Your role as a financial therapist

I really think the importance of the role that financial planners play in the lives of your clients cannot be highlighted enough… To think of your role solely in terms of products, investments and even financial plans simply doesn’t do it justice. Each of these are important, but in terms of the lifetime benefits that clients will get from dealing with you, they are simply the tangible means to bring your value into the open.

Where clients encounter the most value is in the psychological and emotional benefits they get from you in your role as their mentor, their guide and yes, their financial therapist. While it might not always be expressed in tangible results in the endless research we see about the value of working with a financial adviser, the benefits are irrefutable.

People want direction

We gain peace of mind when we have clarity in our direction of travel, or what we are trying to accomplish. Having goals in our life is healthy, giving us motivation and an aspiration to achieve. A good financial planner helps clients identify their goals in life and then gives them the roadmap to achieve them, in the form of a financial plan. This clarity of objectives gives clients direction, as opposed to the fog of uncertainty experienced by people who have no aspirations or idea about where they are going.

Advice conversations aid collaborative relationships

I wish I had a euro for every time an adviser has told me a story of a client in a meeting saying to their spouse something along the lines of, “I never knew that was important to you or you thought that!” Deep financial planning conversations will often uncover viewpoints and thoughts that have either not been considered, or which one partner has not openly articulated.

As these new perspectives are brought out into the open and addressed, they result in enriched and more collaborative discussions about money, and even life in general, into the future.

Clarity breeds confidence

In the most recent 2023 Value of Advice report from Brokers Ireland, 58% of people feel more confident and in control of their finances having accessed financial advice. You will find numerous other studies globally that back up these findings. Of course there are financial benefits of receiving advice, and hey, who doesn’t mind having a bit more money to invest or spend? And that is aside from the advice probably resulting in less tax being paid, better structured debt and greater lifetime income and wealth. Each of these are valuable and tangible benefits.

But the real magic comes from people gaining satisfaction and clarity about their financial situation, and from being in control. Knowing their money is being optimally managed, provides mental wellbeing. That gnawing uncertainty of not being in control and making poor money decisions is removed through sound financial advice.

People like to be listened to

This might sound obvious, but we all encounter situations in our lives where our voice is simply not heard. This might be at work, when dealing with a bank or sometimes in a medical situation. The so-called expert on the other side of the table isn’t really interested in what we think and is working from their own well-honed script.

The most effective financial planning conversations are those based on carefully crafted questions and deep listening by the adviser. This is where those hidden, key objectives or values are brought to the surface, which then become centrally embedded in the financial plan. Then the client really feels like they own the plan, that it is theirs and theirs only. So whether it’s about some mad dream the client might have, or gaining crystal clarity about their investment values and preferences, uncovering these can turn good meetings into life-changing conversations for the client.

Regular progress reminders reassure people

Regular review meetings provide ongoing reassurance to people. When reminded of where they started from, where they are trying to get to and where they are on that journey reinforces those positive vibes. We all like to see that we’re making progress in every area of our lives, whether that’s in relation to our career, our finances… or even our golf handicap.

So, do you think your role is as a financial expert? If that’s all you think, I respectfully suggest that you are seriously underselling yourself.