ultimately leak out, but they still managed to purchase the acreage needed to complete their plan. It’s rumored that the first parcels cost them $80/acre while the last parcel cost them $80,000 an acre!1

Find a Financial Planner to be Your Roy

Walt had the vision and limitless ambition, and Roy helped Walt understand how to execute on his grand ideas and to rein him in when his ambitions exceeded what was financially possible. My point is that their relationship is not unlike the ideal relationship clients should have with their financial planner.

Our clients’ job is to dream big and figure out what they want out of life. It’s our job as planners to help them prioritize their goals and figure out how to accomplish them. Dream big, pay attention to the details, and find a trustworthy independent financial planner who works in your best interests to help you achieve your goals.

1 WDW Radio

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