The Sundown Rule


Back in the dark ages when I started my career in banking, the pace of work and communication was entirely different.  Imagine a world with no mail other than what came with a stamp on it or in an interoffice envelope (who remembers those?).  Your phone messages came on a pink slip of paper and you dictated your memos.  You could actually choose to leave your work at the office.  Of course, the biggest change today is that you literally carry your office around in your pocket or a backpack.  (Briefcases are gone as well.)

Lessons Learned

While I am not terribly nostalgic about those days, there are some lessons I learned early in my career that seem to have gone the way of office hours.  One of those was the Sundown Rule, which was coined by Sam Walton - it worked well for him and Walmart as it was one of their four core beliefs and is still on the website.  It was also in the employee manual of the dearly departed Wachovia Bank – where I spent nearly 20 years.

sunsetI recall the Wachovia version of the Sundown Rule as ‘a commitment to respond to your client or colleague before the end of the day’.

Simple.  Elegant. Effective.

A Modern Day Challenge

As a practical matter, the volume of communication we receive and filter every day makes this rule challenging to execute.  Nevertheless, what we prioritize we achieve, and each of us has to find a way to make sure that the messages that require response float to the top so we are professional and responsive.  There are tools that can help with this, yet regardless of the method, being responsive pays huge dividends in terms of loyalty, trust and new opportunities.

While you may not have the answer, or be ready for the detailed conversation that might ensue, in almost everyone’s pocket today is a way to quickly say, “Thanks for your message, and I look forward to speaking with you tomorrow”.  Perhaps not exactly by sundown, but you get the point.

Frankly, I have not kept this promise myself in recent years, so as of now I recommit to the Sundown Rule, in honor of my friends and colleagues from the old Wachovia.

For more thoughts on ways to evolve your investment approach and be more responsive to your clients visit

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Past performance is not indicative of future results. The material above has been provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended as legal or investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security or strategy. The investment strategy and themes discussed herein may be unsuitable for investors depending on their specific investment objectives and financial situation. Information obtained from third-party sources is believed to be reliable though its accuracy is not guaranteed, and Blueprint Investment Partners makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the information, which should not be used as the basis of any investment decision. Information contained on third party websites that Blueprint Investment Partners LLC (“Blueprint”) may link to are not reviewed in their entirety for accuracy and Blueprint assumes no liability for the information contained on these websites. Opinions expressed in this commentary reflect subjective judgments of the author based on conditions at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission from Blueprint.  For more information about Blueprint Investment Partners, including our Form ADV Part 2A Brochure, please visit or contact us at (800) 704-6913

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