Why traveling the world has made me a better adviser

I’ve lived a fortunate life. I’ve traveled to some of the world’s most remote locations. Learned multiple languages. And experienced the culture of more than 100 countries. Making travel a priority in my life plan has given me a different lens to view the world and has helped me to advise clients on innumerable occasions.

Each of my adventures has taken time, energy, effort and a willingness to be pushed outside of my comfort zone. Believe it or not, the same is true for investing. Intellectual, emotional, cultural and interpersonal skills are awakened and often heightened in the case of both international travel and wealth management.  

Throughout my travels, elements of otherwise elusive collective wisdom have shaped me as an individual and on the whole, have made me better in my role as a financial adviser. And it’s my experiences that have taught me, first-hand, that whether it be travel, philanthropy, fine wine and spirits, high fashion or something else, an adviser’s purpose is to assemble a plan that best fits their client’s lifestyle and aspirations.  

My travels have afforded me the opportunity to step back and reflect on the value I bring to the families that I serve. Three adventures come to mind that illustrate how the more than 100 countries I have visited have shaped my perspective on how to better advise people on their financial lives.  


Trekking toward the highest place on earth is dangerous and filled with unforeseen challenges, to say the least. Before embarking upon such a climb, it’s imperative to have a plan and risk management tactics ready at a moment’s notice. I learned this lesson the hard way when storms erupted at the Everest Base Camp, taking me by surprise.

Much like sudden economic recessions, capital market sell-offs, unexpected bankruptcies and other black swan events, the life of an investor with a globally diversified portfolio bears a resemblance to that of an adventurer on a mountain. In both cases, most risks remain hidden even though they’re omnipresent. Having a well-thought-out, yet flexible plan is crucial to success. When crafting an investment portfolio, I follow the same paradigms — reminding myself that they just sometimes take longer to manifest. As a result, when I build a financial plan with my clients, I remind myself that patience is a virtue and moving forward regardless of the challenge will yield positive results.

Spending time with the highly endangered silverback gorillas in the high plains of East Africa, I was amazed by the intelligence of these beautiful animals. To survive and fight off extinction, they must protect themselves from harm and innovate within a changing landscape, all while constantly looking for new opportunities to keep the troop alive.

Seeking to provide clients with measurable and quantifiable value on a recurring basis, the financial advisory business is no different. Advisers must be nimble and ready to act in the face of rapidly changing macroeconomic trends. Cryptocurrencies, the metaverse, AI and the like are part of today’s world. It’s incumbent upon advisers to understand their impact on the global economy and derive investment opportunities for our clients.

Mirroring the innovative survival efforts of endangered species that I witnessed in Uganda, it’s important to see the forest through the trees and identify new opportunities as they appear on the horizon. Thinking beyond traditional liquid assets, like stocks and bonds, has brought about opportunities for advisers in a variety of new spaces. 


The Amazon, along with the Pantanal, makes up the largest tropical wetland in the world. The rainforest is full of life, danger and surprises, and one must navigate it with caution. The environment is demanding and calls for foresight, constant adaption and attention to detail.

As we help our clients invest through more demanding times, we as financial advisers face similar challenges. How do we find yield in a low-yield environment? What are the growth opportunities? Where do we find stability when the world seems to change by the minute? We can successfully navigate these muddy waters by being inquisitive yet prudent; curious, yet always intellectually rigorous; and relying on experts to deliver clients the best possible outcomes.

As my journey to visit every country on earth continues, so do my efforts to serve each client as if they are my only client: Equip them with a meaningful plan, deliver value to them consistently and frequently, and most importantly, help them reach their goals. With wealth and health taken care of, then they too have experienced what it feels like to live a fulfilled life.

[More: A visit to India and the world’s largest startup]

Francois Schramek is a managing director and financial adviser at Manhattan West who specializes in working with ultra-high-net-worth families spanning several countries across the globe. 

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Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.

Andrew Vincent
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He's also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.
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