How many hats do you wear?
Do you remember the “old days”, when a financial adviser was someone who simply found the best financial product for clients? Do you yearn for those days again? My bet is that most of you don’t….
I know from conversations that you don’t miss those days of second guessing yourself all the time with regard to product choices and chosen commission levels. You’re also happy to no longer spend your time worrying if another broker or direct salesman is going to undercut you. You don’t miss living or dying by the vagaries of the stock market – if the fund you suggested went well, you were a hero! When it didn’t, it was always your fault….
As the 2020’s draw near, the role of the financial adviser has changed enormously over the last decade or so. Helping clients select products is only one small part of what you do. It’s worth remembering all of the areas in which you add value to your clients.
Financial planners today don’t start new client relationships with conversations about money. Instead you spend very valuable time, really getting to know clients. In fact you go much deeper than this, you actually help your clients to get to know themselves better than they did before.
Good financial plans are based on the goals, aspirations and ambitions of the client. However, very often the client has never properly thought about these! So the first role of the financial planner today is to help clients actually identify their goals and dreams for the future and to build a crystal clear picture of them. Now they have a real destination to aim for.
It’s all well and good having lofty dreams and ambitions, an equally important question is how achievable they are, and what price needs to be paid to attain them. This is critical work carried out by excellent financial planners today. Using future cashflow software, you are grounding client dreams in the reality of life and helping your clients to live their life on their terms. You’re helping clients make important choices between living life only in the moment today, or choosing their lifestyle for all of their life based on their financial wherewithal.
And then you stop clients blowing up their plans! You are the voice of reason, the calming influence in volatile times, the expert guide keeping a long-term perspective. We all read professional articles every day of how poor decision making by clients does far more damage to financial plans than the performance of financial assets.
Humans have a nasty habit of doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. In your world, this translates to them selling assets when they are cheap and buying them when they are expensive. In general, people get their market timing all wrong. We hear it all the time – the key is time in the market, not market timing. You are the voice of reason, gently but firmly ensuring your clients stay invested.
Family Finance Guide
This in itself includes many hats! Good financial planners make an enormous difference to families managing their day-to-day finances. Good advice around family budgeting can yield enormous results over the long-term as clients actively manage their expenses and stop wasting money. You also play a marriage counsellor role – helping to get couples on the same page about their finances through providing clarity of their financial situation and helping them make the right decisions together. When left to their own devices, money can be a constant cause of strain and arguments in a marriage… The advice that you give to clients about best banking and credit practices is invaluable too.
However the real value that you add is that you lead from the front. You’re the hub around which the client’s financial life revolves. You’re the person who pulls all the strands together. Clients hugely value having an expert in their corner who will guide them in a very complex area of their lives – helping them manage all of their financial challenges and also pointing them to other professionals (solicitors, tax consultants, accountants) when needed. Never under-estimate how important it is for clients to feel that someone has their back, or even that they have an expert to go to for an insightful second opinion.
Oh and yes, you guide your clients to find the very best financial products to help them achieve all of their goals and dreams in life. This is very important too, but unlike the days of old, this is only one small element of the enormous value you bring in transforming the lives of clients today.